The Billbergia family of bromeliads were named after Gustave Billberg, the Swedish botanist. They are among the fastest and the easiest growing bromeliads.

Compared with some of the other bromeliads, they have a lean and hungry look. They have fewer leaves and usually grow straight up. While the inflorescence usually droops instead of standing erect, the bracts often hang like flags or pennants, and the color combinations are beautiful.

Billbergias are very tolerant plants. They are natural epiphytes, but if they are pushed out of their tree, they will keep right on growing in the ground.

Billbergia Fantasia is a hybrid bromeliad that

features

 multi-colored foot-long leaves. See more pictures of bromeliads.

 multi-colored foot-long leaves. See more pictures of bromeliads.

Billbergia 'Fantasia' was produced by M. B. Foster from a cross between Billbergia pyramidalis and Billbergia saundersii. It has foot-long, celadon-green leaves with cream-colored splotches, bright red bracts, and purple flowers.

Billbergia pyramidalis 'Albo Marginata' is a white-margined variety of an old favorite with two-foot leaves, reddish bracts, and red and blue flowers. The eight- to ten-inch Billbergia nutans (queen's tears, friendship plant) is especially easy to grow under lights. Its rosy bracts, yellow flowers, and easy blooming make it a real favorite.

The Billbergia pyramidalis bromeliad is native to Brazil.

Billbergias are among the easiest bromeliads to produce from seed, probably because fresh seed is fairly easy to get. Give them house temperatures, bright to filtered light, and drench and let dry.

Has reading about bromeliads encouraged you to start flexing your green thumb? For more information on gardening, see: