How to Care for a Bromeliad
Author: Melanie Dearringer8 Comments
Bromeliads make excellent houseplants due to their vivid colors, unique features, and hardiness.
Perhaps you picked one up for yourself or received one as a gift. Either way, it is important to know how to care for these fascinating plants so they may provide enjoyment for years to come.
Bromeliads are quite a diverse family of plants. They range in size from small air plants to large terrestrial plants. Their foliage can be thick and fleshy or needle thin with sharp spikes. A bromeliad plant can be proportionally displayed or beautifully asymmetrical.
BASIC BROMELIAD CARE INFO
- Soil – Unlike other plants, most bromeliads take in nutrients and water through their leaves and/or central tank instead of their root systems. Because of their natural habitat, bromeliad roots are used to sudden bouts of intense rain followed by a drying out period. Therefore, light and airy, fast draining potting soil is required. For more information on soil basic soil requirements for bromeliads, check out our Bromeliad Basics Series on Potting Medium.
- Lighting – Light requirements vary depending on the type of bromeliad you are caring for. As a general rule of thumb, if your bromeliad features soft, flexible, spineless leaves, they will most likely enjoy lower light levels. Bromeliads with stiff, hard leaves will prefer bright, indirect light. For more information on basic soil requirements for bromeliads, check out our Bromeliad Basics Series on Lighting.
- Temperature – Bromeliads are fairly tolerant of a wide variation of temperatures. Most bromeliads prefer temperatures between 60°F (15.5°C) and 80°F (26.7°C) but can survive in climates outside this range. For more information on temperature requirements for bromeliads, check out our Bromeliad Basics Series on Temperature.
- Water – A bromeliad is more likely to die from over-watering than under-watering. While their roots enjoy a moist environment, they can’t remain soggy. Too much water can cause your bromeliad plant to develop root or crown rot. It is usually sufficient to water your bromeliad once per week. For more information on watering requirements for bromeliads, check out our Bromeliad Basics Series on Watering.
- Fertilizer – Most bromeliads do not require fertilization to thrive. There are some varieties, however, that can benefit from regular, light feedings. Bromeliads actively grow in the summer months and can be fertilized at this time if you choose to do so. For more information on fertilizer requirements for bromeliads, check out our Bromeliad Basics Series on Fertilizer.
- Repotting – A bromeliad’s root system is quite small and most will be happiest when kept in small pots. For reference, young bromeliad plants can be safely potted in a 4″ container. If you feel that your bromeliad is outgrowing its planter, it is best to repot the plant in the spring time. For more information on repotting bromeliads, check out our Bromeliad Basics Series on Repotting.
- Propagation – A bromeliad plant will produce pups. Pups are clones of the mother plant on which they are grown. Most pups will emerge once the mother plant has bloomed and begun to die. For more information on bromeliad propagation, check out our free Beginner’s Guide to Bromeliad Pups.
DETAILED CARE INFO
While the above information applies to most bromeliads, each genus does have slightly different care requirements. With over 3,100 different species of bromeliads, it can be difficult to get accurate information on how to care for your specific type of bromeliad. If you are looking for more detailed bromeliad care requirements, you will first want to figure out what type of bromeliad you are caring for. If your bromeliad plant didn’t come with identifying tags, you can access our easy to use Bromeliad Identification Flow Chart. Once you have identified your bromeliad, check out our genus specific Quick Care Guides below.
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