Neoregelia medusa is a flamboyant bromeliad that is easy to grow and looks great in any home. In this article, we’re doing a deep dive on how to grow this tropical plant successfully, including info on where to buy, tips for Neoregelia medusa care, and other hints to help you along the way.
Is this the best plant for your indoor garden? Read on to find out.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Neoregelia medusa?
- 2 Where To Buy
- 3 Neoregelia medusa Plant Size
- 4 Neoregelia medusa Care Needs
- 5 Similar Plants
- 6 Conclusion
What Is Neoregelia medusa?
Neoregelia medusa plants, also called Bromeliad Medusa and Medusa’s Head, are considered perennial monocotyledons that grow well in a living room or kitchen as a houseplant – and really anywhere else with bright indirect light and moderate to high humidity.
They’re known for their rosette-shaped green leaves and red centers that add a pop of color to any room. At this point, this bromeliad Neoregelia medusa is considered pretty rare and may be challenging to find.
If you’re looking for another rare houseplant, check out the Philodendron gloriosum, which is a beautiful option for indoor growers.
Origin And Family
Bromeliad medusa is a member of the Neoregelia genus, which is part of the Bromeliaceae family. It originated in Brazil and other tropical areas of South American rainforests.
Neoregelia medusa has become a popular indoor plant in recent years, thriving in most households that give it plenty of indirect light.
While the exact discovery of this plant is unclear, we do know that bromeliads were first introduced to Europe when Columbus brought one back from his 1493 voyage. This specific bromeliad, which was being cultivated by the Carib tribe, was actually the pineapple.
Bromeliad medusa, unfortunately, is not edible like its pineapple cousin. It’s not toxic, but it’s certainly not tasty either.
Medusa refers to a specific gorgon in Greek mythology. Medusa and her sisters were said to have snakes for hair – and the annoying ability to turn people to stone with a glance.
The Neoregelia medusa has leaves that swirl in all directions around the plant’s center, similar to a gorgon with snakes for hair.
Where To Buy
If you want to buy a Neoregelia medusa, you can check the local garden centers or nurseries. However, there are better deals online, such as Icarus Plants.
Neoregelia medusa Plant Size
The houseplant Neoregelia medusa can grow up to 9-12 inches tall and spread up to 4.5-7 inches wide. When placed in a living room or kitchen, it’s a slow-to-moderate-growing plant that you can expect to enjoy for years to come.
Neoregelia medusa Care Needs
Your Neoregelia medusa, like any other houseplant, will thrive if adequately cared for. With its lovely long, curving leaves, the Medusa’s Head likes to grow in slightly moist soil.
In most situations, you’ll want to water your Neoregelia when the surface of the mix is dry to the touch. Water thoroughly, allowing it to escape through the pot’s draining hole. Similarly, in terms of lighting, this lovely plant needs bright indirect light to grow well.
Check out our thorough care guidelines below for more information.
The Neoregelia medusa is easy to care for. The amount of light and well-draining soil criteria are the most important considerations for this beauty.
Looking for other houseplants that are easy to grow? Try the String of Turtles, which is a perfect option for beginners.
The Neoregelia medusa plant grows to a height of 9-12 inches. Their growing season is between spring and summer.
Most Neoregelia species, including the medusa, grow slow to moderately. It could take 2-3 years before this plant blooms. That said, most purchased plants are already this old when they arrive at the nursery.
These plants are generally considered long-lived and produce “pups” that can be separated from the mother plant to create more Neoregelias.
Medusa bromeliad pic.twitter.com/dAdHeEF0cB— Garden Girl (@GrdngirlL) October 16, 2015
Neoregelia plants, in general, prefer a well-draining pot. A small-to-medium clay or plastic pot works fine. We should point out that medusa’s root system is tiny, so it doesn’t need too large of a pot. If the potting option is too large, it can cause overwatering issues.
And, while it may seem simple, please ensure that your pot has a hole at the bottom.
One of the primary killers of most plants, including Neoregelia medusa, is a lack of proper drainage. Make sure your plant’s soil, pot, and water promote growth rather than causing it to perish.
You typically need to repot your Neoregelia medusa every 2-3 (at most) years or until its leaves become too large or top-heavy. When this happens, carefully remove the plant from the pot.
