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24 Essential Care Tips to Keep Your Quesnelia Testudo Healthy

Quesnelia Testudo is a gorgeous and easy-to-care-for plant. Its diverse appearance and feel make it a top pick among plant enthusiasts.

In the following article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to care for your Quesnelia Testudo. Continue reading to find out more about Quesnelia’s attractive attributes!

What Is Quesnelia Testudo?

The Quesnelia Testudo is called Winter Torch or Turtlehead Bromeliad and is synonymous with Quesnelia Skinneri. It is a perennial that is recognized for its attractive blooms.

This gorgeous plant from the Bromeliaceae family has light to dark green lanceolate-shaped leathery leaves coated with white hair on its underside. It grows in a full rosette pattern that stays close to the ground.

While the rest of this article focuses on indoor growth, this Quesnelia can be grown outdoors in hardiness zones 9-11.

Origin And Family

Winter Torch is a member of the genus Quesnelia in the family Bromeliaceae. Its natural habitat is the forests of the Serra do Mar mountain range of Southeastern Brazil.

Although initially described and published in 1891 by Carl Axel Magnus Lindman, the Winter Torch has recently become popular among plant collectors. It can bloom in late winter to spring with tubular purple flowers surrounded by deep pink bracts.

Where To Buy

To acquire a Quesnelia Testudo, you could always try to look in a local nursery, but you can also buy cuttings and full-grown plants online. Etsy is a reputable site that we recommend.

In terms of pricing, a mature plant typically starts at $25.

Quesnelia Testudo Plant Size

Indoors, the Quesnelia Testudo reaches a height of 12-18 inches and a width of 12-16 inches. This Quesnelia grows at a slow rate and beautifully thrives when placed near an east or west-facing window.

Quesnelia Testudo Care Needs

Most tropical plants, including Quesnelia Testudo, are simple to cultivate with adequate care. It can thrive even with minor maintenance if you supply it with the proper humidity and relatively dry soil.

Water this Testudo 3-4 times during the warm months and about twice a week for the rest of the year. Your terracotta pot should be free draining.

Care Difficulty

Like many plants from the Quesnelia genus, the Quesnelia Testudo is easy-to-care-for in most situations – if you give it the proper amount of well-draining soil and water. With this Winter Torch guide, you can quickly grow this gorgeous plant.

Toxic To Pets? Care Specifics
Botanical Name Quesnelia Testudo
Common Name Winter Torch, Turtlehead Bromeliad, Quesnelia Skinneri
Plant Family Bromeliaceae
Origin Southeastern Brazil
Plant Type perennial
Leaf Shape lanceolate
Leaf Color light to dark green
Recommended Home Placement near an east or west-facing window
Growth Rate slow
Light full sun to partial shade
Soil standard commercial potting soil
When To Water Water during the warm months, water 3-4 times a week; water about twice a week the rest of the year.
When To Fertilize once a month during growing season
Preferred pH 6.1-7.3
Humidity Range ?MISSING?
Toxic To Pets? No
Common Pests & Diseases spider mites, brown tips, white flied, scale insects, yellow leabes, root rot, mealy bugs, drooping leaves

Growth Rate

Quesnelia Skinneri’s growth rate is typically slow. As it matures indoors, it will reach about 12-18.


In terms of your potting container’s size, we recommend using a large container. Most materials, including terracotta, will work perfectly.

Winter Torch is vulnerable to root rot. Make sure to use a pot with enough drainage holes in it.


To keep your beautiful plants healthy, it is a good idea to transplant them to a bigger pot as soon as it grows to a certain size.

On average, Quesnelia Testudo grows slowly and needs to be repotted. Soil gradually loses its natural nutrient components, so it’s better to add some standard commercial potting soil when repotting.


Standard commercial potting soil is most suitable for Turtlehead Bromeliad. Perlite is an ideal component for the soil, and aeration and good drainage are essential for this plant.

These are some excellent growing medium options to choose from:

Photo Title Price Buy
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting...image Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack $13.37 ($0.03 / Ounce)
Burpee, 9 Quarts...image Burpee, 9 Quarts | Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix Food Ideal for Container Garden-Vegetable, Flower & Herb Use for Indoor Outdoor Plant $12.99 ($0.04 / Ounce)
Sun Gro Horticulture...image Sun Gro Horticulture 8-Quart Black Gold 1310102 Purpose Potting Soil With Control, Brown/A $16.28 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix,...image Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, Potting Soil for Outdoor and Indoor Plants, Enriched with Plant Food, 2 cu. ft. $34.26
FoxFarm Ocean Forest...image FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants | Plant Fertilizer | 12 Quarts | The Hydroponic City Stake $23.99 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)


pH for this plant should be around 6.1-7.3, meaning your Quesnelia Skinneri likes neutral to acidic soil. If you’re repotting on a regular basis or adding fresh soil occasionally, the pH level won’t be as crucial as if you’re growing this plant outside.


