The Best Locations to Grow Bromeliads

Author: Melanie Dearringer11 Comments

Care and Culture, Growing Indoors, Growing Outdoors

Most bromeliads are native to tropical regions. A significant number of bromeliad species come from the understory of tropical rain forests. These native habitats shape how the plants perform in various conditions. Knowing what native habitat your bromeliad species is adapted to can help you choose the perfect location to grow the plant, whether indoors or out.

Ideally, bromeliads would be grown in a greenhouse that is kept between 70 and 80 degrees. The greenhouse would have plenty of humidity as well as excellent air circulation. It would provide bright, yet indirect light. While a greenhouse is available to some bromeliad enthusiasts, owning one is not the reality for most bromeliad growers who want to enjoy a plant in their home or office space. Fortunately, many bromeliads will thrive in less than perfect conditions.

Locations in the home

Bathrooms are excellent spaces for many bromeliad species. Bathrooms have naturally higher humidity than the rest of the house or office building. However, one challenge to bathrooms is that there is often very little natural light available. If there are no windows in your bathroom, make sure the plant is exposed to a florescent light that is on all the time or mount a grow light near the plant that will stay on even when the rest of the lights are off. Many Cryptanthus, a terrestrial bromeliad often found on forest floors, will thrive in low light. Several species found in the genera Aechmea and Vriesea will also tolerate low light conditions.

Kitchens also have higher humidity than other spaces in the home. An advantage that kitchens have over bathrooms is that they have more light available. Most bromeliads will thrive on a table or countertop a few feet away from a window. Do not place your bromeliad directly in a south facing window. The leaves are likely to scorch with too much direct sunlight.

There are some bromeliads that will grow well in drier conditions. Species in the Dyckia and Hechtia genera are adapted to bright, arid climates such as the deserts in Texas and Mexico. With these bromeliads you do not have to worry about humidity. However, they will do the best when exposed to plenty of direct sunlight. You can safely place these bromeliads in a south facing window. Be careful with these bromeliads because most species have very sharp spines that surround the leaf margins. Place them out of reach of small children or inquisitive pets.

If you have a bright spot, with plenty of indirect light, but low humidity, you can try raising the humidity a bit just around the plant. Place a waterproof tray filled with small pebbles or river rocks directly beneath the plant. Fill the tray with a few inches of water. Set the plant container on top of the tray, but do not let it sit directly in the water. If it sits in the water it will soak it up into the soil and cause root rot. The water in the tray will evaporate slowly and raise the humidity slightly around the plant. Remember that you will have to refill the tray with water occasionally.

Many bromeliads are epiphytes and can be mounted and hung as well as planted in a container. Tillandsias are especially well known as air plants and can make beautiful mounts. They can even be grown attached to suction cups that can be hung in a window. They are also very pretty in small glass orbs that can be hung from window frames. Most of the species in this genera also like indirect light so do not place them in an especially bright window or they will dry out quickly. Mist these plants regularly because they take in water through scales on their leaves rather than with roots.


Bromeliads can also be grown outdoors. They will thrive all year in tropical climates, but can also be placed outdoors in containers during the summer in more extreme climates.

Bromeliads in containers will do well on shaded patios or under trees with broad canopies that allow dappled light through. If your bromeliad will be in the sun during the day, try to have it in the less intense morning or evening light. Direct hot afternoon sun will scorch the leaves.

Be aware that containers will also dry out faster outdoors. When the potting medium is dry a few inches down, thoroughly soak the pot and allow it to drain well.

As soon as frost threatens, bring your container to a sheltered location. A garage should be warm enough until colder temperatures set in. Then you will need to move the container indoors. Dyckia, Puya and many species of Vriesea are cold hardy down to about 20 degrees. They may experience some damage on their leaves, but they should recover when temperatures warm up.

Bromeliad Texture

Colorful Neoregelias make attractive ground cover.

Bromeliads are also wonderful as landscaping plants in tropical climates. Some of the larger varieties make excellent focal pieces, while smaller, lower growing varieties are attractive ground covers. Species found in the Neoregelia, Aechmea, and Canistropsis genera make great ground covers and thrive in shade, under trees. They will often grow where grass will not. Bromeliads produce pups or offshoots. Overtime these plants will create thick mats of beautiful ground cover.

