Your bromeliad house plant is quite different from other indoor plants, it consumes water and nutrients through its leaves. It is therefore important to note that special care should be taken when potting, feeding and watering this plant.
Generally, bromeliads have a short lifespan since majority of them die just after flowering. However, they grow quite slowly and many of them only bloom once in their lives. On the brighter side, bromeliads usually come with a guarantee of lots of babies before they die; meaning more plants for you.
These unique indoor plants are quite easy to grow and take care, and hence they can be handled by anyone. They are very gorgeous and hence therefore they are a good way of improving the aesthetic value of your house.
Do you also keep cats or dogs in your home? If so, then don’t worry because these tropical beauties are not toxic to these pets.
Watering the Bromeliad
When watering bromeliads, you should keep their center cup filled with water. Yes, you heard right, don’t water the soil, leave it dry. The leaves of this plant grow to form a natural reservoir around the base of the plant.
It is also important to note that bromeliad indoor plants should be watered using filtered water, melted snow warmed to room temperature or rainwater to achieve the best results. Tap water can harm or even kill bromeliads because they are very sensitive to the chemicals in regular tap water.
You should drain water from the reservoir if it collects and sits for a long time; this helps keep the plants free of disease and prevents the roots from rot.
To avoid stagnant water, remember to dump out the water and refresh it after every week or so. The water in the cup should always remain fresh and clean, your bromeliad will be happy.
When planting, place the bromeliad plant deep in the soil until the bottom leaves are level with the soil. It should be planted in well-drained soil to keep water flowing away from the plant. It needs a soil that drains quickly.
Small plants may need to be staked until the root system strengthens. You should avoid packing them tightly or against walls; this ensures that that the bromeliads have access to good air circulation.
You can force mature plants to flower by placing them in a clear plastic bag with a ripe apple. These conditions allow the tropical plants to blossom with showy flowers.
The bromeliad blossoms because the apple releases gases that prompt the process. After this, remove the bag and water the plant as usual. The plant normally flowers in six to 14 weeks.
What to avoid
Do not overwater
Although many bromeliads like humidity, they do not need a lot of water all the time. People often make the mistake of overwatering these tropical plants but the truth is that they do not like getting their feet wet.
Every time you water your bromeliad, you should allow the potting medium to dry before further watering. This helps ensure that the soil does not remain constantly wet since it can make the roots rot and eventually the plant might die. Note that, most bromeliad’s roots are not the main source for taking up nutrients and water but act more like an anchor.
Generally, most bromeliads can handle drought. They are less likely to die of drought than rotting although they cannot grow and prosper in consistent drought.
You should check to make sure that the potting medium feels dry by sticking your finger a few inches into the pot. This is important because it may still be retaining water under the surface even if it appears dry on top. If you are unsure, it is best to wait another day to take another look.
Don’t choose the wrong container
Most bromeliads only require a small pot between four and six inches since most of the plants’ roots act as anchors and do not grow very large. You should avoid a container that is too large for the tropical plant since it can lead to too much water being retained; causing rotting or even death of the plant.
Don’t use the wrong potting medium
You should use a potting medium that is meant for growing bromeliads.
Avoid using soil from the ground since it might carry fungus, disease and pests. Also, this kind of soil is normally too dense and it retains too much water.
Never use top soil or garden dirt in a pot meant for growing bromeliads.
Soil-less mixtures are the best for growing these plants, they can be found at nurseries and garden centers. The market offers many bromeliad potting mixes; they are made to allow quick drainage.
Don’t assume that all bromeliads are similar
All bromeliads originate from warm climates and most of them are the same, however, some have adapted differently to survive in their native habitat. Some are adapted to thrive in humid regions as others adapt to fit in arid regions. For instance, while most other bromeliads like to dry out a bit between watering, Cryptanthus and Phalaenopsis are the only exceptions since they like to stay moist.
Bromeliads have 57 different genera, over 3,000 different species and many more cultivars.
Before purchasing one, you should know what kind of bromeliad you want so that it can be easy to care of it.
Some bromeliads grow clinging to trees and other host surfaces while others grow naturally on forest floors.
Avoid exposing your plant to copper
Although this is not so common, they are a few instances when bromeliads can come in contact with copper. The plant can be harmed or even die when exposed to copper; it’s very sensitive.
The exposure mostly happens when mounting an epiphytic bromeliad.
- If you are using a fungicide, ensure that it is specified for use on bromeliads since some fungicides also contain copper.
- You should use water resistant glue instead of copper wire when mounting a bromeliad.
- When choosing a mount for a bromeliad, avoid using treated wood since it is usually pressure treated with copper to make it more weather resistant.
Avoid hard water
Hard water can leave deposits that can damage the leaves and make them more prone to disease. These deposits are normally left on the central tank and the leaves near the base of the bromeliad.
To prevent the buildup of minerals, you should use distilled water or rain water instead of tap water. Remember to regularly flush water in the tank to avoid the buildup of salts.
Avoid exposing it to infested plants
You should be careful when introducing new plants to the environment near bromeliads; ensure they are not previously infested. Bromeliads can be prone to aphids, mealybugs, and scale.
These new plants could be carrying eggs that can’t be seen with the naked eye; they can hatch and spread pests to the other plants. With this in mind, you should always keep new plants quarantined from other plants for three weeks every time you purchase them. Monitor the plants closely for insect infestations during this period.
You can add the new plants into your collection if they remain pest free at the end of the trial period.
This beautiful plant is quite easy to maintain although it is very different from other plants. When grown as an indoor plant, it brings a wonderful color and texture to the interior garden collection, providing an exotic touch and a sense of the tropics to the home.
Normally, you shouldn’t encounter any problems when growing bromeliads since most of them are very resilient. If they show any signs of problems, then don’t worry because they can easily be fixed as seen above.
Growing bromeliads is a rewarding hobby that can continue for years.