The bromeliad is a beautiful plant with striking foliage and a stunning flower.

Bromeliad Flower

The flower of a bromeliad is bright, tall, and showy in order to attract passing animals and insects that aid in pollination.  Some bromeliads will flower quite often and some may take a while.  It is less well-known but notable that ethylene gas will encourage a bromeliad into flower.  Ethylene gas is produced from burning wood and the rotting of fruits and vegetables.

Therefore, if you are interested in getting your bromeliad to flower, you can try this trick:
Let the soil dry out and shake excess water from the bromeliad’s ‘vase’ (if it has one).  Place your bromeliad in a clear plastic bag with a rotting apple and secure it shut.  Let it sit in there for 7 to 10 days.  The ethylene gas released from the apple will induce a flower!

Pups

About 1 to 3 months after a mature bromeliad flowers, the healthy plant will produce several pups, or miniature versions of itself.  These will in turn grow to maturity and flower themselves.

Care

Bromeliads can handle low-light conditions and have been known to be an excellent office plant.  Though they can survive in these conditions, they will flower more often and grow faster given a well-lit spot.
There are many varieties of bromeliads; therefore, there are different light requirements for different types.  A good rule of thumb is this:  gray, green-gray, and thick leaved bromeliads prefer partial shade to sun while thin leaved and green leaved bromeliads prefer shade to partial sun.

Water your bromeliad when the surface of the soil begins to dry.  If your bromeliad is of the variety that has a ‘vase’ or ‘cup’ choose to keep water in the vase or in the soil.  Keeping water in both could cause rot.  However, if you water the vase, make sure to change out the water at least once a month to avoid bacteria or fungus from collecting there.

Many varieties of bromeliads are epiphytic, which means they grow attached to the sides of trees.  These are generally sold attached to driftwood or boards.  In nature, moisture from the air keeps them watered, so in the home it is important to mist and soak them every few days.

All bromeliads, in nature, collect water on their leaves and grab it from moisture in the air.  Because of this, they have shallow root systems and those roots are not as essential to its growth as roots generally are for other tropical plants.  This is just a fun little fact to keep in mind.

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4 comments
  1. Paige said:

    What do I do with a spent flower or a flower stock that didn’t fully bloom?

  2. Karen said:

    What do I do when it starts to turn brown

    • that depends. if the flower stalk is turning brown, it might be near the end of its bloom and can be cut off the plant. if the leaves are drying and turning brown, esp. near the tips, your bromeliad wants more water (increase watering in the summer). if it is brown and mushy, it may be getting too much water and you should hold back to avoid root rot

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