How to Care for Tropical Bromeliad Plants


Tropical bromeliad plants, part of the genus Tillandsia, are commonly known as air plants. Air plants grow in the southern United States and Central and South America. The plant grows to maturity and then blooms. After the plant blooms, it never blooms again, but offshoots growing near the base of the plant will grow new mature plants. To care for tropical bromeliad plants, water the leaves. It can take two to three years for the plant to mature and bloom.

Step 1

Place the bromeliad plant in a container with no soil. Add driftwood, rocks or shells, or place the plant in a reptile tank. The plant takes in fertilizer and water through its leaves, not through the roots. The roots are just an anchor for the plant.

Step 2

Place the plant in an area that receives indirect sunlight, in a room with office lighting or on a patio s protected from frost. The east sun can be tolerated for a few hours, but most varieties prefer indirect sun.

Step 3

Water the plants by removing the plant from the container and running water from the faucet over the top and bottom of the leaves. Indoor plants need rinsing two to three times a week, and outdoor plants need water four to five times a week depending on the temperature and amount of rain. If you notice the plant's leaves are curling, soak the plant in water for at least 12 hours and place it back in its container.

Step 4

Fertilize the plant two times a month with bromeliad fertilizer, which is a 17-8-22 mixture of nitrogen, phosphates and potassium. If you don't have the bromeliad fertilizer, use another water-soluble fertilizer at quarter strength.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Container


  • Airplant: Bromeliad Tips
  • Smithsonian Institution: Bromeliad Fact Sheet
Keywords: bromeliad plant, air plant, Tillandsia

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