Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bromeliads


Exotic, unusual bromeliads! These tropicals, with their colorful and long lasting flowers make a smashing statement wherever they are placed. And they are very easy to care for. Some bright indirect light or an hour or so of direct sun would work well. They are often used in offices, in quite low light, and are pretty tolerant of that although they will last longer with more light. The soil should dry out about 1/2" or so below the surface, but will tolerate more drying out. Water thoroughly. They do appreciate some water inside their "cup", which is at the center of the plant where the bloom is produced. A daily misting would also be helpful, but not crucial.

The one pictured here is of the Guzmania genus. I bought this plant from a bromeliad catalog. It had lovely foliage of deep green, with a rich burgundy color emanating from its center. It lived with me for ten years before blooming! This is unusual as they generally bloom after they are a year old. Some plants just don't follow horticultural rules, as we are aware of them today! After blooming the mother plant will begin to die back and new "pups", as they are called in the trade, should begin to appear. After the pups are a few inches tall, the whole planting can be removed from its pot and the pups gently separated from the mother plant and planted into their own containers. I like to pot them in a mixture of 1/2 orchid mix and 1/2 potting soil.

The family Bromeliaceae was named after Olaf  Bromelius, a horticultural explorer, in the 17th century. Bromeliads are mainly epiphytic plants, meaning that they grow on trees, although some are terrestrial plants, meaning that they grow in in the ground.  The cryptanthus species, which is sometimes sold at garden centers, is an example of a terrestrial orchid.

The most popular bromeliads for home and office use are the Aechmea fasciata and several Guzmania species. Most of them are indigenous to Central and South America. The lush, silver-gray Spanish moss that flows from trees in the Southern United States is also a bromeliad. And so are those delicious pineapples that hail from Hawaii. Bromeliads are a very interesting family, indeed!

Care Instructions---
  • Bright indirect light or some direct sun. 
  • Let the soil dry out on top and then, soak well.  Keep water in the "cup" which is the center of the plant.
  • If your bromeliad is potted in orchid media which looks like it's composed mainly of small bark chips, then you may find watering it in the sink and letting it drain for a few minutes, the best method for giving it a thorough soak..
  • A daily misting of water would be appreciated. They do adapt well to indoor humidity levels.  
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**To see other plants on this blog click here:   The Indoor Garden blog
***For a variety of  video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series, click here:The Indoor Garden TV show