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Cryptanthus bivittatus in an Open Terrarium Care Sheet


Common Names: Earth Star, Two-striped Earth Star

Family: Bromeliaceae


Cryptanthus bivittatus, commonly known as Earth Star, is a vibrant and hardy bromeliad that is well-suited for open terrariums. Its striking foliage and compact growth habit make it an ideal plant for creating an eye-catching terrarium display.

Light Requirements

  • Optimal Light: Prefers bright, indirect light.
  • Placement: Place the terrarium in a location where it can receive plenty of indirect sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent leaf burn.


  • Frequency: Water moderately, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings.
  • Method: Water the soil around the base of the plant. In a terrarium, use a spray bottle to maintain humidity without overwatering.


  • Type: Well-draining, slightly acidic soil mix.
  • Composition: A mix of peat, perlite, and orchid bark is ideal to provide good drainage and aeration.

Temperature and Humidity

  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 60-80°F (15-27°C). Avoid exposing the plant to temperatures below 50°F (10°C).
  • Humidity: Prefers higher humidity levels, typical of terrarium environments. Mist the plant occasionally to maintain humidity.


  • Type: Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength.
  • Frequency: Fertilize every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). Avoid over-fertilizing, as bromeliads are light feeders.

Pruning and Maintenance

  • Pruning: Remove any dead or damaged leaves to maintain a neat appearance and prevent mold growth.
  • Cleaning: Wipe the inside of the terrarium glass to ensure maximum light penetration and prevent algae buildup.


  • Method: Propagate by offsets (pups) that form around the base of the plant.
  • Steps:

    Wait until the offsets are about one-third the size of the parent plant.

    Gently remove the offsets with a clean, sharp knife.

    Plant the offsets in the same type of soil mix used for the parent plant and place them in the terrarium.

Pests and Diseases

  • Common Pests: Watch for mealybugs and scale insects.
    • Treatment: Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat infestations.
  • Diseases: Generally resistant to most diseases. Overwatering can lead to root rot.
    • Prevention: Ensure proper drainage and avoid waterlogging the soil.

Special Notes

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Cryptanthus bivittatus is known for its bright, variegated leaves and low-growing rosette form, making it a striking centerpiece in terrariums.
  • Non-Toxic: Safe for pets and humans.


  • Brown Leaf Tips: Often a sign of low humidity or underwatering. Increase misting and ensure the plant is receiving enough water.
  • Faded Colors: Indicates insufficient light. Move the terrarium to a brighter location with indirect sunlight.
  • Soft or Mushy Leaves: Sign of overwatering or poor drainage. Allow the soil to dry out slightly and ensure proper drainage.

With proper care, Cryptanthus bivittatus can thrive in an open terrarium, providing vibrant color and unique texture to your indoor plant collection. Enjoy the beauty and ease of growing this charming bromeliad in your terrarium setup.

Cryptanthus bivitattus

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