Bromeliaceae is a family of monocot flowering plants of 75 genera and around 3,590 known species, commonly known as Bromeliads. Most Bromeliads are native to tropical regions. However, many species come from the understory of tropical rainforests. These native habitats shape how plants perform in various conditions. Bromeliads are often epiphytic and cling to trees or other structures. They are not parasitic but use the structures as perches to gather sun and moisture.
Bromeliads were considered advanced or expert houseplants for a long time, more fit for a greenhouse than a typical home. However, they are finally beginning to attract the attention they deserve. The truth is that these plants can be easily adapted to normal home conditions.
This is good news for the houseplant enthusiast because Bromeliads are available in an astonishing array of colors and textures. Even discounting their showy flower displays, they are beautiful foliage plants with strappy leaves in red, green, purple, orange, yellow, banded, stripes, spots, or other combinations.
Growing Conditions and General Care
These plants are widely available at nurseries and garden centers. They need medium to bright light as indoor specimens.
Bromeliad care is easy and requires no special tools or fertilizers. Feed the plants with a half-strength fertilizer every month in the growing season.
Water needs are easily achieved by filling the cup at the base of the leaves. The water that collects in the pot should be emptied weekly to remove debris and the dead insects the stagnant water tends to lure into the cup.
Set the pot in a saucer of gravel filled partially with water to increase humidity and help provide a moist atmosphere. Ensure the roots are not submerged in the water, which might invite rot.
Some Bromeliads grow well as Air Plants, glued or nested onto logs, moss, or other non-soil organic items. These plants collect all the food and moisture they need with their leaves but need your help in the indoor setting.
Bromeliad Life Cycle
Do not label yourself a black thumb if your Bromeliad begins to die within a year or two. These epiphytes are not long-lived but generally start to die back after flowering. Although interior Bromeliads will fail after a while and cease growth, they will produce offsets, or pups, that you can remove and start as new plants.
Watch for pups at the base of the plant and nurture them until they are large enough to break away from the parent plant. To remove them, cut them away from the parent and then plant them in well-draining soil.
These baby Bromeliads require the same care as the parent plant. When the pup forms a cup, it is important to keep it filled with water so the new plant receives adequate moisture.
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