Bromeliad care tips and tricks
Known for their interesting shapes, colors, and patterns, bromeliads are a very common plant in offices, retail establishments, hotels, and even homes. They are easy to grow and require little maintenance, which is why they are such a popular choice in these environments.
When it comes to bromeliads, there are quite a few types from which to choose. Bromeliaceae, the plant family to which bromeliads belong, contains over 3000 species, ranging from one inch to ten feet in height! These colorful plants are native to the warmer areas of North and South America.
As mentioned, there are over 3000 species of bromeliad plants within about 56 genera. Here are some of the most common:
- Aechmea – This type of bromeliad is often called an urn plant, due to its shape. The edges of the colorful leaves have small spikes.
- Ananas – The Ananas genus features fruiting bromeliads, including a plant with which you are likely very familiar — the pineapple plant. They require abundant room to grow and a significant amount of light.
- Billbergia – Billbergia have a very narrow vase shape with spiked leaves. In nature, they grow in trees.
- Cryptyantus – These plants have very flat growth and feature wavy-edged leaves.
- Guzmania – If you’ve seen bromeliads around, these are likely the ones you saw. Available in many bright colors, this bromeliad species is commonly used as a houseplant or office plant.
- Neoregelia – This bromeliad’s distinguishing characteristic is centralized pink-coloring, often giving it the name of “painted fingernail.”
- Tillandsia – Another very common bromeliad type, the Tillandsia genus has almost 500 different species within it. You may be more familiar with the common name for Tillandsia — air plants.
- Vriesea – Bromeliad Vriesea, or the flaming sword plant, produces flattened, short-stalked flowers, and can live both indoors and outdoors if conditions are favorable.
Epiphytic, saxicolous, and terrestrial bromeliads
No, we’re not talking about aliens. These are the main distinctive characteristics of the bromeliad plant. Terrestrial bromeliads, as the definition of “terrestrial” suggests, require soil for growth. Epiphytic bromeliads, on the other hand, do not grow in soil. Instead, they latch onto trees or other plants for support and get their nutrients from the air. Similarly, saxicolous bromeliads get their nutrients from the air, but grow on rocks. Some bromeliads can grow both as epiphytes or terrestrials.
Once the central plant flowers, it will die. Luckily, bromeliads produce what are known as “pups” that can be separated from the dying central plant and used to form a new, healthy plant. When the pups are about half the size of the original parent plant, they can be cut off and planted separately. The period of time from pup to mature plant is traditionally about one year but can be longer based on the species.
Due to the shape of most bromeliads, they have a natural water reservoir. The leaves are often arranged in such a way that their bases overlap, forming a vase of sorts. For this reason, it is easy to over-water bromeliads. Over-watering leads to root rot and will be detrimental to the plant. Be sure to check this “tank” before giving the plant more water.
Do bromeliads like sunlight?
Bromeliads are fond of light in general. Of course, natural light would be preferable, but artificial light can also be used to foster bromeliad growth. The amount of light that a bromeliad receives can affect its growth rate, color, and leaf shape. Too little light will produce long, thin, green leaves. Too much light will produce short, thick, light leaves. When grown indoors, bromeliads should be kept somewhere they will receive abundant, but not direct, light.
Generally, bromeliads are pretty pest-free. Scale and mealybugs can sometimes affect them, but the pest most often associated with the bromeliad doesn’t actually do damage to bromeliads at all. Instead, they’re pests for us! The aforementioned water “tanks” that form in the center of the bromeliad plant serve as ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Once a week or so during the warmer, rainy seasons, bromeliads should be flushed out to remove any mosquito larvae hiding within its water cavity.
Ambius provides Bromeliads for your space
The vibrant, colorful nature of bromeliads brightens up any room. Looking to bring life to an otherwise drab space? Bromeliads may be the answer. These low-maintenance plants not only provide something interesting to look at, but they also provide benefits to everyone that inhabits your business. To find out more about our blooming plant or color rotation services, contact Ambius today. We’ll work with you to create an environment that inspires all who enter.