Care Instructions for a Bromeliad Plant

Overview

There are over 2,800 different species of bromeliads in the world today. The pineapple is probably the most recognized and the first bromeliad to be widely cultivated, according to the Smithsonian Institution. These plants are tropical to subtropical and are not cold hardy. Many varieties are used as houseplants and interiorscapes in shopping malls and large office buildings. There are two basic types of bromeliad, epiphytic, which attaches to tree branches, and terrestrial, which grows in the ground like other landscape plants. Both types of this interesting plant require minimal care.

Care for Epiphytic Bromeliads

Step 1

Attach the plant to the piece of wood with hot glue or wire. Spread the glue on the side of the plant and a piece of the base, but leave most of the base open so the roots can grow out, according to the Smithsonian's Horticulture Services Division.

Step 2

Water by filling bromeliads that have leaves that form funnels once a week. If the plant is hairy instead of leafy, then spray or soak the plant in rain or distilled water once a week.

Step 3

Add fertilizer to the water diluted to half the recommended amount and fill, spray or soak every other week. Bromeliads are not heavy feeders and do not require much fertilizer.

Step 4

Keep in sunlight according to the directions that came with the plant. Different species have different light tolerances and what may be right for one, will harm another.

Step 5

Mist the plant between waterings if the air is particularly dry. Keep the plant away from heat and air conditioning vents or cold drafts from windows and doors.

Step 6

Run a ceiling or small fan near the plant when it is wet or it is very humid. Allowing the plant to stay wet for long periods of time will promote mold and fungus disease.

Care for Terrestrial Bromeliads

Step 1

Mix equal parts of sphagnum moss, peat moss and perlite to create a planting soil for the plant. Fill a 2- to 4-inch pot for a small plant or a 5- to 6-inch pot for larger ones. These plants don't have large root systems and do not need large pots. Plant the bromeliad in the center of the pot.

Step 2

Water your bromeliad once a week in the center of the plant and in the soil. Amount of water used will depend on the species so consult the directions that came with the plant.

Step 3

Fertilize using only one quarter to one half the normal dose mixed in water and poured on the soil and in the center of the plant. Once a month flush out the center of the plants by rinsing well with fresh water. Follow manufacturer's recommendations as to how often to apply.

Step 4

Keep in the amount of light specific to your type of plant. The true colors of the plant will show when the light conditions are ideal.

Step 5

Mist the plants when the air is very dry. If the plant is subjected to dry heat during the winter placing it on a tray of pebbles and filled with water may be best. Tropical plants like humid environments.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not group plants too closely as they will not be able to get proper air circulation and may develop mold and fungus problems. The Smithsonian warns against using treated wood for your base, as the copper used can kill the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Piece of untreated cedar wood or grape vine
  • Hot glue or wire
  • Rain or distilled water
  • Spray bottle
  • Ceiling or small fan
  • Acidic water soluble fertilizer
  • Perlite
  • Peat moss
  • Sphagnum moss
  • 2- to 6-inch flower pot with drain holes

References

  • Smithsonian Institute: Bromeliad Fact Sheet
  • University of Florida Extension: Bromeliads
  • Clemson University Extension: Bromeliads
Keywords: growing bromeliads, Epiphytic plant care, terrestrial bromeliads

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.