Queen’s Tears

Queen’s Tears (Bilbergia nutans), also known as Friendship Plant)

Queens tears
Queens tears

This is the most beautiful house plant.  Its flowers have nearly all the colours of the rainbow  – rose pink, yellow, blue, green.   It blooms around this time every year for me – despite being neglected, which is just what it seems to need – neglect.

Its pendulous pink, green and blue flowers with striking yellow stamens dangle at the end of long arching bracts.


I have had it for a few years now (parish fetes are great places to buy unusual plants) but I have only just discovered its name.  I have grown it in a pot, but I am going to try and grow a few shoots on a piece of bark

It is called  Queen’s Tears because drops of nectar are supposed to “weep” from the flowers when the plant is moved or touched – I haven’t managed to see that yet.

But it is also called Friendship Plant – because it readily sets new offset plantlets which can be given away to friends.  They say the best way to keep a plant is to give it away – if it dies on you,  your friend will have it to give it back to you.

Queens Tears is a bromeliad, (bro-me-lee-ad) originating from South America where they grow as epiphytes, that is they perch in trees in the jungle and absorb moisture and nutrition through their leaves – almost like an air plant as they have very short roots.


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