How to Care for Bromeliad Plants

Overview

The popularity of bromeliads, both as houseplants and in frost-free landscapes, can be attributed to the variety of colorful foliage and blooms, as well as the plant's easy care. There are more than 2,800 species of bromeliads, with plants growing either as epiphytic bromeliads or terrestrial bromeliads. Terrestrial bromeliads grow in pots, while epiphytic bromeliads are grown mounted to wood. Regardless of the type, there are conditions your bromeliad needs in order to thrive.

Step 1

Place your bromeliad plant where it will receive strong, indirect light. Bromeliads do not tolerate direct sunlight; they prefer indirect light. The thicker, harder the leaves are on your bromeliad, the more intense indirect light it can grow in.

Step 2

Grow your bromeliad plant in very loose, porous soil. Regular potting soil is not an appropriate potting medium for a bromeliad because it will retain too much moisture and rot the plant. Use equal amounts of peat moss, orchid bark and coarse sand or perlite as the potting soil.

Step 3

Water your bromeliad with distilled water once a week. Either fill the "cup," created by the leaves, with water, or thoroughly water the potting medium until water runs out of the drain hole in the bottom of the pot. Do not allow your bromeliad to set in the standing water; drain it out of the catch pan. Wait until the surface of the soil is dry before watering again. Overwatering bromeliads will rot and kill the plant.

Step 4

Use a mister filled with water to add humidity to your bromeliad's environment. Bromeliad plants are native to subtropical and tropical areas and do best when the humidity level is between 40 and 60 percent, with temperatures between 70 and 75 F. Misting the leaves of your bromeliad two or more times a week during periods of lower humidity will keep it happy. You can also place the pot your bromeliad plant is in on 2 to 3 inches of wet gravel to increase the humidity level around the plant.

Step 5

Fertilize your bromeliad sparingly. Bromeliads do not require much additional feeding. Use an acidic, water-soluble fertilizer, like orchid fertilizer, but at one-half to one-third the strength, every one to two months during the summer months. Apply the fertilizer to the soil, avoiding the leaves and "cup" to minimize salt from the fertilizer building up on the bromeliad.

Step 6

Open a nearby window, or use an electric fan set on low speed, to create air circulation around your bromeliad plant. Bromeliads grow better and are less prone to insect attacks, such as scale, if you provide good air circulation around the leaves of the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Mister
  • Peat moss
  • Orchid bark
  • Perlite or coarse sand
  • Fertilizer (acidic, water-soluble)
  • Electric fan (optional)

References

  • Bromeliads Plant Care Info: Bromeliads Plant and Flower Information
  • Bromes: Care of Your New Bromeliad
  • Plant Care: Bromeliads – Reblooming
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Bromeliads

Who Can Help

  • Smithsonian Institution: Bromeliad Fact Sheet
Keywords: growing bromeliads, care of bromeliads, grow a bromeliad

About this Author

At home in rural California, Kate Carpenter has been writing articles and web content for several well known marketeers since 2007. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas and A Master of Education equivalent from the University of Northern Colorado, Carpenter brings a wealth of diverse experience to her writing.