The Best Bromeliads for Full Sun
Author: Melanie Dearringer7 Comments
Do you have a south facing window? Maybe you have a porch that is exposed to full sun in the afternoons? Here are the best bromeliads for these sunny locations.
Most bromeliads grow under the cover of a tree canopy. Therefore, they are not adapted to being exposed to direct sunlight. Many bromeliads will scorch and lose their color in direct sun. There are, however, bromeliads that enjoy bright, direct light and will thrive in full sun. Whether it is an exposed space in an outdoor landscape or a sunny kitchen window, here are some bromeliads that will flourish in those environments.
Acanthostachys strobilacea is a small plant that has skinny, floppy leaves. It bears small flowers that are red and yellow. The form of these little flowers resembles a pineapple. This plant can be grown as an epiphyte or planted terrestrially. The strobilacea is cold hardy, meaning it can handle a few dips into the twenties.
Neoregelia ‘Apricot Beauty’ is one of many brightly colored Neoregelias that enjoy full sun. This plant boasts broad, leathery, apricot colored leaves. It is described by Bromeliads Online as “tough” and can handle a few frosts. Neoregelias make excellent ground cover landscape plants. If you live in a temperate climate and have a sunny space, this plant will be a perfect colorful addition.
Neoregelia ‘Fireball’ is a popular Neoregelia cultivar. It has small bright red leaves that increase in intensity with more sun exposure. It is a little plant that bears offshoots on stolons. This makes it an ideal plant for hanging containers.
Quesnelia lateralis is known for its stunning flower. The flower itself is bright blue and is displayed against a hot pink flower spike. This Quesnelia produces its flower during the winter. The rosette is an upright tube shape and the leaves are lined with small spikes. Bright light will bring out silver banding on the underside of the leaf.
Tillandsia ionatha is a popular air plant. This plant cannot be grown in potting medium and should be mounted on a substrate such as driftwood or cork. The plant blushes bright red when flowering and the purple flowers can last up to six weeks. The Tillandsia ionatha is only a few inches tall and wide, but it can form large clumps very quickly.
Aechmea orlandiana is a unique bromeliad. It boasts wildly variegated leaves. The light green leaves are marked with black and maroon stripes. The leaves form an upright vase shaped rosette. This is a large plant with thick, broad leaves that are edged with sharp spines. It produces a yellow flower on red inflorescence that eventually matures to produce purple berries. The variegation becomes more pronounced when the plant is exposed to full sun.
Aechmea ‘Black Chantinii’ has dark black foliage primarily on the undersides of the leaves. It also has silver horizontal banding. The upright nature of the rosette shows off the attractive undersides of the leaves. The plant produces large, bright orange inflorescence with yellow flowers. This big, eye catching plant is ideal for sunny outdoor landscapes, but will also survive when grown indoors.
Alcantarea imperialis is a giant bromeliad. It has very broad, long, thick leaves that can reach up to four feet tall. The plant produces a burgundy, many branched flower scape that can rocket up to eight feet. The leaves are a deep green on top and burgundy on the bottom, blushing more burgundy throughout the center of the plant when flowering. The sheer size of this plant requires it to be planted outdoors.
Ananas cosomus is a variety of bromeliad that produces a pineapple. It is a medium size plant that has narrow dark green leaves with silvery undersides. The plant can blush pink when exposed to a lot of bright light. The fruit is produced on a stalk in the middle of the plant and will take several months to fully ripen. This pineapple plant can grow indoors or outdoors.
Neoregelia ‘Bossa Nova’ is a beautiful bright green Neoregelia with crisp white variegated margins. When the plant is flowering it will become bright red in the center. This cultivar can grow up to a foot tall and stretch out to two feet. These crisp, elegant plants pup generously and are ideal to fill out landscapes.
Vriesea corcovadensis produces a striking, long, red, branched flower spike that boasts small cream colored flowers. This is a small Vriesea that has dense, narrow green leaves with some red variegation towards the base of the plant. This plant generates pups on long stolons and should be treated as an epiphyte. It would make a good climber or would work well in a hanging basket.
Hohenbergia castellanosii has very broad, long, thick leaves. The lime green leaves become red at the tips. Eventually, the entire leaf will blush red as the plant comes into bloom. It produces an upright flower stalk that has green flowers all the way up the stalk.
Hechtias and Dyckias are two genera of bromeliads in which most species are tolerant of full sunshine. They are adapted to rocky, arid climates where they are exposed to hot sunshine and cold nights. These plants usually have stiff leaves with very sharp spines. They can often be treated as succulents. The plants come in a variety of colors including red, maroon, green, brown and black.
SIGNS TO WATCH FOR
Many bromeliads will adapt well to a variety of light levels. However, you may not get the best color or the healthiest bromeliad if it is located in the wrong setting. Bromeliads that are not adapted to full sun will scorch. Brown spots on the leaves or the crispy and brown tips on the leaves will indicate that your bromeliad is getting too much light. Also, if you notice your bromeliad is losing its brilliant color and bleaching into a light green or even almost white, it is being exposed to too much direct sunlight. When your bromeliad is losing its variegation and becoming a plain dark green it is not getting enough light. Typically bromeliads that produce bright colors are encouraged by bright sunshine.
You can, however, acclimate your bromeliads to brighter levels of light. Slowly increase the amount of exposure to direct light each day. Try to provide some shade during the most intense hours of the afternoon. This process can take several weeks before your bromeliads are ready to endure direct light full time if they have been primarily raised in a lower light level. Watch you bromeliads closely because some may not adjust well to the change.
Keep in mind that bromeliads that are exposed to direct light for long periods of time will dry out faster than other plants. Many bromeliads prefer to remain on the dry side, but keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get too dry for too long. Soak the potting medium thoroughly and allow the water to drain out. Don’t water again until the potting medium is dry several inches down. Many bromeliads that are planted in outdoor landscapes will not require watering beyond the typical rainfall.
Variegation and bright colors will shine when you grow the right bromeliads in direct sunlight. If you have the perfect sunny spot, find the best bromeliad for your space.
What are your favorite sunshine loving bromeliads?
“Full Sun Varieties” Bullis Bromeliads.
“Bromeliads for Full Sun Areas” Bromeliads Online.
“Tropiflora’s recommendations for full sun bromeliads” Tropiflora.
Hechtia Care Cheat Sheet
Learn how to care for your Hechtia bromeliad with this quick and easy informational guide.Learn More
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