Tuesday, October 23, 2007
How to Care for a Bromeliad?
I have a Bromelia plant and would like any care instructions you could provide. Do I water it at the top of the leaves and let it funnel down as I have been told. The water seems to accumulate and I fear will rot the leaves. How close to the leaves should the dirt go? It does not get direct sunlight is that okay? The flower fell off, will it grow another?
Bromelias and other members of the Bromeliaceae family, collectively called bromeliads, can be pretty easy to care for. As you know, the leaves emerge from a central rosette and create a bit of a cup. It is true that you want to water your bromeliad by pouring water into that cup. In their natural habitat, bromeliads grow at elevations up to 6,000 feet and are either epiphytic (meaning they grow on other plants) or they are terrestrial (meaning they grow in the ground). For this reason, they take in the majority of their water through the “cup” which serves as a water reservoir. During the summer months when the plant is most active you will see that the center will dry out and will need to be refilled frequently. You always want to keep some water in the cup, but during the winter months when the plant is less active you will realize it does not take it up nearly as quickly. Do not worry about rotting the leaves, they are tough. As for the mix it is potted in, you can water that occasionally as well, maybe once a week or so. The mix is more to anchor the plant in place, but if saturated, that can rot the base of the plant and you want to avoid that. Bromeliads love humidity so you may choose to have a layer of stones in your saucer so that excess water can evaporate immediately around the plant without the plant actually sitting in water. As far as the soil level, in some cases the potting mix is right up to where the plant flares out, in other cases there might be a little more of a stalk. This can vary as long as the plant is properly anchored in place and the mix drains freely. If it does not get direct sunlight, at least provide it with as much bright light as you can. I do not recommend bromeliads for shady situations. Finally, regarding the flower, you are going to continue to grow your bromeliad and you are going to watch out for a new growth from the base. A new side-shoot should eventually emerge, and grow into a tall plant of its own. Eventually this side-shoot, called a “pup” will grow to be large enough that it will produce another flower.