From here, replant your Bromeliad Medusa into a new pot. Remember, you don’t typically need a large pot for this plant. It’s more about securing it in the soil, so it doesn’t topple over. If you do go to a larger pot, make sure it’s perhaps an inch or two larger in diameter.
A well-draining potting medium, such as orchid potting soil, is ideal for Bromeliad Medusa. This plant wants soil with coco coir, orchid bark, peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite in a perfect state.
Like most plants, well-draining soil is also a must for this easy-to-care-for care plant.
Here are some excellent options for soil or potting mix:
You’ll want to aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH, somewhere between 6.1-7. A well-draining potting medium, such as orchid potting soil, will already be close to this point, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much.
If you are seeing some trouble with your plants and are doing some troubleshooting, you could do a pH test on the soil to see if this is the culprit.
Bromeliad medusas are indirect light-loving plants that need evenly moist soil throughout the year. If you’re using tap water, I recommend you let it sit for at least 24 hours before using it to water your plant. This gives the water enough time to release any additives in the water – used for things like filtering and cleaning.
During the spring and summer, water your plant when the surface of the mix is dry to the touch. Water deeply until it drains out the hole in the bottom of the clay or plastic pot. Be sure to toss out the water collection tray to fend off root rot.
In the winter, you won’t need to water as much. Water your plants deeply but less frequently.
This houseplant prefers bright indirect light for approximately 12-16 hours a day. If you don’t have enough light, its leaves may turn a deep green instead of the brilliant red in the center. Too much bright light and the leaves will sunburn or bleach. That said, some growers have found success with this plant in relatively low-light environments.
If you’re worried your Neoregelia medusa or other house plants aren’t getting enough light, you may need to move them closer to a window or consider using artificial lights. This plant is known for living in most indoor areas, so artificial lights are usually unnecessary.
Avoid putting your Neoregelia medusa in direct sunlight, as this could bleach or burn the leaves.
During this plant’s growing season – the spring and summer – fertilize your Medusa’s Head once a month using a basic slow-release fertilizer.
In the non-growing seasons, when plant development naturally slows, you don’t need to fertilize at all. Avoid applying fertilizers to your Bromeliad medusa, as it may severely damage the plant – or just waste a bunch of fertilizer.
Propagating Neoregelia medusa
There’s only one common way to Propagate a Bromeliad medusa: through removing its pups (kind of like baby plants) and planting them in soil. This can be done through a few basic steps and methods.
Here’s a basic informative video on propagating Bromeliads through pup division.
Neoregelia spreads by developing offsets or plantlets (sometimes called pups) around the base of adult plants, just like all bromeliads. The mother plant will progressively die back when the pups take over once the mature plant has flowered. These can be re-potted into their original containers.
Humidity And Aeration
Neoregelia medusa or Medusa’s Head is a tropical perennial that prefers moderate-to-high humidity – often 50-60% or more.
If you’re concerned about your humidity or if you see brown edges on your plants, consider these options for increasing humidity. There are several ways to give your home humidity a boost – you can mist these interesting plants, put a humidifier next to them, or place the plant in a pebble tray.
Warm-to-temperate temperatures are preferable for your Bromeliad medusa plant, and it can thrive in a temperature range of 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
They do, however, like a constant temperature, so keep them away from vents and openings that may allow chilly air in.
The Neoregelia medusa can produce insignificant small flowers. The part we typically consider the flowe is actually the inner leaves of the plant.
This is a little confusing, so I briefly spoke with Dr. David Trinklein, a Professor of Plant Sciences and State Floriculture Specialist in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri to get some clarity.. According to Trinklein, “The red inner leaves of Neoregelia ‘Medusa’ are not its blossom but, frankly, are the most attractive aspect of the plant. The flower are small and white and eventually form in the center of the rosette of leaves (or “cup,” as it commonly is called).
Read more about Trinklein’s information on Bromeliads here.
Non-Toxic To Cats, Dogs, Or Humans
According to the ASPCA, this Bromeliad is non-toxic to animals or humans. That said, if your pet or child has ingested part of the plant, still call either your veterinarian or doctor, respectively.
Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems
The Bromeliad medusa, while easy to care for, is not usually considered a disease-resistant plant. Below we’re discussing some of the common problems and pests, as well as solutions to protect your Neoregelia medusa.
Scale insects may appear as lumps on the stems or branches of the medusa rather than insects. If your infestation isn’t too bad, you can use neem oil in water to help keep new scale insects from attacking these tropical plants.
While neem oil or horticulture oils will not kill everything, they will undoubtedly cause some damage.
Mealybugs may infest your Neoregelia medusa. If you find these little parasites with their white fluff, act promptly. With a cotton swab bathed in rubbing alcohol, the bugs will be released from your plant. Neem oil also works well as a prophylactic spray.
Pythium belongs to the Oomycetes genus of parasitic plant diseases. Pythium causes plant rot; however, it mainly affects the plant’s root system. There are a few fungicides that treat this blight, including azoxystrobin, propamocarb, and mefenoxam.
An excellent way to avoid Pythium is by changing out your potting media every year or so – to keep everything pathogen-free.
Another common fungal disease is the Helminthosporium leaf spot, which is caused by Exserohilum rostratum. It’s also called melting out and net-blotch. The spots start bright and blistery. The patches will expand and become brown as the infection progresses.
A yellow border may still be visible around the spot’s perimeter. Leaves can begin to collapse and hang off the Neoregelia medusa in advanced stages.
A wide variety of fungicides can treat leaf spots, including those that contain captan, azoxystrobin, fludioxonil, chlorothalonil, fluoxastrobin, maneb, and others.
Rust disease appears on the underside of bromeliad leaves as rust-colored, liquid-filled blisters. When observed from the topside, the blisters will make their way through the leaves, eventually emerging as a white or light yellow patch.
Like most fungi, the best treatment is prevention. Be sure you aren’t splashing the leaves when watering your Bromeliad, and keep debris from the plant out of the pot.
Like Leaf spot, several fungicides can be used for rust disease. Mancozeb is often considered a protectant from rust on indoor plants, and myclobutanil can act as a treatment.
Brown Leaf Tips
If the tops of your Bromeliad medusa start to turn brown, it could be an indication that it’s getting too much sunlight – or that your home isn’t humid enough. Try adjusting where your plant lives in your home – or introduce a humidifier to the space.
Several factors can cause a Bromeliad Medusa plant to become yellow. It could be that it doesn’t get enough sunlight or gets too much or too little water. If your Neoregelia turns green in the center, this could also mean that your plant isn’t getting enough water.
Overwatering, inadequate drainage, or soil fungi can all contribute to root rot. Like many other plant diseases, root rot is difficult to treat, and prevention is the best approach to avoid it.
The best way to prevent root rot in Neoregelia medusa is to carefully monitor how much you’re watering it. Too much water is the leading cause of this annoying and often deadly condition.
Having suitable soil is a must for this too. Again, we recommend a basic orchid potting mix for this plant.
Love Bromeliad Medusa? Here are some other similar plant options you should try:
Guzmania – there are over 120 Guzmania plants in existence, many of which are known for their bright, colorful leaves. They are epiphytic plants.
Neoregelia caroline -Like the medusa, these Neoregelia cultivars have a red center but green tongue-like leaves that cascade from the center. It was cultivated in Florida and didn’t exist naturally in the wild.
Cryptanthus – Commonly called Earth Stars. The Cryptanthus genus has rosette-shaped leaves. There’s quite a variety in the genus – with 1200 species currently discovered, including ones with bright pink colors and dark green foliage.
Hechtia – Considered relatively common, the 50+ varieties of Hechtia are also known for their rosette leaves and interesting growth form. It is drought-resistant but not considered a true succulent.
The delicate flowers of Tillandsia butzii, a tree-dwelling bromeliad, are borne at the end of an elongated flower spike topped with red bracts. The species forms messy medusa-like specimens. #todayinmygarden #bromeliads #epiphytes #nature #tillandsia #flowers #botany pic.twitter.com/TpYPZh7GST— Challen Willemsen 🌿 (@challenguate) July 18, 2018
With its characteristics and attractive looks, Neoregelia medusa is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a new houseplant. Your efforts will be rewarded with beautiful tropical flora that you will enjoy having in your home!
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