Bromeliads or Bromeliad Plants (family Bromeliaceae, commonly known as Pineapple Family), need very little care to survive. With a few considerations, these showy plants will thrive in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. With the right amount of light and water and well-drained soil, these Pineapple Family members will produce colorful, lush leaves and bright, spectacular flowers.
Bromeliads need soil that drains quickly. Plant them in well-drained soil to keep water flowing away from the plant. Place plants deep enough in the soil that their bottom leaves are level with the soil. Bromeliads need to be in an area with good air circulation, so avoid planting them against buildings or packed tightly. Small plants may need to be staked until the root system strengthens.
Since Bromeliads come from tropical climates, they thrive in mild temperatures. They prefer temperatures around 70 °F (21 °C) during the day and between 55 and 60 °F (13 and 15 °C) at night.
Bromeliads typically need a lot of sunlight to produce flowers, although some varieties will do well in partial shade. If the plants are not receiving enough light, they will produce long, thin leaves. Too much light will produce thick, pale green leaves.
The general rule is to water Bromeliads and when the soil around them is nearly dry, water them again. Bromeliads' leaves grow to form a natural reservoir around the base of the plant. If water collects in the reservoir and sits over time, the roots will rot. Remove water standing in the reservoir to keep the plant free of disease. These plants prefer moist air, so if the relative humidity drops below 50%, mist the plant to keep it moist.
Bromeliads need an all-purpose liquid fertilizer every three to four weeks, except from fall to winter. The fertilizer may trigger new growth that could be damaged during the cooler temperatures of these months. Apply fertilizer at 1/4 to 1/2 the dosage recommended on the product label. Place this weakened fertilizer directly in the reservoir produced by leaves at the base of the plant.
Pests and Disease
Bromeliads generally do not have problems with pests. If a dark mold from scale develops on the leaves, apply an insecticidal soap, and remove the mold with soapy water. Mosquitoes may become a problem if the water at the base of the plant is not drained regularly.
Under effective conditions, Bromeliads will blossom with showy flowers. You can force mature plants to flower by placing the plant in a clear plastic bag with a ripe apple. Gases released by the apple will prompt the Bromeliad to blossom. Remove the bag from the plant, and water it as usual. You can expect the plant to flower in 6 to 14 weeks.
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