Bromeliads are colourful and exotic plants from the Americas. They are found in tropical rainforests to coastal deserts and are grown for their variegated and colourful foliage and their spectacular flower spikes. Bromeliads are easy to grow, virtually pest and disease free, require very little feeding and are drought tolerant.
Most bromeliads are epiphytic (grow on trees) or lithophytic (grow on rocks), so require little soil (hence their common name ‘Air Plants’). They can be grown mounted on wood slabs or pieces of driftwood, using wire, fishing line or in small pots using a well-draining potting mix.
Most species prefer bright light and high humidity. Bromeliads can be grown in a well-lit fernery
or under trees over the warmer months and in a sunnier position in the cooler months. and kept inside while they are flowering.
Constantly fill ‘vase-like leaf centres’ of potted varieties with water. Allow a small amount of water to overflow into the potting mix to prevent the root system from completely drying out. Mist spray mounted epiphytic varieties every few days in the warmer months and reduce this to once a fortnight by mid-winter. Misting is especially important for plants kept indoors for lengthy periods as the humidity levels are generally too low to sustain healthy growth.
Epiphytic varieties may be dipped in a weak (1⁄4 strength) solution of Maxicrop or Fish Emulsion every 2 months. Fill the vase centres with a similar strength solution.
Plants usually flower after 3 or 4 years however, once a ‘rosette’ flowers, it will never do so again. Offsets, or ‘pups’, provide us with new plants and next year’s flowers.
|1.Aechmea||(Vase plants) Tough grey foliage with pink and blue flowers.|
|2.Viresias||Hardy with glossy foliage. Good in pots.|
|3.Billbergia||Including the hardy 'Queens Tears'. Good in pots.|
|4.Cryptanthus||(Earthstars) small, often with variegated foliage.|
|5.Guzmania||Long flowering pot plants, yellow, red & orange spikes.|
|6.Neoregelia||The leaf vase itself bursts into summer colour.|
|7.Tillandsia||Diverse range of epiphytic species including:|
|- Spanish Moss: a tangled mass of silver threads.|
|- T. cyanea (Pink Quill): a spectacular pink paddle-like spike with large blue flower.|