The Best Red Bromeliads for Holiday Decorating

Author: Melanie DearringerNo Comments


Poinsettias are one of the most common plants used for holiday decorations. For a unique alternative to this traditional plant consider using bromeliads. Bromeliads can be found in bright red and green festive colors. There are several advantages to using these plants instead of, or in addition to traditional poinsettias.


Bromeliads are easy to care for indoors. They will not require much attention during the busy holiday season. Many also do not require bright light, so you have more options available for placement. Bromeliads are long lasting and will remain an excellent house plant long after the holiday season is over. They will even create offsets that can be repotted so you have new plants for next year’s holiday season as well as plants to give as gifts to friends and family.

Bromeliads show their colors in several different ways. They can have brightly colored or variegated foliage, brilliant attractive flower spikes or both. Here are several species of festive red and green bromeliads that would be fun to use for holiday decoration.


Red Guzmania

A Guzmania with bright red bracts.

Neoregelia ‘Inferno’ is one of many Neoregelias that blushes bright red towards its central cup. The bright white margins on the deep green leaves are what make this Neoregelia stand out. The beautiful combination of crisp, vivid colors make this an excellent plant for the holidays. It grows up to 10 inches tall and 2 feet wide. The glossy leaves form an attractive thick rosette. Neoregelia ‘Fire Cup’ offers very similar tricolor foliage, but in a slightly more compact form. This plant only grows a 7 inches tall and a foot wide.

Aechmea ‘Foster’s Favorite’ is an excellent beginner bromeliad that has both red foliage and red inflorescence. The bright, glossy green leaves blush red toward the center of the plant. The inflorescence is pendant shape, bending gracefully downward. This bromeliad would be perfect for a festive hanging basket. It does require plenty of bright indirect light, so be sure to have a sunny spot available for this plant.

Aechmea recurvata ‘Red Form’ is a tall and narrow plant that has glossy red leaves with some red mottling. This plant can survive in low light conditions, but it will display the most brilliant colors when exposed to bright light. The leaves toward the top and center center blush a more brilliant red when the plant is blooming. This plant will do well in small tabletop containers.

Guzmania sanguinea ‘Cousin It’ is known for its abundant, curly foliage. Its glossy foliage drapes downward giving the plant a ball shape appearance. The foliage blushes red in the center during its winter flowering period. This plant grows about a foot tall and 18 inches wide. It requires bright light to show off the best color.

Dyckia niederleini is a stunning plant that requires care that is very similar to many succulents. It has bright, light green foliage that is slenderly lined around the margins with bright red. The leaves that start wide and taper to a point give the plant and attractive star shape. Be careful when handling this plant because there are also sharp spines around the leaf margins. Dyckias like well drained, rocky soil and plenty of bright light.

Guzmania lingulata ‘Scarlet Star’ is a very common bromeliad variety. It can be found at most nurseries and even grocery stores or big box stores that sell flowers and houseplants. It is best known for its bright red bracts at the center of the plant that accompany flowering. It grows up to a foot tall and 18 inches wide. There are many more varieties of Guzmania lingulata some of which also have varying shades of attractive red bracts.

Cryptanthus ‘Ruby Star’ is a terrestrial bromeliad that has incredible, brilliant red coloring from the center of the leaf all the way to the tip. The center of the leaves also have a vertical, dark green to maroon stripe running the length of the leaf. The leaves are rippled around the edges and have small, fine spines. This is a petite star shaped bromeliad that reaches only 3 inches tall and  6 inches wide. The plant requires bright indirect light for the best color.

Cryptanthus ‘Ruby Slippers’ is a dustier red than ‘Ruby Star.’ It has broad leaves that are a bit more sparse. The leaves have an attractive silvery, speckled, horizontal banding throughout. This short plant can reach out to ten inches wide.

Billbergia ‘Appletini’ has very bright red coloring on the undersides of the leaves. Due to the upright nature of the rosette on this bromeliad, the bottom of the leaf is the most prominent. The top of the leaf is a light green color speckled with red. The leaves are also finely serrated along the margin. This Billbergia is tall and narrow growing a little over a foot tall and about 8 inches wide at maturity. The plant has a sort of bulbous appearance with the leaves being broad and tight together toward the bottom and arching outward at the top. This plant forms offshoots on stolons, making them easy to separate.

Neoregelia ‘Apple Mint’ has bright glossy green leaves that are about an inch and a half wide. When the plant is flowering it blushes a very brilliant red in the center cup. This plant is small growing only 6 inches tall and 8 inches wide. It requires moderate light to thrive.

Tillandsia ionatha ‘Fuego’ is a cultivar of a very popular air plant species. This plant is small and colorful. The thin leaves turn bright red when the plant is producing its purple flower. It only grows to be about 2 inches tall, but it generates many offshoots to form an attractive ball shaped clump. This plant must be mounted and would look spectacular simply hung from a string and allowed to develop as a massive colorful sphere. It could also be used in glass orb ornaments or even to make a living wreath. Tillandsia ionatha ‘Fuego’ offers a lot of easy possibilities for festive decorating. The only care it requires is a regular misting.

Tips to Remember

These are just a few of the many attractive and festive bromeliads. There are many bromeliads of all shapes and sizes that bear red foliage especially within the Neoregelia and Cryptanthus genera. With a little investigation you can find the perfect bromeliad for your holiday decorating visions.

There are a few important things to keep in mind as you add a tropical touch to your winter decorating:

  • Many bromeliads prefer moderate to bright indirect light for the most brilliant colors to appear.
  • Most bromeliads prefer to be on the dry side, only water your plant when the potting medium is dry a few inches deep.
  • Bromeliads only bloom once and then the mother plant will die leaving behind offshoots called pups. If you want to force the bromeliad to bloom around the holidays, see this post for details.
  • Bromeliads can generally be potted in small pots with well draining soil. You can easily add these small pots to all different kinds of containers and arrangements for a festive look.

Adding the Tropics to Your Holiday

Bromeliads are a fun way to enjoy a taste of the tropics during the coldest parts of the year. They make excellent gifts, especially for hosts and hostesses as well as neighbors and coworkers. Unlike poinsettias they will last well beyond the season and produce more plants! What are your favorite varieties of bromeliads to share for the holidays?


“Neoregelia ‘Inferno’” Tropiflora. <>

“Neoregelia ‘Apple Mint” Tropiflora. <>

“Aechmea ‘Foster’s Favorite.’” Tropiflora. <>

“Guzmania sanguinea ‘Cousin It’” Tropiflora <>

“Aechmea recurvata ‘Red Form’” Tropiflora. <>

“Dyckia niederleini.” Annie’s Magic Garden. <>

“Scarlet Star” Guide to Houseplants. <>

“Cryptanthus.” Seabreeze Nurseries. <>

“Bilbergia” Seabreeze Nurseries. <>

“Tillandsia ionatha ‘Fuego’” Tropiflora. <>

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