Aside from having an awesome-sounding latin name – say it with me now, CRYP-tan-thus – which means ‘hidden flower’, Earth Stars, as they are also known, are a perfect terrarium plant. Part of the bromeliad family, Earth Stars are slow growers that love humidity, two of the most important considerations for terrarium plants.
The very smallest varieties max out at a very forgiving 3 inches, but be careful about which subspecies you choose to buy, as the largest ones can reach up to 3 feet, which would tax all but the largest terrariums. There are over 1200 different varities of Earth Stars, so be sure to check with your supplier to make sure that your chosen beauty will do well in a terrarium environment. Once we finally get our plant shop operational, you’ll be able to look through our pre-selected varieties to be certain of getting the right plant for your DIY project.
Cryptanthus generally does well in a humid environment with indirect light, but some varieties require more or less light. The biggest concern for their health is that if you’re building an open-style terrarium (one that has at least some part of the terrarium open to the air), the air can become quite dry during winter months when heating systems are on permanent full blast. The same humidity problems can also occur during summer months if air conditioning systems are also set to dehumidify the air, so ensure that the humidity of your terrarium stays consistent.
When it comes to integrating them into design, don’t expect fancy flowers, but the huge number of varieties available means you’ll be able to choose one that blends both the colours you want and the size you’re looking for. Their leaf structure is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a star, which makes them great as accent plants when set against a general ground cover plant such as any of the mosses or angel’s tears, both of which provide an excellent textural background.