Dyckia, Hectia, Protea, and Hohenbergia are all genera that have some species that will tolerate full sun. If you have very little shade available in your yard, use a species that will not scorch when exposed to bright, direct light. These varieties can be used in unprotected south facing locations.

Warning Signs

Many bromeliads will survive in a broad range of light conditions from low light to full sun. Even though bromeliads will continue to live and grow they will not look their best unless they are given the light that they are adapted to in their natural environments. Bromeliads can have incredible variegation and color. These characteristics will diminish if given too much or too little light.

If a bromeliad receives too much light, it will become bleached out. Any coloring will become light green. If there is not enough light, the bromeliad will become a dark green color and any variegation will become less pronounced.

Bromeliad foliage will also become thin and leggy when it is not getting enough light. Brown dry spots on the leaves or tips of the leaves indicate that the bromeliad is being scorched by too much bright, direct light.

When your bromeliad experiences any of these problems choose a new location for your plant. The plant should recover and show off its beautiful characteristics once it is exposed to the right amount of light.

Tips To Keep In Mind

When choosing the perfect spot for you new bromeliad plant or when designing your landscape that includes bromeliads keep these key factors in mind.

  • Most bromeliads thrive in bright, indirect sunlight or dappled shade.
  • Many bromeliads will scorch when exposed for long periods of time to direct sunlight.
  • Most bromeliads require more humidity than is typical in a climate controlled environment.
  • Many bromeliads can be mounted and hung as an alternative to growing in a container.

Bromeliads are easy to care for when given the proper growing environments. They do not require much water, fertilizer or other maintenance. Knowing what type of environment your variety of bromeliad prefers will help you find the best location for your plant. Where is your favorite spot to display your bromeliads?



“Best Bromeliads for Indoors—Growing Bromeliads Indoors.” Houseplants.

Jenkins, Dale. “Cold Sensitivity of Bromeliads.” Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies.

“Bromeliads, Tropical Plants.” Florida Landscaping Today.



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11 Responses to “The Best Locations to Grow Bromeliads”

  1. Abel Badenhorst says:

    I live in Fountain hills, arizona, and would like to start a bromeliad garden. high temps in summer – up to 112 F. direct sunlight most of day. Comments/advise? thank you.

    1. Melanie Dearringer says:

      I would take a look at the Portea and Alcantarea genera. They will generally do well in desert-like climates. If you are able to provide some shade and additional water, you may get away with Neoregelia and Billgergias. Good luck!

  2. JUDY says:

    Can I separate my plant?

    1. Celeste Booth says:

      You can separate the pups (baby bromeliads) that grow off your mother plant, if that is what you mean. You shouldn’t split apart the actual plant itself.

  3. piet Oosthuizen says:

    will aechmea fasciata grow without a pot tied to a tree branch?

  4. Piper says:

    I live in Australia where it can get up to 90 degree Fahrenheit. If I put a shade sale up and plant them outside will they grow? Thanks.

  5. Magda Smit says:

    Hi I live in the Western Cape on the West Coast. My house is near the beach. Can I put my plants outside in the sun and on the North side of the house they will get some salty air from the ocean. At the moment I have all of them under my deck still in pots. They are flowering now and I would like to have them out to admire the beautiful colours but I am to scared to put the out.

  6. Lizelle Venter says:

    I live in Botswana and have Aechmea and Vrieseas as house plants, but both of them doesnt want to bloom. The flowers are out, but the blooms seem to dry out. What can be the cause?

  7. dianne says:

    I am wondering if I can grow bromeliads in marton nz the Temp varies from up to 30 in the summer to maybe 2 or 3 in the winter and we get frosts

  8. Denise Jenkins says:

    Will deer eat the colorful blooms. Afraid to put them out & have them eaten?Help!

    1. Celeste Booth says:

      If they are hungry enough they might, but in general bromeliads aren’t a deer’s first food choice 😉

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