Native to South America, these bro- meliads consist of rosettes of leath- ery, often strikingly banded or mar- bled leaves. Inconspicuous flowers appear in a cup at the center of the rosette; the cup turns red when the plant is ready to bloom. In the rain forest, this central cup serves to collect rain, which quickly evaporates. For neoregelias grown outdoors, you can keep the cup filled with water from spring to fall. For indoor plants, though, be sure to let the cup dry completely before refillingotherwise, the water can become stagnant and the plant may rot.
Give loose, fast-draining soil, and let it go dry to the touch between waterings. From spring through summer, feed monthly with a general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength; to apply, sprinkle the liquid over the entire plant.
N. carolinae. BLUSHING BROMELIAD. To 1 ft. tall, 212 ft. wide. Many medium green, shiny leaves about 1 ft. long, 112 in. wide. 'Tricolor' is identical but sports lengthwise white stripes on its leaves. 'Flandria' has leaves edged in white.
N. spectabilis. PAINTED FINGERNAIL PLANT. To 112 ft. tall, 3 ft. wide. Leaves are about 1 ft. long, 2 in. wide, olive-green with bright red tips. Foliage takes on a bronzy color in strong light.