How To Grow Beautiful Bromeliads Inside and Outside In The Yard
The Bromeliad is one of my favorite flowering plants. It is so easy to grow, care for and transplant. I had never grown this plant until one day about three years ago, as I was driving along the road; I spotted some men dumping plants on the side of the road for the trash collector. I stopped and inquired what they were doing. One of the yard men said they had been instructed to clean out the bed of Bromeliads in the owner’s yard, because they were too thick. I could see some of these green broad leafed plants had very pretty red spiked blossoms.
I was fascinated by these beautiful plants that were doomed. With the work men's permission, I quickly began to load as many of the plants into my trunk that I could.
After I got the plants home, I really didn't know what to do with them or where or how to plant them. I called a friend of mine who knows much more about plants than I do to come and look at my haul. She told me they were Bromeliads. She had some in her garden, but would like some more. She asked if she could have a few of the ones I rescued. Of course, I’d be happy to share. She took about 15 plants and left me with the rest which was about 25 plants. She stayed that day and showed me how to place the Bromeliads in my yard. The yard men had just pulled the plants right out of the ground, leaving very little roots. “Don’t worry about that,” she said, as she laid the plants on top of the ground. She got some potting soil and just barely covered the plant’s root system (or what was left of the root system). We did not even dig holes for the plants. I stood in wonder, thinking these plants would never grow. I was wrong about that. None of these plants died as a result of this handling . After a year or so, I found myself thinning out my bed of Bromeliads and looking for friends that wanted to share.
Bromeliads multiply very fast. A little “pup” will appear at the base of the plant, and that cycle repeats until you have many, many plants.
A Pretty Color Of Bromeliad
The Bromeliad Has Foliage Of Many Shapes And Colors
The foliage of a Bromeliad can have many different shapes, from needle thin to broad and flat, symmetrical to irregular, spiky and soft. Leaf colors range from maroon, through shades of green, to gold. Varieties may have leaves with red, yellow, white and cream variegations. Others may be spotted with purple, red, or cream, while others have different colors on the tops and bottoms of the leaves. If the Bromeliad never bloomed, just the foliage alone would be enough to make me love this plant.
Some flowers have flower spikes that may reach 10 to 12 inches tall while others only measure 2 to 3 inches across. Upright stalks may be branched or simple with spikes retaining their color from two weeks up to twelve months, depending on species. In some species the flower grows deep in the base of the plants, and is almost unseen. The blooms on my Bromeliads last for about three weeks. I have several different varieties in my yard. One is a pinkish color and is the kind that tiny little white flowers grow deep in the base. The other type has the broad green variegated colored leaves that bloom with the spike.
Bromeliads Under A Tree
A Bromeliad In Bloom
The Same Bromeliad With The Spike Bloom
Other Bromeliads In My Yard
Just A Fun Tree Ornament
I Mounted A Bromeliad On A Piece Of Driftwood
Bromeliads Can Be Mounted On A Tree
Water collects down inside the Bromeliad. In fact, my friend advised me not to water the soil around the plants, but rather, place water into the “throat” of the plant. I have seen tiny little tree frogs living inside the Bromeliad.
I mounted a Bromeliad on a piece of driftwood that is supported by a piece of screening. It has NO soil, but thrives and blooms.
These plants seem to like warmer dry climates, in Central America, the southern United States, and Arizona. They thrive here in Florida.
We do have some cold weather here. It can get down in the 30's for short periods of time, but my Bromeliads have never died from the cold. I don't think they could survive in the northern part of the United States, though. They don't mind sandy soil such as I have. I grow most plants in containers because of my poor soil. I have to say, Bromeliads are a pretty tough plant!
When you first see the Bromeliad’s bud, it is such a thrill. You can watch it day by day as the spike gets taller and taller and it becomes a full bloom.
The most common mistake people make is over watering. It is often assumed that because Bromeliads are tropical, they need a lot of water all of the time. It is true that many bromeliads like humidity, but they do not like their feet wet. If the soil remains constantly wet, the roots will likely rot, ultimately killing the plant. To avoid this problem allow the potting media to dry before adding more water to the throat of the plant. Even if it appears dry on top, it may be retaining water farther underneath the surface. Stick your finger into the pot or ground and check a few inches down to make sure the potting media feels dry. If you are unsure, err on the side of not having enough water. Most bromeliads can tolerate drought. They will not thrive and grow in consistent drought, but they are less likely to die of drought than rotting.
Bromeliads Growing Under A Large Tree
The Bromeliad From The Dish Garden
The Bromeliad Can Be Grown Inside The House
About three months ago, I purchased a dish garden and it had an Orchid and a Bromeliad in it. I transplanted the Orchid into an Orchid pot, and the Bromeliad was planted directly into the ground. The Bromeliad is now very big and will soon have “pups”
I have discovered that the Bromeliad can be grown inside the house with some considerations:
Bromeliad’s roots act as anchors and do not grow very large. A small pot, between four and six inches will be large enough to hold a single Bromeliad. Using a pot that is too large for a Bromeliad will result in the potting media retaining too much water and the Bromeliad will suffer the same consequences as overwatering. The roots are likely to rot causing the plant to die. When you plant a bromeliad pup, or offset, in a small pot, you may need to stake the pup until it has developed sufficient roots to remain upright on its own.
If you want to grow a Bromeliad indoors, don’t use regular potting soil because that might hold too much moisture. Instead, use a soil-less mixture that will allow drainage in the pot. This mixture usually can be found in garden centers and plant nurseries.
Whether you grow Bromeliads indoors or outdoors, you will be rewarded by beautiful flowers. You can find these plants in almost all garden centers and nurseries. The ones you often find for sale are the broad leafed green plant that blooms a red spike like most of mine are.
If you see a house with lots of Bromeliads growing, you can probably ask the homeowner for some plants. Chances are they would love to share, as all gardeners love to share their plants for others to enjoy. Just ask.
How To Grow Bromeliads
How To Harvest Pups From Bromeliads
If you would like to learn more about Bromeliads, visit the site of the Bromeliad Society.
Almost all states have their own Bromeliad Society.
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© 2012 Mary Hyatt
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