Bromeliads are one of the most popular and easy-to-care-for houseplants. With more than 2,000 varieties and counting, these tropical plants come in a huge variety of shapes, colors and sizes — any of them sure to make a unique addition to your home.
LIGHT: Make sure bromeliads have a space with no direct exposure from sunlight, as this will help prevent leaf burn. Different varieties have certain light needs, but, in general, they like bright indirect, or filtered light.
HUMIDITY: Because they are native to tropical climates, bromeliads prefer environments with high humidity. You can increase humidity levels by using a humidifier or a pebble tray occasionally. The room should have good air circulation.
WATERING: Bromeliads are drought-resistant, so they prefer moderately dry soil over soggy soil. Because they are epiphytes, meaning they usually grow on tree trunks or other plants in the wild, water you bromeliads down the center shoot or throat. This mimics rain falling through the tree canopy. You can water the soil around the plant as well, but most of the water should go down the center of the plant. Water again when the water is nearly gone from the center.
PROPAGATION: Bromeliads are easily propagated from pups that come up at the base of the plant. Use a sharp, sterilized knife or scissors to remove your pup, cutting as close to the mother plant as possible without injuring it. Then, dip the cut ends in rooting hormone before potting it independently and water the cutting in. You can use wood sticks or stakes to hold the plant up until it produces a root system that is able to withstand its own weight.
- These require little fertilizing. They only need an occasional feeding with a water soluble fertilizer diluted to 1⁄4 or 1⁄8 its recommended concentration, or use a gentle fertilizer like fish emulsion or Superthrive.
- Bromeliads need a soil that drains well, but also holds some moisture between watering. Epiphytic bromeliads can be grown in containers or mounted to boards or logs.
- Most bromeliads flower once then die. The flowers are long-lasting, however, and the dying mother plant will usually push up several new pups to continue its life cycle.
- Hard water can leave deposits both on the leaves near the base of the plant and in its central tank. These deposits can damage the leaves and make them more susceptible to disease.