Beautiful Bromeliads: How To Grow And Care For These Show-Stopping Plants

January 25, 2016

For a unique, exotic pop of living color in your home or business, just add bromeliads! These stunning beauties are surprisingly easy to care for and their flowers last for months. Most bromeliads boast colorful inflorescences, which are clusters of flowers arranged on a single stem. These distinctive blooms are eye-catching, providing bright hues and interesting texture to liven up any room.

Bromeliads make great container blooms and add an exciting twist to the typical house plant. When selecting planters keep in mind that these guys like to be slightly under-potted, so keep to a snug fit as they actually thrive when somewhat root-bound. They do best in plastic, fiberglass or clay pots and must have drainage holes. A single plant can stand alone because the Bromeliad’s appearance is so distinctive.

Besides size and material, consider your planter’s shape and style when choosing a decorative home for your plant. The clean, sharp look of the Hayden planter will nicely showcase a colorful variety like the silver urn plant, which has pink inflorescence with purple flowers. For a bigger, more electrifying display, trying planting several different types of bromeliads in a single larger planter. The Delano round planter bowl could easily house several varieties, allowing you to mix and match for a one-of-a-kind offering. Keep the plants in small plastic pots and place inside the larger decorative planter.

Bear in mind that each species has its own needs and should be treated as such. If a planter is too deep, simply put Styrofoam in the bottom to raise the pots higher.

Caring For Your Bromeliad

Don’t be intimidated by these exotic plants: they are actually quite undemanding. Dyckias are a genus of bromeliads that are fairly fool-proof and great for beginners. Other common examples include Heart of Flame, which boast rose-colored blooms, and Queen’s Tears that feature traces of blue.

While it’s important to follow the care instructions specialized to your variety of bromeliad, a grasp of their basic care will get you started:

  • Light: Light needs can be determined by the appearance of the plant’s leaves: hard leaves—hard light, soft leaves—soft light. Bromeliads can tolerate low light for long periods of time, but look better with proper amounts of light.
  • Temperature: Most are tropical so do best in 70-75 degrees by day and 60-65 by night. Softer leaves need higher temps and harder leaves tolerate more cold. The variation in temperature is actually important and aids in the production of blooms.
  • Humidity: Bromeliads do best in 40-60% humidity, and since most homes don’t provide adequate moisture you can supplement by running a humidifier and misting your plants throughout the day.
  • Medium: The planting medium must drain well, never become soggy and have enough body to keep the plant upright. A porous and neutral or slightly acidic medium is best, such as peat, leaf mold or tree bark, but avoid alkaline substances, such as limestone.
  • Watering: Most issues arise when bromeliads are overwatered, which causes root rot. These tropical plants are actually quite tolerant of low-moisture and can survive periods of drought. Usually watering once a week will suffice, but only water when surface feels dry. In the wild, the “cup” that forms around the central stem catches water, it is not necessary to fill the “cup” with most indoor plants, but if you chose to water this way, be sure to clean it out as it can breed bacteria.

A Beautiful Goodbye

Sadly, bromeliads bloom at the end of their life cycle, but the good news is that it’s a slow fade and some keep their color for over 6 months. The mother plant will produce offshoots called pups, which can be potted and allowed to mature. Pups will grow into a carbon copy of the original, allowing generations of plants to blossom. So even as you say “farewell” to your plant, know that it’s possible to keep its beauty alive for years to come!