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Tropical and sun-kissed climates are evoked in the home with the addition of bromeliad plants.
Bromeliads are easy-to-care-for houseplants that add texture and colour to any room.
For a low-maintenance, long-lasting bromeliad plant, learn how to properly care for it.
The bromeliad’s unusual appearance suggests that it requires a lot of time and effort to care for. The plant’s thick, rosette-forming foliage is highly sought after.
A bromeliad plant’s inflorescence, or flower, can take on a wide range of shapes and colours as it nears the end of its life.
Sword-shaped or scoop-shaped leaves surround a central “cup” as they spread outward. This cup collects water in the plant’s environment.
Many bromeliads are epiphytic, meaning they attach themselves to trees or other structures.
Not parasitic, they simply perch on the structures and collect sunlight and moisture from them.
How to Grow Bromeliads
These plants can be found at most garden centres and nurseries. As indoor specimens, the plants require moderate to bright light.
Bromeliads don’t require deep pots or thick potting soils, as many new gardeners discover when learning how to grow them.
Orchid mix, a mixture of bark and sphagnum moss, and another organic amendment can help them grow better in shallow pots.
How to Care for a Bromeliad Plant
When it comes to caring for your bromeliad plant, you don’t need any special tools or fertilisers.
Every month during the growing season, apply a half-strength fertiliser to the plants.
Filled leaves can easily be used to satisfy hydration requirements. Stamina-inducing debris and dead insects are drawn into the cup by stagnant water, so the pot should be emptied weekly.
Put the pot in a saucer of gravel with some water in it to help raise the humidity level and create a humid environment. Don’t let the roots get too wet; this could lead to decay.
In some cases, bromeliads thrive as “air plants,” which are attached to trees, moss, and other non-soil organic materials.
There are many examples of Tillandsia plants growing on coconut shells that have no soil around them.
The leaves of these plants provide all of the nutrients and water they need, but they still need a little help from you in the indoor environment.
Bromeliad Life Cycle: Growing a Bromeliad Pup
If your bromeliad plant dies within a year or two, don’t label yourself a bad gardener. Once they have finished flowering, these epiphytes are usually gone for good.
Even though interior bromeliad plants eventually fail and stop growing, they produce offsets or pups that can be removed and started as new plants.
Keep an eye out for pups at the plant’s base, and care for them until they are large enough to break away from the parent plant’s support system.
Sphagnum moss or any other well-draining medium can be used to remove them from the parent plant.
A sad goodbye to the original bromeliad, but you’ll be left with a little carbon copy you can care for until it reaches full maturity when the cycle starts all over.
The same care is needed for these baby bromeliads as the parent plant.
Maintaining a water supply for the pup’s cup will ensure the new plant receives adequate moisture.
It is possible to cultivate bromeliads for a long time if you harvest the pups.
Bromeliads can be grown from shoots rather than seeds, which is a more common and easier method of propagating plants.
Bromeliads reproduce by sending up offsets, which are also known as pups or offspring.
A mature plant will produce a flower spike containing small, often insignificant, flowers surrounded by showy bracts in a natural growth cycle.
As far as I’m concerned, these plants’ bracts are the most visually appealing. The bracts can last for months at a time.
In the months that follow the flower’s demise, the plant itself begins to succumb to death.
However, at the base of the parent plant, one or smaller pups will emerge.
Using a sterile, sharp knife, carefully cut off the pups when they reach about one-third the size of the parent plant. Then, carefully pot each pup in its own container.
There are usually some roots in the pups when they are born, but if not, they will begin to grow roots as soon as they are re-potted.
Although mealybugs, aphids, and scale can occasionally attack bromeliads, they are generally free of serious pests.
1 Spraying the plant with water and a few drops of dish soap will get rid of mealybugs and aphids. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove scale bugs.
How to Get Bromeliads to Bloom
Some research has shown that bromeliads can be forced to bloom by exposure to ethylene gas.
You can do this by placing your plant in a clear plastic bag and adding a ripe apple to it for up to ten days.
As the apple decomposes, it will emit ethylene gas. First, make sure there is no water in the central cup of the bromeliad.
Common Problems With Bromeliads
Despite their easygoing nature, bromeliads can have some cultural issues. Be on the lookout for the following issues:
Bromeliads can get rot if you water them too much and don’t fill the central “cup” formed by the leaves when watering. They’re a type of plant that thrives in arid conditions.
Bromeliads should always be planted in containers with drainage holes so that the roots don’t become submerged in water.
When watering, avoid using a metal container. Bromeliads have high metal sensitivity. Also, stay away from pots made of metal.
Mineral-rich water can leave water stains at the plant’s base and in the centre cup. Watering with demineralized water is preferable. 3
Because their roots are small, bromeliads should be planted in containers with good drainage so that they don’t become swamped.
Rot can occur if they are placed in a pot that is too large and lacks adequate drainage.