Crypts (Cryptanthus) Are The Easiest Bromeliads To Grow

‘Elaine’ Cryptanthus at 2016 Philadelphia Flower Show

C. fosterianus-‘Liza-Vinzant’

Crypts (Cryptanthus spp.), members of the bromeliad family, are an ideal low care choice for house plant collectors. Currently, there are over 1200 varieties of Cryptanthus species and hybrids available today. Compare to other bromeliads, which grow in trees or rock outcropping, crypts grow in soil or rock ground.   Plants prefer an airy, porous, moist soilless media favored by most tropical plants, including African violets, orchids, and ferns.

Most kinds of crypts grow in low-light conditions found in most homes. They benefit from daily misting, particularly during the winter month. Some can tolerate direct sunlight but need more frequent watering. Best foliage color is in bright diffused light source. Excessive direct sunlight may bleach out leaves or cause burn spots. Contrarily weak foliage and lose of color typical for the variety suggests that the plant needs more light. Fluorescent Gro-lights and new LED lights bring out their textured leaf color(s).

Like bromeliads, crypts make excellent office plants, in a temperature range between 60 to 85°F and tolerate temperature lows just above freezing. They will tolerate summer temperatures above 100 °F. if soil moisture and humidity are adequate. Many varieties thrive outdoors in shady areas of the garden in USDA zones 8-11. Fertilize crypts with a dilute solution perhaps ¼ to ½  package directions such as Miracle-Gro™ or Peters™. Crypts are relatively disease and pest free.

Crypts are reliable bloomers. Different species and cultivars bloom at different times of the year. Flowers are generally white although some have pink to lavender flowers.New plants are produce from offsets (pups) which form on stolons (runners) originating from the plant base. Offsets begin to develop when the mother plant initiates blooming or shortly thereafter.  Many crypts make ideal hanging basket plant with the pups hanging off the pot edges.

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