Flaming Torch Blooming in Our Garden

Flaming Torch is called Billbergia pyramidalis of Foolproof plant, Summer Torch is again in bloom. This is a type of bromeliad native to Central, South America and Carribean countries.

This is commonly sold in many garden center and had been planted either on ground or as epiphytes in many parts of the country.


Flaming Torch or Billbergia pyramidalis

Billbrgia pyramidalis in some large garden estates and farms, This had become almost naturalized. We purchase our first Billbergia pyramidalis in the early 1990’s.

We were able to haggle the price from Php20.00 per pup to just Php 10.00 since we bought 10 pieces at the Green and Grow Plant stall within Manila Seedling Bank ,EDSA corner Quezon Avenue in Quezon City.

Flaming Torch

The popular name for this bromeliad is “Flaming Torch” because the orange flower bracts and reddish purple flowers resembles a torch.

Backyard gardeners usually know them as flaming torch , red torch ,summer torch , red flame, queen tears, foolproof plant, billbergia,bubble gum blossom,candy blossom , hurricane bromeliad, among others….

We normally would plant the flaming torch in terracotta pots with rich humus, coco coir dust and some charcoal. We divide the offset at least once a year. Some neighbors who have planted their flaming torch on their garden soon realized that it would spread and would ruin the landscape.

This is an old time cultivar which is again slowly making a come back. Minimal care and maintenance is needed. We gave several dozen pots to friends, relatives and neighbors for the past decade or so.

There were at least a dozen known cultivar varieties grown all over the world. There is also a variegated form for sale in some garden centers.


The species is not native or indigenous to the Philippines. They were introduced to the Philippines from the United States probably just after the second world war ( mid- 1940’s). or even much earlier.

Water and Fertilization

Billbergia do not require much water, but they do like high humidity. The potting medium should feel dry when touched between each watering. You can also add water to the central tank. Use distilled water or rain water to avoid mineral buildup on the leaves. The tanks should also be regularly flushed and rinsed to avoid stagnate water. Stagnate water can result in pests and diseases.

We normally apply water soluble 20N-20P-20K in their tanks after watering them heavily , once or twice a month – water soluble fertilizers can be bought in any home and garden outlets. Dilute them to 1/4 or 1/2 the strength recommended dosage.


One can divide Billbergia pyramidalis after it blooms or when pups are several months with small adventitious roots , keep them on partial shade area and moving them gradually to  partial sunlight. Since there are no natural pollinators which occur in the Philippines, It seldom sets seeds . Propagation is usually separating the suckers/ pups when they have small roots and are large enough to be individually potted.

Economic Uses

Billbergas are highly ornamental plants ,During its blooming season, potted plants with flowers can be a centerpiece in living room or focal point in one’s garden. The inflorescence or bracts carry several violet flowers which can last between 5 to 7 days in prefect condition .

Sometimes, there are available plants for sale at the Centris Sunday market, garden centers.

Bibliography, Sources and References:

López, L. C. S., Alves, R. R. D. N., & Ríos, R. I. (2009). Micro-environmental factors and the endemism of bromeliad aquatic fauna. Hydrobiología, 625(1), 151-156.

Steiner, Mona Lisa Dr., McCullough Printing Company (1960) Philippine Ornamental Plants And Their Care, page 56 Billbergia

Bromeliad Society International

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