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CRYPTANTHUS bromelioides

Image of Cryptanthus bromelioides



Botanical Name

CRYPTANTHUS bromelioides

Plant Common Name

Earthen Star, Stripe Star

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Wavy foliage that resembles an ackward starfish, stripe star adds visual texture to the tropical dappled shade garden. A tender terrestrial (growing in soil) bromeliad with a stemless rosette of leaves, it is from Brazil.

There are from eight to fifteen flattened strap-like leaves that have tiny teethed edges and taper to a point. A medium green, they have waxy but matte finish with wavy edges and lighter green or ivory stripes; modern selections have more ornate tones of silver, bronze, red or pink. In summer's warmth, small white flowers appear in the crotches of leaves in the center of the rosette. Also, small plants, called pups, are forming at the plant's base and will grow to replace the mother bromeliad which will slowly degrade and die after flowering.

Grow earthern star in a well-draining moist soil that is friable with lots of organic matter; sandy ground is best. Place in a partially shaded spot, although some sun is tolerated in mornings and evenings and in more humid elevations. Too much shade diminishes the colorful foliage banding. Use it as a massed tropical groundcover or accent in the front of the border under tropical ferns and begonias. It also makes a nice houseplant near a very bright window. Pup plants can be pulled away from the mother plant and placed in a new spot before the mother dies; this allows for regular renewal of a massed colony without the visual messiness of dying brown plants. Variety tricolor, now often simply called 'Rainbow Star', has variegated foliage of green and pinkish cream with a red-blushed core.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade

  • Height

    3"-5" / 7.6cm - 12.7cm

  • Width

    7"-10" / 17.8cm - 25.4cm

  • Native To

    South America, Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Groundcover, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing