The Bromeliad (broh-MEE-lee-ad) Family consists of about 2500 species and several thousand hybrids. There are over 55 known Genera within the Bromeliad Family; some of the more popular are: Aechmea, Alcantarea, Ananas, Cryptanthus, Guzmania, Neoregelia, Tillandsia, and Vriesea to name a few.

 

Location: Most bromeliads are Hardiness Zone 10 & 11 plants; a few like Tillandsias can survice in Zone 9 if protected under trees and such. If you are not located in these zones then it is recommended that you grow your bromeliads in a greenhouse or in your home where they can receive adequate light.

 

Light: Light is the most important factor for growing bromeliads. Bromeliads need from 12 to 16 hours of light; fewer can result in abnormal growth or failure to bloom. As a general rule of thumb, give a plant as much light as it can accept without getting damaged or bleached (loss of color). Usually a plant grown in higher light will develop tighter, more compact, better foliage due to stressing, better blooms. Remember, growing in higher light requires more hydration. Also, remember never to bring a plant from high shade to high light; you might sunburn your plant. Always acclimate slowly to higher light conditions. Growing under artificial lighting is also acceptable.

 

Temperature: Given that you grow your bromeliads in the correct Hardiness Zones or in a controlled environment like a greenhouse, then you shouldn't have a problem. Except for nights where temperatures may reach near freezing, shielding the plants will help protect them. A recommended range for growing temperatures is 50-70°F for nights and 70-90°F for days. ­­A Day-Night temperature difference of at least 10°F is required for proper photosynthesis.

 

Air Circulation & Humidity: These are two things to be mindful of when designing your garden or greenhouse/shade house. It's best to not clump plants together on benches or in the garden as they may retain a lot of moisture around the bases and damage plants. It's important to let your plants air out and dry in order to keep them healthy. Stuffy, stagnant air can encourage disease. On the contrary, if you keep your plants indoors then they can suffer from leaf drying because of lower relative humidity in the air and excessive air circulation due to air conditioning.

 

Watering: For most varieties we recommend watering about twice a week in cooler months and about three times a week in warmer months, always leaving fresh water in the tank. We also recommend emptying and/or rinsing out the tank periodically to prevent algae growth. You would assume that all water supplies are the same, your basic H2O. Not true. Water supplies vary depending on where you are located and whether you use city water or well water. Most municipally supplied water is good for growing your bromeliads but when get into pumping your own you should take some precautions. Check the acidity of your water, making sure the pH is between 4.0 and 7.0; 6.5 would be ideal. Too much acidity tends to pull nutrients away from the plant. Also, be careful if you are using water softeners in your home system, they contain sodium, and you don't want to irrigate with salt on any plants, much less bromeliads.

 

Potting/Mounting: Most bromeliads are Epiphytes (Greek word meaning "upon plants"); they don't require to be planted in the ground or in a pot. Typically people grow their plants in a pot, maybe because it makes it a lot easier to keep the plant vertical. Regardless, bromeliads will thrive unless it is one of the terrestrial varieties like Cryptanthus, Dyckia, Orthophytum, Etc... When potting we recommend using 1:1 ration of Peat Moss & Perlite to allow for maximum drainage and aeration. When mounting we recommend women's stockings as they are very elastic and do not damage the plant. Be careful never to mount your bromeliads on or below pressure treated wood as it contains copper, which is poisonous to bromeliads.

Propagating: The rule of thumb for removing pups from a mother plant is that the pup must be at least 1/3 the size of the mother. We recommend leaving the bare root pup standing vertically in a pot for about a week or two before actually potting, this will promote rapid root growth as well as harden and seal the spot where the pup was attached to the mother. It is acceptable to fertilize your pups lightly via foliar feeding as they do not yet have the complex roots necessary to feed via time released fertilizers. Be mindful of how long your time released fertilizer will keep feeding because most pups can reach mature size in about 6-8 months, feeding past that will inhibit color from developing.

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