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10 Tips on How to Care for Bromeliad Plants (Bromeliaceae)

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10 Reasons to Bring Home Bromeliads for a Touch of Exotic Elegance

1.- About Bromeliad Plants (Bromeliaceae)

Bromeliads are very unique indoor plants in both appearance and growth habits. They are very slow-growing plants, taking one to three years to reach flowering size. Bromeliads are very popular as leaf plants, despite many of them having highly showy flower displays.

Their leaves can be a variety of colors and patterns, including red, green, purple, orange, and yellow, as well as bands, stripes, spots, and other designs. The Bromeliad is an epiphyte, which means that it grows on other plants or objects. Bromeliads typically have a very short life span, only lasting a few years.

However, they can easily be propagated by division or planting the offsets they produce. Bromeliads are very tolerant of neglect and can thrive in a wide range of conditions. They are native to the tropics but can be grown successfully in most temperate climates.

Bromeliads require very little care and are very easy to grow. Additionally, research has shown that having plants in your house will have amazing benefits for you! Visit our article Amazing Psychological Effects of Nature in Pet-Friendly Interiors to find out more!

How to Care for Bromeliad Plants (Bromeliaceae)

Costa Farms Flowering Bromeliad

2.- Selecting the Best soil for Bromeliad Plants

Bromeliads that are grown inside do best when the potting soil used for them has good moisture retention but also good drainage. The optimal soil composition includes one-third sand and two-thirds peat-based soil in most cases. There is also the option of using charcoal, soilless potting mix, or orchid mix.

You can cultivate several types of bromeliads that are epiphytic in containers. You can also attempt to cultivate them as genuine “air plants” by mounting them to boards or logs (typically secured with ties or glue).

3.- Selecting the right pot for my Bromeliad Plant

There are a few things to consider when it comes to planting containers. The type of container you use can affect drainage, stability, and weight. Clay pots and plastic containers are both common choices, but clay pots tend to be heavier and offer more stability.

This makes them a better choice for top-heavy plant arrangements. You can also add a layer of pea gravel to the bottom of the container for extra stability and weight. However, this does not improve drainage, which is very important to avoid root rot. Ultimately, it is up to you to choose the best type of container for your needs.

How to Care for Bromeliad Plants (Bromeliaceae)

Costa Farms Flowering Bromeliad

4.- The Best light for my Bromeliad Plant

The different genera of bromeliads have varying light intensity tolerances, with some able to survive in the intense heat of the tropical sun while others may quickly burn. Plant kinds with soft, flexible, spineless leaves generally prefer lower light levels. In contrast, those with stiff, hard leaves prefer indirect bright light.

Yellowish plants may be receiving too much light, whereas dark green or elongated plants may be receiving little light. Increasing the plant’s exposure to light can promote flowering, assuming all other conditions are favorable. Bromeliads are a diverse and varied group of plants, and it is important to know the right conditions in which to grow them to ensure they thrive.

5.- How to Water my Bromeliad Plant

Bromeliads can be found in a variety of colors and sizes. Some have strange shapes, some have spikes, and some even have furry leaves! Despite their appearance, they are very easy to care for. Bromeliads like damp soil but well-drained soil, and they also like humid conditions.

If you live in a dry climate, you can mist your plant with a spray bottle every few days or put it on a tray of pebbles with water. The main thing to remember is that Bromeliads don’t like soggy soil, so make sure the pot has drainage holes. You should only water your Bromeliad when the top 2 inches of soil are dry.

In general, you should water these plants lightly via the soil weekly during the growing season and less during the winter. When you water your plant, make sure to flush out the central cup to remove any salts that may have built up. Standing water will cause your Bromeliad to decay, so it’s important to avoid this at all costs!

How to Care for Bromeliad Plants (Bromeliaceae)

Costa Farms Flowering Bromeliad

6.- How to Fertilize my Bromeliad Plant

Most bromeliads are able to flourish without the need for extra fertilizer. Still, a few species can benefit from regular, light feedings. Adding additional nutrients to their diet can boost blossom production and enhance the look of their leaves. When it comes to fertilizing bromeliads, timing is everything.

They grow most vigorously during the summer months, so this is when they’ll benefit most from extra nutrients. If you’re using a liquid fertilizer, simply dilute it by a factor of four before applying it to the plant. Alternatively, you can use a time-release powder or pellet formulation.

Scatter the grains lightly around the base of the plant, being careful not to overdo it. A little bit of fertilizer goes a long way with these delicate plants.

7.- Best Temperature and Humidity for my Bromeliad Plant

Bromeliads require specific care to thrive. One important consideration is ensuring that they have adequate shelter from cold weather. In regions with colder climates, it is best to grow bromeliads in pots so that they can be moved indoors or to a more sheltered location when necessary.

Bromeliads prefer temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, although some cold-hardy varieties can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees. Indoors, bromeliads prefer an environment with 60% humidity. When moving bromeliads outdoors, it is important to try and replicate the conditions of their natural environment as closely as possible.

Bromeliads grow in damp, shaded areas of tropical forests or trees, so providing similar conditions in your garden will help them thrive. You can successfully add a taste of the tropics to your landscape with beautiful and vibrant bromeliads by taking these considerations into account.

How to Care for Bromeliad Plants (Bromeliaceae)

Costa Farms Flowering Bromeliad

8.- How to Propagate my Bromeliad Plant

One of the best things about bromeliads is that they are relatively easy to propagate. Rather than rely on seeds, which can be finicky, bromeliads produce pups or offsets. These pups can be cut off from the mother plant and potted individually, resulting in new plants that are genetically identical to the original.

