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Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae Genera) Grow & Care Guide

Written by Iris

Jul 22 2021

Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae Genera) Grow & Care Guide
Bromeliad is a perennial herb. There are many varieties of it, but each has its own characteristics, and each plant type is beautiful and elegant. Let me introduce to you Bromeliads propagation methods and care tips.

Where to Grow Bromeliads

Most bromeliads thrive in a warm room that gets plenty of bright light – they need a temperature of around 20°C to flower. Once the plant is blooming, a slightly lower temperature will help it last longer. A bright and steamy bathroom is the perfect home, mimicking the warm, moist, tropical habitats that many bromeliads grow in naturally. Bromeliads also do well in a conservatory, though the leaves may scorch on the hottest summer days. Avoid placing bromeliads near radiators as these can burn the leaves.
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How to Grow Bromeliads

While it's possible to grow Bromeliad plants from seed, it takes years for bromeliads propagated this way to grow to maturity. Because of this, most home gardeners prefer to reproduce their bromeliads by removing offsets, or pups, from the base of the mother plant.
In a natural growth cycle, a mature bromeliad will start sending up a flower spike, including tiny insignificant flowers with bracts. These bracts are long lasting surviving for several months.
Once the flower dies, the plant dies along with it, too. But, before it starts to completely decline, the mother plant will send out one or more smaller “pups” or offshoots at the plant's base.
These pups can be cut off with sterile gardening shears and you can pot them individually. Be sure to cut as close to the the mother plant as possible without harming the mother plant. Sometimes there is a shielding leaf in the way and you can peel that back to get closer to the base of the pup to get a good clipping.
When transplanting your pups be careful not to bury them deep within the soil, use supports to hold them in place until their root system has become strong enough to hold itself up.
The pups require bright, indirect sunlight but, less light than a full grown Bromeliad requires. You’ll also need to pay close attention to watering your pups as they require more water but, not over watering that can lead to root rot causing your newly born pup to die.

How to Care for Bromeliads

Bromeliad Lighting Requirements

The ideal lighting situation for bromeliads consists of indirect, bright light. Too much harsh light and your plant may start turning yellow—but if it’s dark green and extra leggy, it might mean it's not receiving enough light.

Bromeliad Soil Care

Bromeliads are epiphytic, meaning they grow on another plant for support, so are often found growing in trees, on stumps or on other supports. But they will also happily grow in the garden or in pots, as long as you use well-drained or free-draining soil that’s enriched with organic matter. To grow bromeliads in pots, use a free-draining mix such as orchid potting mix. If you wish to grow them in trees or on stumps, place a ball of sphagnum moss around the roots and tie them down with fishing line or jute.

Bromeliad Watering

Bearing the characteristics of an epiphyte, bromeliads have specialized leaf structures called trichomes. They make use of these disc-shaped structures to absorb minerals and water from the air. Also, Bromeliad has fleshy leaves where they store water enough to sustain them during drought periods.
 Watering the plant once a week should be enough. Just fill the middle cup with water and it will quench the whole plant. However, never allow this water to sit in the plant for a long time because it will lead to root rot and salt build-up. If the temperature is cold enough and the light level is low, watering can be reduced to every two weeks.

Bromeliad Temperature & Humidity Care

Bromeliads are also highly tolerant of temperature variations, but plants in hotter conditions need more humidity. Bromeliads prefer temperatures between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Though some cold-hardy types can survive temperatures down to 20 degrees, they should generally not be exposed to temperatures under 40 degrees.2
They grow well indoors at humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent. In many climates, bromeliads can be moved outdoors during the summer.

Bromeliad Fertilizer Care

Bromeliads do not need much fertilization. You could use a half or quarter dilution of all-purpose plant food, some slow-release pellets mixed in with their potting mix, or a single pellet dropped into the bromeliad’s water cup. Only fertilize during the growing season of spring and summer, and take care not to over-fertilize.

Bromeliad Pruning

In order to keep your bromeliad attractive and healthy, occasional trimming should be done. Using sharp pruning shears or scissors, you can cut off dead leaves and flower stalks. You may also get rid of leaves that grow out of proportion to maintain the plant’s desired shape.
Pruning is also a good time to remove offshoots from the mother plant. This is advisable for potted bromeliad because they have limited space and we don’t want them crowding in a single container. Those pups can then be used for propagation.

Bromeliad Pests & Diseases Care

Occasionally bromeliads can attract mealybug, scale and red spider mites. The first two are slow-moving insects that feed on sap and often the first symptom you’ll spot is stickiness on the leaves or nearby surfaces. As the insects feed, they release sugary sap, which becomes sticky and can attract black sooty mould. The best way to control these pests is to wipe them off manually with a damp cloth.
Tiny red spider mites are so small that they’re difficult to see. Look out for fine webbing between the leaves and yellow mottling on the surfaces. Mites are hard to control and few insecticides will work, but as they dislike a humid atmosphere, it’s worth spraying your plants with water and standing them on a tray filled with damp gravel to increase humidity. You can also try organic sprays containing plant oils.
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Bromeliads Varieties

Aechmea primera

has a silver rosette that contrasts with its sugar-pink bract.

Aechmea ‘Blue Rain’

has neon pink and blue flowers and bright green, strap-like foliage.

Tillandsia cyanea ‘Pink Quill’

has a pretty, flat bract of pale pink and violet flowers in spring or autumn.

Vriesea ‘Davine’

has an eye-catching scarlet and yellow swordlike spike.

Guzmania ‘Fiero Orange’

has a striking bract that is a bright orange-red.
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Bromeliads Care FAQ

Is it toxic to cats and dogs?

Pet parents can rest easy. Unlike the fan-favorite fiddle leaf fig, bromeliads are thankfully considered to be non-toxic to both cats and dogs. So you can fulfill your dreams of living in a tropical paradise without bringing anything hazardous into your home.

Why is my bromeliad plant browning?

Brown leaves can indicate a lot of underlying issues. One of which is too much exposure to light. Prolonged exposure to strong light intensities can lead to scorching. Oftentimes, the browning is situated on the leaf tips and is coupled with spots and bleaching appearance.

When will my bromeliad plant flower?

Bromeliad plant will start to bloom once it reaches maturity stage. If you’ve started with a pup, you'll have to wait a year or two to see flowers coming out. However, it depends on the prevailing conditions around the plant.
Favorable conditions can lead the bromeliad to flower. If a mature bromeliad isn’t blooming, there's probably a lack in light.