Bromeliads provide color and a decorative air to any interior space. Originally from the tropics of South America, Central America and Africa, these plants are easy to care for. The most common variety of bromeliads, the flowering guzmania (Guzmania spp.), last for two to three years! Homestead Gardens carries many varieties of bromeliad, including the following:
- Cynea/Pink Quill
- Tillandsia/Air Plant
Maintenance & Care
Bromeliads are tropical plants that don’t need much water. Water when the potting soil is dry to the touch. Soak the root system, but don’t drown it. If the water puddles on the top of the container, you’ve watered too much. This can cause root rot and kill the plant. If it’s drier or hotter than normal, water more often. Air bromeliads — those who have exposed root systems and don’t need soil to grow — need to be misted about once a week, more often when it is drier or hotter than normal.
Fertilizer and Pesticide
Use one-fourth or one-half the strength called for by the manufacturer’s directions. Bromeliads are almost pest-proof, so you’re unlikely to need insecticides. Scale insects and mealybugs are the most common pests and are easily wiped off with a rag soaked with rubbing alcohol or dishwashing soap. If you do use an insecticide, make sure it is not oil-based because it will clog the pores of the plant and kill it.
Flowering and Death
Fortunately, bromeliads die in a quite lovely manner. Flowering is the end of the life cycle of a bromeliad, but that flower can last up to a year during the dying process. When they start to die, they develop offshoots, called pups. These pups continue grow as the parent plant dies, giving you a host of new plants to break off and plant independently when the pup is about half the size of the parent.