Getting to Know Bromeliad: How to Plant and Care

Bromeliad is one of the most popular types of foliage plants lately. Apart from being beautiful in color and shape, these growers also have health benefits.

Unfortunately, its difficulty in planting and care becomes a myth of this plant. It is not right at all as bromeliads can adapt to various environments.

But why do not the plants you cultivate live well? What is wrong? To find out the reason, you must know the ins and outs of bromeliad plants, as we will discuss below.

Bromeliad Plants at a Glance

Bromeliads are relatively slow-growing plants that take one to three years to mature into flowering plants.
Bromeliad

When people see bromeliad plants, most people think of pineapples. Indeed, both are still in the same family.

Therefore, they have a similar physical appearance, especially in the leaves that form rosettes on very short stems.

Bromeliads are part of the Bromeliaceae family, come from the subtropical and tropical regions of America, especially Brazil and Argentina.

Several types grow in Africa, but now these varieties are everywhere. They include foliage plants with various leaf colors, ranging from orange, yellow, green, red, and others.

Additionally, bromeliads have diverse patterns, ranging from spots, lines, and others that depend on the type.

In taxonomy, experts have recorded about 75 genera and 3590 species.

Uniquely, people also believe that this plant has evolved since 5.5 million years ago to adapt to various environmental influences.

Characteristics

Many bromeliads are short-stemmed epiphytes that live in trees or on cacti, though a number are terrestrial. The flowers have three parts, like lilies but with contrasting sepals and petals, and are often borne in long spikes with distinctive coloured bracts.
Bromeliad Characteristics

In general, bromeliad plants have broad leaves with a sword or spoon-like shape growing around a short stem.

The texture is very diverse with beautiful colors. At first glance, its appearance makes people think that this plant is not easy to grow.

The method of planting is easy because bromeliads are adaptive enough to various environmental conditions.

However, it is a slow-growing type because it takes approximately three years to mature and start blooming.

In general, the following are some characteristics:

  • In one plant, bromeliads generally have 40 leaves with curved tips.
  • This plant belongs to the perennial group because it grows throughout the year at any season.
  • In nature, this plant is an epiphyte that rides on tree trunks. However, bromeliads are not parasites because they produce their food.
  • In addition to epiphytes, this plant is also terrestrial (surviving on soil).
  • Their life pattern is similar to that of orchids but much more tolerant of changes in temperature, weather, and other conditions.
  • This plant absorbs water by the osmosis system and stores it in the leaves.
  • This grower can produce sugar by crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis.
  • Due to its good adaptability, it can survive in both dry and watery environments.
  • Most bromeliad flower towards the end of their life, not long after they develop a complete reproduction system.
  • It blooms only once, but the plant flowers can last up to two months before preparing to die.

Hence, knowledge of the nature of the bromeliad plant becomes very essential if you are going to cultivate this variety.

Popular Bromeliad Varieties to Grow

One of the most well-known bromeliads is the pineapple. Bromeliads typically have bright red, orange, purple, or blue flowers, and can grow in a number of different ways: they can be terrestrial, growing on the ground; saxicolous, growing on rocks; or epiphytic, growing on other plants and trees.
Popular Bromeliad Species

This plant has thousands of species with various shapes and colors. Therefore, bromeliads are so remarkable as decorations.

However, some are recommended if you want to cultivate them:

  1. Earth Star Bromeliad

Cryptanthus bromeliads, more commonly known as earth stars due to rosette-shaped arrangement of the leaves and their low growth habit, are beautiful and incredibly varied plants native to Brazil.
Earth Star Bromeliad

This variety also has the scientific name Cryptanthus spp. As the name suggests, this plant is like a star in shape with a beautiful combination of leaf colors.

Because it is very short, many people use it as a garden edge decoration.

Earth starflower is also a hardy plant but very easy to grow. There is no need to worry because this plant does not contain toxins that harm humans and animals.

  1. Pineapple

The Pineapple plant is part of the Bromeliad family, which mainly thrive in the tropical Americas. This herbaceous perennial has long sword-like leaves growing in a spiral around a central stem.
Pineapple

If you want to grow it for more than just decoration, then pineapple can be an option.

This plant grows well in tropical climates and will give you delicious fruit for direct consumption or cooking ingredients.

However, you must be careful while harvesting.

The unripe part of the fruit can be toxic to living things. In addition, there are plant parts that can also harm pets.

  1. Tufted Air Plant

Guzmania - the tufted airplant - is a genus of over 120 species of flowering plants in the family Bromeliaceae, native to southern Mexico, Central, northern and western South America and the West Indies.
Tufted Air Plant

Also known as Guzmania spp., this plant is notable for its beauty. In addition to the green leaves with strips, you can enjoy charming flowers in the central part.

It can reach two feet in height. The colors are also very diverse and do not require complicated maintenance.

  1. Aechmea

Aechmeas are epiphytes & in nature grow attached to other plants & even rocks. They get the moisture & nutrients they need through their foliage.
Aechmea

This beautiful plant is native to the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America. The flowers are spike-shaped with spear-like leaves.

