The bromeliad genus Billbergia was named for Swedish botanist Gustaf Johan Billberg by fellow Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg. Billberg was the son of a botanist and merely a hobbyist who traveled to Central America on a plant collecting expedition in 1826. He arrived in Panama collecting in both Panama and Columbia where he discovered this beautiful species of bromeliad and brought it back to Thunberg’s Swedish Plantarum brasiliensium where Thunberg then attributed the genus to Billberg. Billbergia can be found from Mexico to Argentina and is mainly grown outdoors in a moderate climate. They typically grow in trees in the wild, however if they fall from their host they will nest in the ground. Billbergia can handle larger temperature swings including a morning frost, although like most bromeliads, not for long.
Light: Billbergias prefer filtered sunlight. The higher humidity, the more light they can handle.
Temperature: Billbergia’s can withstand colder temperatures for short period’s of time, as low as 26 degrees for a few hours. Like most bromeliad’s however, they prefer 55-85 degrees, and will begin to lose color over 100.
Water: Water should be free of minerals so avoid “very hard” tap water if possible . Water the “cup” in the center of the plant and be sure it always has a bit of water. If it begins to stagnate, clear it out to avoid insects and bacteria and refresh.
Humidity: Billbergia prefers a higher humidity for a nice color, if you don’t live in high humidity, there are some other options . Read our blog post on How to Build a Humidity Box for your cuttings to propagate in dry climates.
Browse our photo gallery for stunning Billbergia photos, and please visit our Billbergia Product Catalogue to shop for many different variations and hybrids.
- Outdoors, billbergia requires filtered or dappled light. Indoors, place the plant in a window with a western, eastern or southern exposure where it receives light for at least three to four hours per day. Avoid bright, intense light.
- Indoors, billbergia thrives in normal room temperatures of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and about 10 degrees cooler at night.
- In climates with occasional frosty nights, place the plant in a pot and sink the pot into the ground. Lift the pot from the ground and place it in a protected area whenever freezing temperatures are predicted.
- Billbergia benefits from good air circulation. Indoors, open a window or turn on a fan whenever possible.