The frequency of watering will change depending on the temperature and humidity in your plant’s surroundings. Generally speaking, your Winter Torch prefers a relatively dry growing medium.

Avoid overwatering your Winter Torch. During the warm months, use fresh water 3-4 times a week, and for the rest of the year, water about twice a week. Water directly on the soil base of the plant and take care not to soak the foliage to avoid fungal diseases.

Allow the excess water to pass through the pot’s bottom. If your plant is in a collection tray, remember to empty it.


You should try to mimic the natural environment of Q. Testudo, which would be the forests of the Serra do Mar mountain range of Southeastern Brazil. Give your Testudo full sun or partial shade, and it will thrive either way, as this plant can tolerate all kinds of good light conditions.

If left for a long time under full sun or bright light, Quesnelia Testudo grows more compactly. In the shade, its leaves will grow longer and darker.


Water, sunlight, and soil are all essential nutrients for houseplants. Soil can lose its nutritional content over time and must be supplied with plant food.

Fertilize your Turtlehead Bromeliad once a month throughout early spring and late summer if you want it to thrive. You may use a water-soluble fertilizer, but if it’s very strong, dilute it first.

Propagating Quesnelia Testudo

Division is a propagation method typically used for plants that have pups shooting out from the roots.


You can divide the stem clusters of your Quesnelia Skinneri by following these steps:

1. Dig up. Take the plant out of its container. You should be able to see where the plant’s natural divisions are.

2. Separate. With your fingers, gently separate the sections apart. You may need to use shears to cut any entangled roots from the mother plant.

3. Repot. Place the new plants in new pots filled with the same soil that they’re used to.

Humidity And Aeration

Moderate humidity is best for your Quesnelia Testudo.

Lack of humidity in houseplants is often characterized by crispy leaves and browning edges. You may consider getting a humidifier or placing your plant in well-lit, naturally higher-humidity spaces (such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms).


Quesnelia Testudo is cold hardy, and can tolerate brief periods of 25 degrees Fahrenheit. It can thrive in warm temperatures, frost-free climates, and even during the cold season.

However, sudden temperature swings can be fatal for your Quesnelia Skinneri. Close all windows and cover any gaps where chilly drafts can enter. Place your plant away from heat-producing appliances.


If you’re lucky, you might be able to witness your Winter Torch bloom with tall flower spikes that are significant white, purple, or rose-pink bracts with purple-blue flowers in the late winter to spring. However, this doesn’t usually happen in an indoor growing location.


Turtlehead Bromeliad is considered safe for humans, dogs, or cats! This means it’s a terrific choice for your house, whether you have pets or not!

Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

In most situations, the Quesnelia Testudo is a disease-resistant and pest-resistant plant. There are, however, some common issues that can affect it. Below we’re discussing some of the common problems, as well as solutions to protect your Quesnelia Testudo.

Spider Mites

Unfortunately, spider mites are quite widespread, and Quesnelia Skinneri is particularly vulnerable. Spider mite damage occurs as little brown or yellow spots on the plant’s leaves. In a severe infestation, you may also find fine silk webbing.

Start by spraying down your Quesnelia Skinneri with water from a sink nozzle or a pressure sprayer. This basically dislodges the spider mites from the plant. If the first method fails, an organic pyrethrin spray will serve you well.

If you desire a more organic approach, releasing ladybugs in your indoor growing space can aid in reducing spider mite populations. There’s also a beetle known as the “Spider Mite Destroyer,” which may be difficult to obtain, but the name speaks for itself!

White Flies

Whiteflies are gnat-like pests that feed on the sap of your houseplants. Having them on your Winter Torch can be a big inconvenience. They lay eggs, which hatch into larvae that feed on the undersides of your plant’s leaves.

You can eliminate Whiteflies using a general pesticide. You can purchase one online or create your own mix using the recipe below:

• To make your base, mix the following ingredients: 5 drops of non-bleach dish soap + 1 cup of vegetable or olive oil

• In every cup of water, mix 1.5 tsp of the prepared mixture

• Shake the solution well and then transfer it to a spray bottle.

