The most distinctive feature or bromeliads is the cup shaped rosette of leaves, which holds the water that nourishes the plant.
In some varieties, flowers and large, colorful bracts emerge from the center, creating a spectacular display. The bracts are modified
leaves that grow from the same axils as the flowers. Originating in the tropics, most bromeliads are epiphytes (air plants). They grow suspended in trees and on rocks in their native habitat, gathering moisture and nutrients from rainfall and particles in the air.
Too large containers and overwatering can be fatal to their small root system. When growing these plants in a pot, water mainly by filling the rosette, but don’t forget to moisten the potting mix occasionally as well. Bromeliads need lots of sun and high temperatures to bloom.
Light: Abundant light. An east or west window is best. Ananas and Dyckia require full sun.
Water: Always keep the cup of rosette-type bromeliads filled with water (preferably rainwater), change it occasionally. Allow plants growing in pots to dry out, then water lightly so that they are barely moist. Overwatering and poor drainage will kill bromeliads. Spray epiphytic bromeliads not growing in pots with warm water regularly.
Humidity: Dry air is generally not harmful.
Temperatures: Average constant temperatures of 65° to 70° F are fine for foliage types and plants in flower. Warmer temperatures (75° to 80° F) are needed to initiate flower buds.
Fertilization: Fertilize lightly once a year, in early spring.
Propagation: Remove mature offsets and a sizable section of roots from large plants and pot shallowly in light soil. Keep warm.
Grooming: Wash leaves occasionally.
Repotting: Rarely necessary.
Problems: Brown areas on leaves usually indicate sunburn; move a plant out of direct sunlight. Brown tips on leaves result from dry air. Watch for scale and mealybugs on foliage and flowers.