This process is simple and straightforward, making it an ideal option for those who are new to plant propagation. Additionally, bromeliads have beautiful bracts that encircle the small blooms. These bracts can last for months, adding an extra touch of beauty to the plant.

Though the parent plant will die a few months after bloom, it will leave behind one or more pups that can be used to create new plants. As a result, bromeliads are a great option for adding some color and life to their home with minimal effort.

How to Care for Bromeliad Plants (Bromeliaceae)

Red Bromeliad -4” from California Tropicals

9.- Bromeliad Plant – Common Pests and Diseases

Bromeliads are mostly free of serious pests, despite the fact that they may occasionally be attacked by mealybugs, aphids, and scale. If you spray the plant with a solution that consists of water and a few drops of dish soap, you will be able to get rid of mealybugs and aphids. Apply some rubbing alcohol to a cotton swab and use it to remove scale insects.

10.- When should I repot my Bromeliad Plant?

Bromeliads need to be repotted every few years, and the best time to do so is before they bloom in April. Bromeliad repotting is simple and only takes a few minutes. Gently remove your Bromeliad from its current container and remove any loose soil from the roots.

Next, remove any broken leaves or pups. Shear or cut them from the parent plant. Each puppy needs its own container. If there are no puppies, proceed to step three. Bromeliad mix fills the new pot. Fill the container to the leaves’ base. This ensures your plant is deeply rooted but won’t drown when watered.

Finally, use wooden stakes to support your Bromeliad. This helps the plant growth while producing roots. With just a little time and effort, you’ll have a healthy, blooming bromeliad in no time!

How to Care for Bromeliad Plants (Bromeliaceae)

Red Bromeliad -4” from California Tropicals

11.- How to prune my Bromeliad Plant

Most plants will benefit from good pruning. Pruning eliminates dying, sick, or diseased plant components. In addition to preserving the plant’s energy for healthy growth, this prevents pests and pathogens from infecting it. The majority of plants will sprout in the direction of their pruning.

With bromeliads, the advantages of pruning vary slightly. To avoid disease and maintain the health of your Bromeliad, brown, dead, or sickly leaves must be removed. However, bromeliads do not require pruning until after their flowers have faded. The dead flower stem of the Bromeliad can be left on the plant to provide nourishment for future blooms.

Bromeliads also prefer to be crowded, so don’t be afraid to leave some extra space between plants when you are pruning them. You can keep your bromeliads healthy and promote their long-term growth by following these simple tips.

How to Care for Bromeliad Plants (Bromeliaceae)

House Plant Shop | Bromeliad ‘Silver Vase’

Final Thoughts and Facts

Arranging the perfect home garden can seem daunting- there is so much to consider! From considering the perfect spot for your houseplant to understanding plant toxicity, getting rid of pests in your house, determining sunlight levels, choosing the right hanging plants (or even bromeliads!), understanding humidity and using natural or artificial light sources adds up!

A great way to achieve success is by talking to your plants – use a moisture meter, and a grow light if needed. Also, use evidence-based design principles to create outstanding color and texture schemes that provide psychological benefits.

Finally, remember that you can buy pet-friendly indoor trees, many of which are surprisingly affordable. With these tips in mind, you’ll find that creating an inviting home garden has never been easier! And if you are in doubt about having bromeliads as houseplants, please remember these facts: 

  1. Bromeliads are incredibly diverse, boasting over 2,700 known varieties in the plant family!
  2. They grow year-round and require minimal care, so even beginner gardeners can cultivate these fantastic plants successfully.
  3. Their blooms last a long time, and they produce new pup blooms after their original flowers have done flowering—allowing you to enjoy blooms for months on end!
  4. Don’t worry about overwatering—just add a small amount of water to the leaf cup once a week.
  5. Bromeliads thrive in tropical climates but can still survive indoors, away from drafts, and in temperatures above 55 degrees.
  6. These resilient plants don’t tend to attract pests—just easily wipe away any occasional scale insects you encounter!
  7. The leaves provide all of the nutrition these plants need, making them incredibly hardy and resilient!
  8. Some species of bromeliads even grow on rocks or trees, adding an exotic touch to your home décor!
  9. Inexpensive and easy to grow, you can enjoy beautiful blooms without breaking the bank!
  10. With such variety among these plants, you’ll surely find one that will perfectly fit your home’s design!

Care for Bromeliad Plant – FAQ

Do Bromeliads flower?

Bromeliads are relatively slow-growing plants that take one to three years to mature into flowering plants. After the flower dies, the plant also begins to die over the next few months. 

What is an Epiphytic Bromeliad?

This means that your plant is growing on a rock, tree bark, or somehow mounted instead of potted in medium, 

Can my Bromeliad stand direct sunlight, or do they prefer indirect light?

Never place your plant in an area that gets hours and hours of direct sunlight. A few feet away from a window is ideal. Some varieties prefer bright, indirect light, while others thrive in almost constant shade.

Is Bromeliad Plant Care easy?

Bromeliad plant care is easy and requires no special tools or fertilizers.

My Bromeliad bloomed and is dying; what should I do?

Look for babies (aka pups) around the base of the dying mother plant. If you find some, you can either cut back the dead part of the plant and leave the pups to grow. Or you can remove the pups and pot them up on their own.

What is the best soil for potted Bromeliads?

If you prefer to grow bromeliads in pots, you can buy a bromeliad soil mix or use an orchid soil mix. 

How to Care for Bromeliad Plants (Bromeliaceae)

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

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