In addition to supplying a mature bromeliad with sufficient light, water and fertiliser, there's a trick that will make a bromeliad bloom. To avoid disappointment, you need to know that 99 per cent of bromeliads bloom only once, according to the Bromeliad Society International. Plants from retailers are often already in bloom, and once that bloom dies off, the plant puts its energy into producing pups, a new generation of plants that appear at the base of the mother plant. Each pup will bloom once at maturity -- and you can encourage your new bromeliad to bloom.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Epsom salts
- Mister or spray bottle
- Clear plastic bag
- Ripe apple, any kind
Feed your bromeliad with highly diluted Epsom salts to encourage growth and trigger blooming, the Bromeliad Society International suggests. For example, stir 1 tsp. Epsom salts into 1 qt. of room-temperature water. Feed tank-style plants in the centre reservoir. Feed other types of potted bromeliads by pouring 1/4-inch of the Epsom salts mixture in a saucer or other container and setting the bromeliad pot in the liquid.
Pour some of the Epsom salt mixture in a mister or spray bottle and spray it on the bromeliad. Spray the plant daily during the summer. This method works for all kinds of bromeliads and is an effective way to fertilise epiphytes. Epiphytes include the types of bromeliads known as "air plants" that grow mounted on branches, wood or other organic surfaces.
Make a bromeliad bloom with ethylene gas. If your bromeliad doesn't produce a flower with adequate fertiliser, humidity and bright filtered light, enclose the plant in a plastic bag with a ripe apple for two to three days. This method will force the plant to bloom within six to 14 weeks, according to Clemson University
Tips and warnings
- Your plant has to be fully mature to flower. If you have a young bromeliad, keep it fertilised and watered to help it grow to maturity.
- Bromeliads prefer humidity and temperatures above 15.6 degrees Celsius. Putting your bromeliad in the bathroom or kitchen can help provide moisture for the plant. Misting the plant regularly also helps.
- Use a zipper-style large plastic bag or plastic bag sealed with a twist tie. Enclose the plant and pot so that it's sealed in with the apples.
- Keep your bromeliad in bright, filtered or indirect light. For example, locate the plant within a foot of a window with a sheer or lace curtain.
- Don't saturate the bromeliad's growing medium -- these plants are vulnerable to root rot.
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