Cryptanthus Bromeliad, Earth Star

Cryptanthus bivittatus

Family: Bromeliaceae (bro-mee-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cryptanthus (krip-TAN-thus) (Info)
Species: bivittatus (biv-it-TAY-tus) (Info)
Synonym:Acanthospora vittata
Synonym:Billbergia bivittata
Synonym:Tillandsia bivittata


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade


Grown for foliage

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Concord, California

San Diego, California

Bartow, Florida

Dunedin, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Miami, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Cincinnati, Ohio

El Campo, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 14, 2015, trifle007 from Fayetteville, AR wrote:

This plant, cryptanthus bivittatus "ruby" is a great, somewhat different bromiliad because of its flattened growing habit and wonderful coloration of the leaves. Unlike many bromiliads, its primary "show" is the foliage rather than the blooms. When I purchased it from Westwood Gardens in Fayetteville, AR, it had its characteristic, wonderful, red foliage, but after a few gloomy weeks indoors, it lost this coloration and became an attractive green, yet this was not the coloration for which I purchased it. Now with the spring and sunshine, I keep it outdoors, and it is rapidly returning to red. On top of this, it's going to bloom. Although the blooms are not the main feature, I welcome them because I'm sure it will soon afterwards be sporting "babies." I recommend this easy-to-grow plant wit... read more


On Jul 20, 2002, tekbehr wrote:

Cryptanthus species, cultivars and hybrids in general (like most Bromeliads) are very easy to care for. Most are easier than African Violets. The selection, colors, textures and diversity of foliage is quite stiking and beautiful. Cryptanthus are native to Brazil.

Note: many bromeliads will turn pink or reddish when cultivated under intense light condtions. Cryptanthus are easily grown as house plants indoors under flourescent lights or on a window sill. They grow best when the soil is allowed to dry out slightly, then totally soaked. They also grow well when the soil is kept evenly moist but not damp. Though Cryptanthus are considered low light or light shade plants, many actually only begin to display their beautiful foliage colors when exposed to more intense ligh... read more


On Aug 21, 2001, euphorbrom from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9A) wrote:

Flowers are small and white, appear near the center. Small pups develop between the leaves; when they are 1/3 the size of the parent, detach them (they should come away with a gentle tug) and repot them. Another variety often seen is
Cryptanthus "Starlite".