• Spray all areas of the infected plant, especially on the underside of leaves.

Scale Insects

Scales are plant sap-feeding insects. The adult scale will cling to one section of the plant and remain there, which distinguishes them from other bugs. Armoured scales are brownish lumps that can form on the stems or petioles of plants.

To keep scales away from your Quesnelia Testudo, take a teaspoon of neem oil and add it to 500 mL of water and sprinkle it over the leaves.

You may also release ladybugs or lacewings near the infected plant to solve the problem for you!


Mealybugs may infest your Quesnelia Skinneri. If you find these small white “fluff” parasites, you must act quickly before they spread.

Begin by saturating a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Wipe any apparent mealybugs from the leaves of your Quesnelia.

You may also use 5mL of neem oil, 500mL of water, and 10 drops of liquid soap (as an emulsifier). Spraying your plants with this solution once a month will not only make their leaves seem glossy and clean, but it will also inhibit mealies from invading your houseplant.

Brown Leaf Tips

One common reason for browning edges on your Winter Torch’s leaves is a build-up of salts and minerals in the soil. This typically happens if you apply too much fertilizer or if you use chemically-treated tap water.

Another reason for browning leaf tips is the lack of moisture. Water your plant appropriately, and improve your indoor humidity.

Drooping Leaves

Drooping leaves on the Quesnelia Testudo can be caused by inconsistent watering, incorrect lighting, and lack of humidity. It might also be beneficial to clean your plant’s leaves with a microfiber cloth and plain water to remove the layer of dust that can interfere with photosynthesis.

Yellow Leaves

Sometimes, you may notice yellow leaves on your Turtlehead Bromeliad, which can signify trouble. Factors that cause this problem include moisture stress, improper lighting, nutrient imbalance, inconsistent temperatures, insect infestations, bacterial or viral infections, and many others.

To narrow down the problem, you will need to consider any recent changes in the weather or in terms of how you care for your plant.

Root Rot

Overabundance of water, which leads to root rot, is often fatal for the Quesnelia Skinneri. It is difficult to control rot once it has started. Your best option is to remove the root system entirely and restart your plant as if you were propagating a cutting.

Of course, you can always take preventative measures to avoid root rot. Begin by providing your plant with a fast-draining, well-aerated soil mix. This may be accomplished by including bulky materials that will generate air spaces and allow the roots to breathe.

Next, pick a pot for its utility rather than its appearance. Drainage is an essential requirement for houseplants. If your selected pot lacks drainage holes, don’t be scared to utilize your driller!

Finally, do not water your plant until you are certain that the soil is no longer damp from your previous watering. To check for moisture, stick your finger into the soil or use the old-fashioned wooden skewer approach.

Similar Plants

Love the Winter Torch? Here are some other similar plant options you should try:

Money Tree – This endearing plant, with its fascinating origin story or legends, is a decorative plant known to bring good fortune to the person who grows it. You will get a perfect specimen with exquisitely formed, vibrant leaves and a flexible trunk that can be braided.

Alocasia Polly – Another unusual adornment that screams drama is the Alocasia Polly. It has thick, wavy, glossy, green leaves. Although not the ideal plant for beginners, once you get the hang of caring for this wonder, you’ll get an exquisite plant that’s perfect for your indoor setting.

Hoya Carnosa – This lightweight plant looks stunningly draped over an indoor hanging basket. It is the queen of ornamental plants and shines as an eye-catching accent.

Graptophyllum Pictum – Claim to fame: Striking chocolate-purple leaf and a robust tropical shrub. The addition of the variegated creamy pink core, which transforms it into a dramatic accent plant to add to your indoor garden, is what makes it genuinely alluring and distinctive.

Strelitzia Reginae – Popularly known as the Bird of Paradise, this unusual, gorgeous, tropical plant is a natural wonder that will surely give your garden a tropical touch and feel. This regal plant produces orange crane-looking flowers, hence the name.


Prized for its attractive blooms, Quesnelia Testudo is a nice plant and a beautiful decoration for your household. If you follow our care tips, you’ll have no trouble growing this Quesnelia.

Do you have a Winter Torch in your collection? We’d love to see it! Please submit photos to [email protected], and we might post them on our blog!

Help us grow! This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something recommended. All opinions, however, are our own, and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

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