Novice gardeners looking for a tropical foliaged, hardy, low-maintenance plant to grow in a hanging basket should try bromeliads. Bromeliads belong to the family of Bromeliaceae, with approximately 2400 species that are native to the tropical regions of the Americas. In fact, the pineapple is a species of bromeliad. Bromeliads come in all shapes, sizes, colors, with thorny spines and without. Because their root systems are small, they make ideal plants for a hanging basket. Bromeliads blooms are just as varied, with some tall and spectacular and other barely noticeable.
Select a hanging basket that is large enough to house the particular sized bromeliad you are planting. An average sized bromeliad with six- to eight-inch-long leaves will grow best in a hanging basket that is approximately 30 inches in diameter. Be sure to select a hanging basket that has drain holes in the bottom portion.
Remove the hangers from the hanging basket, if possible. It will make situating the bromeliad in the basket easier and you will not tear their leaves.
Fill the hanging basket 2/3 full of a light potting medium such as an orchid mix. Orchid mix drains quickly and allows the bromeliads' root system to receive required air circulation.
Situate the bromeliad into the center of the hanging basket. Fill the remainder of the hanging basket with orchid mix, holding the plant upright with one hand if it tries to fall over. Pack the orchid mix down around the base of the plant's roots until the bromeliad can stand upright on its own. Replace the basket’s hangers.
Water the bromeliad well, being sure to allow the water to run over the leaves and inside its central cup. The central cup, or rosette of the bromeliad, is where it takes in water and nutrients, not through its roots. Water the bromeliad once every week to two weeks.
Things You Will Need
- Hanging basket
- Orchid mix
- Consider the color of the bromeliad's leaves when deciding where to hang it. Place bromeliads with thick, gray to grayish green leaves in a higher light area. They will tolerate partial sun placed outdoors, or the light from a sunny door or window if placed inside. Varieties with thin, almost flexible green leaves should grow in lower light conditions.
- Fertilize bromeliads with a 10-10-10 water-soluble fertilizer once every month or two. Pour the fertilizer over the root system and not onto the plant, so it does not pile into the cup or rosette. It can burn newly developing leaves.
- Spray the bromeliad several times a week with water to increase humidity, if grown indoors. Bromeliads are tropical plants that require humidity to perform best.
- Use bromeliad blooms as cut flowers, as they will last up to three weeks.
- Bromeliads are drought-tolerant and will rot and die if watered too much.