Thus, the beautiful color will beautify your garden.

Maintenance is easy, but you have to ensure the central cup gets enough water. Although susceptible to bacterial attack, this species is not toxic and safe for humans and animals.

  1. Sapphire Tower Bromeliad

The low growing, ever-silvery-green mound of slender, sharply hooked leaves definitely keep the deer way. Ours bloomed in its second year here at the nursery – many years faster than fellow turquoise (and much taller) bloomer, Puya berteroniana.
Sapphire Tower Bromeliad

This plant has the scientific name Puya alpestris and is very popular among bromeliad lovers. It is originated in Chile but now starting to grow in many countries.

The color is unique because it consists of teal, metallic, to bright orange. This plant has a 4-feet-height and becomes a non-toxic plant for humans and animals.

How to Grow Bromeliads

New gardeners learning how to grow bromeliads will find that the plant doesn’t need deep pots or thick potting soils. They do even better in shallow pots and may grow in low soil mediums such as orchid mix, a blend of bark, sphagnum moss and other organic amendments.
Growing Bromeliads

Before planting a bromeliad plant, you must determine the type and growing way. As we know, it can live attached (epiphytes) or with planting media.

For the epiphytic type, prepare a tree trunk or other object that allows it to propagate.

But if you use a pot, you need the planting media such as soil, bark, moss, sphagnum, and other organic materials.

You can get the seeds of this plant at various gardening shops, obtain young plants, and take good care of them.

When it is mature enough, transfer it to the prepared planting medium.

Bromeliads generally only last for two years and will die shortly after the last flowers fall, but it does not mean their history is over.

Before dying, they will produce offsets or pups. They will grow into new plants. You can cut these parts before the parent grower dies, then transfer them to the planting medium.

The planting media you choose must have good water absorption capabilities so that potential plants do not rot and die.

Treat it in the right environment, and you will get beautiful and fresh bromeliads.

Common Problems and How to Overcome

Too little and the plant dries out, too much and they are prone to stem rot. Stem rot is probably the most common problem with bromeliads. They are also prone to several other fungal issues.
Bromeliads Problems

Growing and caring for bromeliads may not be difficult. However, you will also face various problems, ranging from pests, bad environmental conditions, rotting roots, and so on.

Here’s the explanation:

  • This plant rarely gets a severe pest attack. However, aphids and mealybugs often cause problems.
    If this happens, try spraying a mixture of water and dish soap on the plants.
  • Excessive watering triggers rot in various parts. In addition to ensuring the right amount of water, another tip is to use a container with holes so that water can drain quickly.
  • Bromeliads are very sensitive to metals. Therefore do not use this material as a pot.
  • Mineral content in water can also cause problems for plants. Instead, use the demineralized one when watering.
  • Some plants have difficulty blooming. If there has been no sign of flowering after two years, try spraying ethylene gas.
    Do it regularly but do not overdo it.

Those are some common problems when growing bromeliads and their recommended solutions. Now, you are ready to cultivate it in your garden.

Caring Tips

Bromeliads are unique in that you water the center of the plant instead of the soil. Keep the center of the plant filled with water at all times – up to halfway. Every few weeks, empty any water, rinse, and fill with fresh water. This helps prevent salt and mineral buildup. Only water the soil around once every month.
Caring Bromeliads

Growing any bromeliad variety does require patience. But another important thing is that you must know how to take care of it.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Bromeliad plant will grow well with 60 percent humidity conditions and a temperature of 15-30 degrees Celsius.
  • At the best temperatures (15-30 degrees Celsius), you can water it 2-3 times a week.
  • If there is not enough moisture, you can place wet gravel under the pot or use a special tray for plants.
  • A dehydrated plant will make the leaves turn yellow. Water more until the color returns to normal.
  • For plants in air-conditioned rooms, watering should be more frequent because the temperature tends to be dry.
  • Most of these types of plants cannot resist direct sunlight. Placing them in the shade is the best option to avoid drying out.
  • However, if you place it in a location that is too dark and lacks sunlight, the color of the leaves will be dull and not bright.
  • Although it has terrestrial properties, it is best not to use pure soil media. To avoid getting wet and rotting, mix with husks, coco peat, or ferns.
  • You have to be diligent in pruning dry and damaged leaves. In addition to maintaining beauty, this can also accelerate regeneration.
  • In addition to watering, you also have to clean the leaves with a soft sponge because these plants are prone to looking dull due to dust.

Aside from the steps above, monitoring the condition of the plant is necessary.

If weeds and pests appear, deal with them quickly to prevent spreading everywhere and harming your beautiful garden.

Conclusion

While most common indoor plants purify the air during the day, bromeliads release oxygen and remove air pollutants during the night. The Plants for Clean Air Council suggests that when combined with foliage plants, bromeliads can help provide around-the-clock indoor air purification.
Bromeliads Flower

It is a notable plant, especially as decorations. There are thousands of included species in the taxonomic list with various characteristics and appearances.

How to plant and care is very easy. However, you need to know that bromeliad plants can only last for two years and will die shortly after flowering for the first time.

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