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Bromeliads

September 19, 2012

Are you looking for a house plant that is bright and colorful? Try a bromeliad! Are you looking for a plant that is striking and exotic? Try a bromeliad! Are you looking for a plant that is easy to care for and almost always pest free? Try a bromeliad!

 

With thousands of varieties available there is a bromeliad perfectly suited to every situation. There’s even one that has a place on your pizza: pineapples are a type of bromeliad! If you are looking for a houseplant, however, give one of these species a try:

 

Silver Urn bromeliad (Aechmea fasciata) – Striking, broad silver-white leaves with a pink bloom, this is one of the hardiest bromeliads available.

 

Guzmania bromeliads – These are some of the most colorful bromeliads out there. They come in red, pink, yellow, orange, purple, white, and lots of fun bicolors. They will also handle lower light than the other species of bromeliads.

 

Neoregelia bromeliads – Shorter and sturdier than the Guzmanias, the Neoregelias can be just as colorful. There are some varieties with boldly variegated leaves.

 

Air plants (Tillandsia bromeliads) – One of the more unusual types of bromeliad, Tillandsias don’t need to be planted in soil to live. They are usually mounted on decorative wall hangers, but can be tucked just about anywhere, including terrariums, windowsills, and even attached to refrigerator magnets.

 

Bromeliads originate from Central and South America. There are species that come from all types of ecosystems, from rain forests to arid seashores.

 

The amount of light required depends on the type of bromeliad. A good rule of thumb is “Soft leaf – soft light, hard leaf – hard light.” Aechmeas and Tillandsias tend to like bright, indirect sunlight, while the Guzmanias can take lower light.

 

In their natural environments many bromeliads, including all of the species mentioned above, don’t grow on the ground. They grow in the leaf litter that collects in the branch junctions of trees. Because of this, they developed roots that can’t abide being too wet. If your bromeliad is currently growing in potting mix, wait until it is almost completely dry before watering. Do not let it stand in any excess water. Bromeliads that are not planted in any sort of medium, like the Tillandsias, simply need to be held under running water or soaked for a few minutes once or twice a week. In the wild, some species of bromeliads collect water and organic material in their “cups.” However, in an interior environment this will likely lead to rot and is not recommended. Bromeliads are fairly carefree plants, but it is important to keep them clean and watered properly to look their best. Trim any leaves that tip as a result of improper watering.

 

Bromeliads are sensitive to salts and do not have a high need for fertilizers. There is no need to fertilize while the plant is in bloom.

 

While most bromeliads will provide you with months of color, they only bloom once and will eventually die after flowering. However, they produce small offshoots, called “pups,” that can be removed and potted individually when they are 1/3 the size of the mother plant. The pups will then take 1 – 3 years to mature and flower.

 

So if you’re looking for something new and unusual for your home, give Bromeliads a try. You won’t regret it!

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