Bromeliad Basics: Watering

Author: Melanie Dearringer7 Comments

Care and Culture

In this article you’ll find helpful information on the general water requirements for a bromeliad plant.


Your bromeliad is more likely to suffer from over-watering than under-watering. While their roots prefer to be moist, they can never be allowed to remain soggy. Water that does not drain properly through your potting medium can cause your plant to develop root or crown rot. It is often times sufficient to water your bromeliad once a week.

Bromeliad tank

-Bromeliad tank

In the wild, most bromeliads gather water in their central tanks, or reservoirs. Only a small amount of moisture from natural rainfall is absorbed by the leaves and roots. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure that you keep your bromeliad’s tank filled with water. It is important to flush the tank regularly as stagnant water housed in this area can also lead to damaging rot.

Tillandsia loliacea

-Tillandsia loliacea

Some bromeliads, like Tillandsia, are not grown in potting medium. These air plants should be misted several times each week. You can also submerge the plant in water for a few minutes to allow it to re-hydrate. Tillandsias are hard to over-water as they aren’t capable of absorbing more water than they need to survive. If you do use the “dunk method” to water your air plants, you will want to be sure to remove all excess water between the leaves to avoid rot.

It is best to water your bromeliad with rainwater or distilled water. The chemicals that are present in some tap water can be damaging to these sensitive plants. Slow growth or browning of leaf tips are often signs of hard water usage.


For even more information on bromeliad basic care, check out these great articles:
Bromeliad Basics: An Introduction
Bromeliad Basics: Temperature
Bromeliad Basics: Fertilizer
Bromeliad Basics: Lighting
Bromeliad Basics: Potting Medium
Bromeliad Basics: Repotting
Bromeliad Basics: Propagation

Bullis Bromeliads
Photo credit: Maia C via
Tillandsia loliacea photo credit: James Ho via

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7 Responses to “Bromeliad Basics: Watering”

  1. Saeng says:

    hi, i was wondering if using dechlorinated water is ok for plants? (by dechlorinated water, i mean the tap water that i treat with a dechlorinator such as the ones for fish…but not the dechlorinator type that “promotes” gill slime coating) Thanks!

  2. Andy says:

    It’s been a while since this question was posted but if you leave normal tap water out in a container for a few days (or use a fish tank pump and arstone in it for about a day) all the chlorine will evaporate anyway so no need to dechlorinate if you don’t mind the wait. I don’t know what affect treating the water will have on the plants.

    But don’t forget, removing the chlorine will not remove any dissolved salts which can be harmful to the plant so its best to use rain or distilled water unless you know for sure your water is soft (low dissolved salts content).

  3. DEBBIE says:

    Can a plant recover from rot caused by hard water?

  4. Melanie Dearringer says:

    Rot is caused by over-watering regardless the type of water that is used. Root rot is easier to treat than crown rot as many times crown rot symptoms present themselves when the plant is too far rotted. You can try a fungicide and see if that helps. Make sure you repot to eliminate tainted potting medium. Good luck!

  5. Gabrielle Bohannah says:

    I noticed the other day in the tank of my Bromeliad there are several larvae. Not sure what type. How do I get rid of them. I’ve read so many articles and no one can really share what to do. Thank you for your assistance.

  6. shari says:

    I am told to water the the bromeliad through the flowers not on the soil

    1. Celeste Booth says:

      Many bromeliads have a central tank that you can water directly into. This helps them store water.

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