These plants are found in tropical America. They can be raised in the hot house or home. The bloom mostly in the summer and fall and they need a minimum winter temperature of 55 degrees when grown under glass. Their leathery leaves have spines around the perimeters and as they grow directly from the base they overlap each other to form a long tube from which the flower spike emerges. Some have scarlet and blue flowers, some have pink flower heads with blue flowers and some have red, yellow and black flowers. The foliage also may have variegated colors such as maroon and green, green with white stripes, or completely red. They can grow up to 12 inches long.
These plants should be planted in a compost consisting of half osmunda fiber and half leaf mold, with a bit of charcoal and sand added. Moist soil and a humid atmosphere are a must throughout the summer and a little shade from strong summer sun is wise. During the winter, though, less water is required.
Suckers that grow up from the base of the plants can be detached with a sharp knife in March and inserted in small pots of sandy peat in a propagating case. When they've formed roots, they can be repotted in larger pots. Mature plants will do well for several years with just an annual top-dressing.