This is a tropical plant, native to Brazil. Of the 150 varieties, it is one of a few that produce attractive flowers — the majority are grown for their foliage.
The upper sides of the Eternal Flame’s leaves are a metallic dark green with purple hues; the undersides are bronze-purple. As in most other varieties they have a puckered texture.
The flower spikes grow at the top of tall stems. The true flowers are orange-yellow with rose-red sepals, and are tubular in shape. They are almost hidden among the bright yellow-orange bracts, which form the most visible part of the flower head.
Because it is a purely tropical plant it needs an even climate throughout the year. It will do well indoors, but needs high levels of humidity around the leaves. Place it inside a shallow outer pot, or on a large saucer, filled with moist pebbles, or group it with other plants to keep the humidity high.Give plenty of light— a partially shaded position is ideal—and preferably soft water. You can use rain water, or add a teaspoon of citric acid to hard water to soften it.Tropical plants will not tolerate the cold, so if you keep your plant in a window, move it to a position a little away from the window in winter. Rapid changes in temperature are also harmful, so if you buy your plant in winter, protect it against the cold when you take it home.The Eternal Flame will grow to a height and spread of about 30cm (12in). The leaves, produced on long stems, are 19-23cm (7-9in) in length.Getting plants to flowerTo produce flowers, the Eternal Flame must have a period in which the days are short and the nights long. Produce these conditions artificially in your home by the following method after a period of good light and good growth. The best time to start this is in mid-August.Cover the plant with a black polythene bag at 6 pm. Take it off next morning at 8 am. This gives the plant a day length of 10 hours and a night of 14 hours. Continue daily until the first buds appear, sometime in September.