At Portland Nursery, we love Bromeliads. They include a number of beautiful plants that are easily grown indoors. They are the perfect flowering indoor plant that lasts for months with little or no care.
Bromeliads thrive in harsh interior environments without sun, with very little water and little or no attention. No other plant is as trouble free or less demanding yet so beautiful as the Bromeliad.
Scientific studies suggest bromeliads can help improve indoor air-quality as you sleep. In the photosynthetic process, most common indoor plants remove carbon dioxide while emitting oxygen and water vapors during the day. But research indicates that bromeliads behave differently during the day / night cycle, releasing oxygen and removing air pollutants at night. Data collected by the Plants for Clean Air Council suggest that when combined with foliage plants, bromeliads can help provide around-the-clock indoor air purification.
Bromeliad blooms are a wonder of variety and longevity. They come in an astounding array of colors and shapes. Some remain tucked inside the rosette of leaves, while others grow into plumes reaching two or more feet in length.
Numerous factors contribute to Bromeliad blooms: time, light and water are just a few. One of the most important variables is temperature, with a minimum requirement of 50 degrees.
It is possible to prematurely force a bloom by exposing a bromeliad to ethylene gas, a natural byproduct of decomposing organic matter. Commercial products such as Florel, often used to ripen tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables, have successfully been used to produce bromeliad flowers.
Bromeliads are easy to asexually propagate once an offset, or "pup" has sprouted from the base of the original bromeliad, or "mother plant." The advantage of asexual propagation is that you are rewarded with a mature plant in less than nine months. Pups usually emerge from the soil near the edge of the pot. They should be allowed to grow until they are one-third to one-half the size of the mother plant and have several sets of leaves.
Besides a mother plant with a pup, you'll need a second pot, clippers and some newspaper pages to spread over the work area. This won't take long, but it could be messy. You'll also need soil. For the best results, mix bark, wood chips or perlite (a quarter to an eighth of an inch diameter) with an equal amount of peat moss
Simple instructions to separate pups:
1. Remove the mother plant and pup from their container.
2.Gently pull the soil away, exposing the area where the mother plant and pup are joined.
3. The pup may or may not have its own root system. If necessary, pull additional soil away so you have a clear view of the base of both plants.
4. You may not need those clippers after all. Most of the time, the pup can be pulled off the mother plant without the use of any tools. If it resists a firm but gentle tug, make the cut near the base of the mother plant. Replant the mother plant (and only the mother plant) immediately.
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Family: Bromeliacae family, which also includes pineapples and Spanish moss.
Common Name: Air plants. Not all Bromeliads are Airplants. Air plants grow without soil while most types of Bromeliads do best in soil.
Origin: Argentina, Bolivia. Biologists have cataloged more than 3,500 species of bromeliads, with new ones being added all the time.
In upper reaches of tropical rain forests, these tanks serve as miniature ecosystems, providing a critical source of water for such diverse creatures as birds, snakes, lizards, frogs, snails, dragonflies, beetles, ants, butterflies, crabs, opossums and even other plants.
Characteristics: At least one-third of the species are air plants that grow on trees or rocks, using their roots only to hold themselves in place. They draw their water from clouds and fog, as well as from rainwater stored in the "tanks" formed by tight rosettes of leaves.
Watering: It's best to use purified water, especially for soft-leaf types like Guzmanias. Do not use water from a softener.
Let the plants dry out between waterings. It is okay if the soil on the bottom of the pot still is a little damp, but the surface should be dry to the touch.
Water the plant by pouring directly into the "cup" or "tank" formed by the center leaves. Continue pouring after the tank begins to overflow, allowing the excess to spill out and moisten the soil below.
Soil: For best results, mix peat moss with an equal amount of bark or perlite. Whichever material you choose to mix with the peat moss, it should have a diameter of an eighth to a quarter of an inch.
Light: Direct light on a sunny day is far too intense for most bromeliads, including Aechmeas and Guzmanias.
Ideally, the plants should have an abundant amount of filtered sunlight. Because bromeliads are so resilient, they may receive insufficient light for several months and still look great. But eventually the new growth will appear weak or spindly and the foliage may begin to lack color.
Humidity: Mist the plant once a week
Fertilizer: Fertilize just once in the spring, twice in the summer and once in the fall, using either a 20-20-20 or 20-10-20 formula mixed at about half the recommended strength.
Temperature: Bromeliads flourish at temperatures anywhere between 50 and 90 degrees. They can tolerate dips below and above that range, but not for prolonged periods, so outdoor plants should be moved indoors if the weather turns very cold or very hot and dry.