Bromeliads can bring an instant touch of the tropics to the coldest and driest climate gardens.
Their lush, tropical foliage brings year-round colour and the colourful bracts they bear periodically can make them show-stoppers. This, combined with their easy-care nature, makes them quite irresistible!
A little history
Bromeliads come from the tropical Americas, growing as forest under storey plants and tree-dwelling epiphytes. Most are shade lovers and need shelter from frost in very cold or mountain areas. Despite their tropical origins, they grow happily in all but the coldest and driest of climates.
How bromeliads like to grow
Like orchids, bromeliads use the soil they grow in more for anchorage than for sustenance. They grow very well in pots with a light, open potting mix like Searles Cymbidium & Bromeliad Orchid Specialty Mix. They can also do well when tied into the boughs of trees. This can create extra ‘levels’ of interest in your garden, but make sure it doesn’t mean they don’t miss out on being watered during dry periods.
Most bromeliads form a ‘well’ structure in their centre which is able to hold water. This structure acts as a reservoir which can help sustain them during dry periods. Whenever this well dries up, it’s time to water them again. Although bromeliads don’t need feeding, this ‘well’ is the place to apply fertilisers. Never drop slow-release fertiliser pellets into the reservoir as they will quickly dissolve and overdose your plants. Applying SeaMax Organic Fertiliser Liquid at one-third strength can be the perfect food for your bromeliads. Ensure the central cup is positioned upright to make the most of this feature.
Bromeliads can be grown from seed, but this is the most time-consuming method of propagating them. Over time, bromeliads will grow offsets or ‘pups’ which can be cut away from the mother plant and replanted when about 15cm high.
Because most bromeliads enjoy shady conditions, they can make ideal indoor plants, although they will still enjoy a period in outdoor shade from time to time in order to rejuvenate.
One of our most popular and familiar fruit — the pineapple — is actually a bromeliad.4 Steps to Propagate BromeliadsTurn a Sandpit into a Bromeliad Garden