Cryptanthus are prized for their foliage rather than their flowers, which are typically nestled, "hidden," in the center, hence the name: cryptos+anthos (hidden flower). They are dependent on their root system for water supply, since they do not store in their centers. Because Cryptanthus are moisture-loving and not subject to fungal problems, they are excellent plants for terrariums.
Cryptanthus have been crossed with Billbergia
and the resulting hybrids Cryptbergia are intermediate in habit between the two genera.