Caring for Bromeliad Plants


Care for bromeliads does not require a great deal of effort, time or materials. Follow the basic guidelines of plant care to produce a large plant, unique in shape with varied colors, including green, gray, maroon and even spotted or striped. Bromeliads grow in the deserts of the southwestern United States and in tropical rain forests as terrestrial and epiphyte. Bromeliads are low-maintenance indoor houseplants and adapt well to a planter pot by absorbing water through roots instead of leaves. The plants produce small colorful flowers with brilliantly colored bracts positioned below them, under which contrasting colored fruit matures.

Step 1

Select a 5-inch or 7-inch clay pot for most large bromeliad plants, whether terrestrial or epiphytic. Clay pots are heavier and provide more stability than plastic pots. Either plastic pots or clay pots may be used for small and medium plants. Clay pots are porous and may require more watering than plastic pots.

Step 2

Mix a light, well-draining soil medium by combining one part peat, one part bark and one part coarse sand or perlite to pot the bromeliad indoors. Move terrestrial bromeliads up to the next larger pot when roots completely fill the pot. Move epiphytic plants up to the next larger pot every spring until the bromeliad has attained maximum root growth.

Step 3

Mix slow-release, liquid houseplant fertilizer, at one-third to one-half the strength indicated in the directions on the label, with an additional container of the same potting mixture used for the bromeliad. Sprinkle the soil-and-fertilizer mixture on the surface of the soil surrounding the plant once every six weeks.

Step 4

Place the bromeliad plant in a window with a southern, eastern or western exposure, out of direct sunlight, which is harmful to the plant. Bromeliad plants that have hard, thick, gray or gray-green fuzzy foliage do best under bright indirect sunlight, while those with soft, green or thin leaves thrive in lower light levels. A yellowish or pale green plant indicates too much light, while a deeper green color indicates insufficient light.

Step 5

Maintain a room temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Step 6

Set the planter pot on a 3-inch-deep drain tray filled with clean wet gravel. The water will humidify the plant as it evaporates. Bromeliads need a humidity of 40 percent to 60 percent, more than most homes provide, especially when the heating system is in operation.

Step 7

Provide adequate air circulation to the bromeliad by positioning a fan at the lowest setting and facing the plant. Air circulation provides carbon dioxide and moisture and prevents the infestation of scale insects and fungal organisms.

Step 8

Water the planter pots until water runs out of the bottom drain hole and do not provide more water until the surface of the soil is dry to the touch. Water the bromeliad once weekly unless the environment is very dry, which requires checking the soil more often to determine if it is dry and ready for water.

Step 9

Treat extensive fungal infestations, identifiable by dark spots on many of the leaves, with a fungicide recommended by the county extension agent in your area.

Tips and Warnings

  • Temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below and over-watering can cause the crowns of bromeliads to rot. Roots that are continuously wet will rot and the plant will die.

Things You'll Need

  • Clay pot: 5-inch or 7-inch
  • Soil media: peat, bark, course sand or perlite
  • Drain tray, 3-inch deep
  • Clean gravel
  • Fan
  • Fertilizer, liquid, slow release
  • Fungicide


  • University of Florida Extension: Bromeliads
  • University of Florida Extension: Aechmea Distichantha Bromeliads
Keywords: caring for bromeliads, bromeliad plant care, bromeliad houseplant care

About this Author

Freelance writing since 2009, Tom Ross has 30 years of corporate management and hands-on experience in the supermarket industry. Ross was featured on the cover of "Instore Buyer" magazine and his articles have appeared on eHow.

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