Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE Bromeliads? Well I do, my love affair with them began when I was about 13/14 and I was with my Dad at a flea market and someone was selling a ton of plants. It was a bright Yellow Guzmania that ended up coming home with me and I kept it going and propagating its little "pup" plants for years.
These Showy epiphytes normally grow attached to tree branches high up in the rainforest canopy, but adapt well to a the house or sunroom/conservatory ( if you're lucky and if so I'm extremely jealous) and are extremely easy to care for for beginner indoor gardeners and offer some fun propagation projects that are great for everyone.
The best location is a nice bright room away from really intense direct sun, if you don't have to turn a light on in that room during the day to see then that is the right amount needed. Remember they grow in a canopy so they are used to more diffused light. They also do quite well outdoors in the summer on a nice semi shaded porch. For watering outdoors in the summer, all you need to do is spray them with the hose every few days to keep the moisture and humidity up around them.
There should always be water in the centre of the plant inside its " Cup" of leaves, the water here will slowly make its way down into the soil, only water the soil/moss once its quite dry. As seen in the top photo.
Their are 2 distinct different types of blooms on Bromeliads, the tall bract with smaller blooms coming out of it. These are seen on Guzmanias,Vrisea,and Aechmea and Tillandsia ( As shown in the bottom picture) Once these stalks have finished blooming and have begun to fade/turn brown cut them back to just above where the water sits inside the "cup"
When the blooms are finished, and even sometimes before, you will see smaller "Pup" plants growing out the base of the bromeliad. ( as seen in the bottom photo) This is the main way to propagate and continue on with your bromeliads, some varieties will only bloom the once on the "Mother" plant while other will continue on and bloom again. Most pups should remain on the mother plant until they are at least 1/2-1/3 the size of the mother plant, however if they are removed earlier the mother plant will continue to produce more pups.
The best way to remove the pups if with a shape knife cut, if the pups have not developed roots yet they can still be planted in a sterile/soilless mix and will grow roots within a few weeks. To start the pups choose a 3"-4" pot and a nice fluffy potting medium. Keep the soil a bit moist, but mainly mist the plants leaves to encourage root growth.
So Bromeliads can be super easy and very long lasting, Great for the beginner indoor gardener and they can also be a really fun project for those plant lovers to try and propagate and grow ( and share with friends)
Pineapples are another type of bromeliad and are really fun to propagate,and delicious so its a win win.
If you happen to see some gorgeous pineapples at the grocer, pick one that has nice healthy looking leaves. Slice the top off the pineapple and removes any flesh, just leaving a nice base for the leaves.. often there will be small roots or little brown bumps ( pre-roots) Leave the cutting out on to dry/callous over, usually just overnight or 1 day. Once its a dry, plant it in a nice soilless mix and give it a good watering. Keep it humid and the soil moist, the roots should begin to grow and take hold after a few weeks.
Happy growing and propagating
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