Bromeliads, native to North and South America, are valued for their big, impressive leaves that may be a variety of colours, either plain, variegated or striped. In their natural habitat, bromeliads are epiphytes that grow on large rocks, high in trees or sometimes on the forest floor. Indoors, the plants are potted and grown in potting soil. When conditions are exactly right, your bromeliad may surprise you with a big, gorgeous, long-lasting bloom. When the bloom eventually dies, the main plant won't bloom again. However, the smaller pups at the base of the plant can be forced to bloom.
Cut the dead flower from the bromeliad using a pair of pruning shears or a sharp knife. Clean the leaves with a soft, damp cloth.
Place your bromeliad in filtered or diffused light, such as near a bright window covered with a sheer curtain. If the bromeliad begins to turn yellow or pale green, the plant is probably getting too much light. If the foliage turns dark green and droopy, the bromeliad may need more light.
Water your bromeliad once every one to two weeks by pouring lukewarm water directly into the cup of the plant.
Feed your bromeliad every three to four weeks. Use a regular liquid fertiliser for indoor plants, but dilute the fertiliser to half strength. Pour the fertiliser solution directly into the bromeliad's cup.
Remove the smaller pups growing from the base of the plant when the pups are approximately half the size of the mother plant. Cut the pups from the mother plant with a sharp knife, then plant the pups in containers filled with a commercial potting soil for sand and cactus.
Allow the bromeliad pups to mature for at least a year. Pour any water from the cup of the plant, then place the container in a large plastic bag. Put a ripe apple in the bag, then seal the bag tightly with a rubber band. The ethylene gas produced by the apple will trigger the bromeliad to bloom.
Remove the bromeliad from the plastic bag after seven to 10 days. Fill the cup with water. A bloom should begin to emerge six weeks to four months later.
Things you need
- Pruning shears or sharp knife
- Soft cloth
- Sharp knife
- Regular liquid fertiliser for indoor plants
- Planting container
- Commercial potting soil for cactus and succulents
- Large clear plastic bag
- Ripe apple
- Rubber band