Today we will be learning How you can grow bromeliad. Also, we will be looking at different ways to take care of this beautiful plant. Let us begin.
Bromeliads are interesting tough and don’t require much care. That’s the kind of plant to have in a climate where gardening is a year-round activity. Bromeliads are a very popular house plant.
Bromeliads generally sell as “color plants”. They are a lot more long-lasting and need very less care as compared to azaleas, begonias, mums and the like.
Let us have an overview of this amazing plant.
|Plant Type||Houseplant; epiphyte|
|Mature Size||Varies based on a variety|
|Sun Exposure||Bright, indirect light|
|Soil Type||Fast-draining potting soil|
|Bloom Time||Blooms once; timing varies|
|Flower Color||Red, green, purple, orange, yellow, banded, stripes, spots or other combinations|
|Native Area||Tropical Americas|
Like many other tropical indoor plants, bromeliads love nice, bright light. But they do not like very long intervals of the direct, hot sun.
Outdoors and in the wild, they grow under the canopies of other plants where it’s bright and warm but the direct sun is limited.
These plants can survive for a while in lower light conditions but need a proper amount of it to initiate flowering and pupping. Also, a fair amount of light is necessary to bring out its beautiful colors.
Place your Bromeliad somewhere near but not in a window or windows with a west or south exposure. A west, south or east window is often perfect.
Plants that are yellowish may be getting too much light. Whereas plants that are dark green or elongated may be receiving very little light.
During winter, you may have to move it to a place that receives more light. Rotating them on a monthly basis is also not a bad idea.
2) Watering The Bromeliad
Bromeliad plant loves a good watering every day. Water the potting soil thoroughly & then let the water drain out of the pot.
Most of the bromeliads are epiphytes (meaning they grow on other rocks, plants, logs, etc & not in the soil) so never keep them mushy. Also, avoid filling the cup or pot full of water. At most, Keep the cup, 1/4 to 1/2 full of water. Make sure to flush out the cup every month or once in two months as bacteria may thrive in the dirty water.
In the darker, cooler months do not water every day. You may water once every 2 months. Also, keep the cup 1/4 full to almost dry. This will ensure that your Bromeliad does not rot.
Bromeliads with a cup (like Aechmeas & Neoregelias) may fall prey to salt damage which occurs because of over-fertilizing or water quality.
Mostly you can use tap water for watering. But it may possibly have high amounts of minerals & salts. Thus in such cases, I would recommend using rainwater or distilled water.
3) SOIL / Repotting The Bromeliad
Bromeliads like rich, organic matter in their potting soil. The only thing that you need to take is that they must have excellent drainage.
If you have a Cymbidium orchid mix, then you can use this mix for potting up your Bromeliads.
I use a mixture of worm castings, compost, succulent & cactus mix, and orchid bark. You can also add coco coir to the mix. It serves as an alternative to peat moss and is environmental friendly.
Bromeliad has a small root system. So you don’t have to worry about repotting them very often. Repotting them after 4-5 years is just fine & you only need to go up 1 or 2 pot sizes.
There is one thing you need to remember when re-potting. Avoid repotting them in the cooler months. This is the resting time for roots and is not the best time to re-pot.
This is Aechmea fasciata, the Bromeliad that was the most popular in my interior plant-scaping days.
Bromeliads need no fertilizing. If you feel the need to feed these beautiful plants, you can make use of a balanced liquid fertilizer or an all-purpose orchid food diluted at 1/2 strength in the summer or spring.
There are different fertilizers which are specially made for bromeliads. But always remember that whichever fertilizer you decide to use, don’t over-fertilize them!
5) Temperature / Humidity
Bromeliads are not temperature sensitive. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.
Bromeliads thrive and grow best in temperatures between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, these plants can tolerate temperature up-to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bromeliads are native to the subtropical & tropical regions. Therefore humidity plays an important role. If your home is really dry, then mist the plants a couple of times a week. Also you can grow them over a tray filled with water & pebbles.
6) Propagation of Bromeliad
The easiest and best way to propagate Bromeliads is by removing the pups (the little babies that appear off the base of the mother plant) & replanting them successively.
If you’re a beginner or new at this, you should wait until the pups are a fairly good size so roots have formed. Gardners also propagate them with the help of seed. But it becomes very complicated and time-consuming.
Guzmanias have bright, showy flowers but their foliage is rather plain.
Bromeliads need very little pruning. A bottom leaf will often die. When this happens just remove it. If your bromeliad has a flower stalk, like a Guzmania or an Aechmea, then prune it off after it has died.
At some point in the future, the mother plant will die. But don’t worry – remember, new babies, will appear) & you’ll need to cut that off after it dies completely.
Bromeliads usually come in a variety of colors. Some have a stalk with a large showy flower on the top while others generally have small flowers that appear deep inside the cup.
Generally, pests do not attack bromeliads whether you grow them indoors or out. They’re most susceptible mainly to scale and mealy bugs. You can easily wipe the mealybug off with alcohol & a cotton swab.
You can remove scale with your fingernail or a dull knife. Don’t use an oil spray (like horticultural or neem oils) on your Bromeliads because they can smother the plant.
Varieties of Bromeliads
- Guzmania: These are the most common houseplant variety. The Guzmania blooms clusters of orange, red, yellow, white, and purple flours.
- Neoregelia: The Neoregelia has bold pink, purple, red, and orange flowers.
- Pineapple: It is the ornamental version of the fruit. This bromeliad has spiderly leaves and very small pineapples on top of the flower spike.
- Vriesea: The Variesea has tropical, feather-like blooms and variegated foliage.