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Best Conditions For Growing 9 Types of Bromeliads Indoors

Best Conditions For Growing 9 Types of Bromeliads Indoors

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Why is the pineapple so unusual? Why does it appear different? Its crown and leaves are distinctive. It’s because the pineapple is a type of Bromeliad plant family. Because you are a plant enthusiast or scientist, the pineapple may be the only Bromeliad you know because it serves commercial purposes.

What are Bromeliads?

Bromeliads are plants and members of the Bromeliaceae family, pronounced as (bro-meh-lee-AH-say-eye). They are monocotyledon flowering plants. Distinctive leaves and inflorescence arrangement are part of their main features. Their flowers grow around a central point.

Asides from the pineapple, there are other Bromeliad plants like the Spanish Moss, Aloes, and Yucca, among others.

They are majorly perennial plants with distinct scales on their leaves used to absorb water for survival. Some members have succulent leaves like aloes.

They range in size from moss-like species of Tillandsia to the enormous Puya raimondii.  

Origin and history 

The existence of bromeliads dates back to 1493. Columbus had returned from his second voyage to Spain. Check out this link for more information on the history of Bromeliads.

We know bromeliads for their ability to absorb moisture and are great for ornamental purposes because of their colored inflorescence.

The family contains over 3000 species and approximately 56 genera. They are tropical plants that grow in New world tropics and subtropics. They are common in South America and Central America and reach Virginia in the South East United States.

Bromeliads have certain features that make them adapt to various growing conditions.

Best conditions for growing Bromeliads

The basic range of conditions bromeliads need to bloom varies from genus to genus. Day duration, temperature, humidity, water, and nutrition influence their flowering cycle. 

It’s possible to grow both types of bromeliad species in a porous, well-draining potting mixture when cultivating them as houseplants. Most bromeliads will flourish in the same environments as epiphytic orchids. They are, however, much more resilient to climate changes, droughts, and negligent feeding than orchids. These are the basic needs for bromeliads to thrive in your home:

Light

The amount of light needed for growth is bromeliad-specific. Different bromeliads have a specific amount of light for their optimal development. Some perform well under bright light, while others require little light.

Soil

Bromeliads grown indoors benefit from the fast-draining potting soil. It should be able to keep moisture and drain effectively for optimal development. You may also use orchid mix, soilless potting mix, or charcoal. You may grow many epiphytic bromeliads in pots or try growing them as genuine “air plants” attached to logs or boards (typically secured with ties or glue).

Water

Like most green plants, bromeliads need water for their survival. Although some are tolerant of dry conditions, they prefer moist soil. When planted indoors, your water use depends on the light and temperature levels. It’s also important not to expose these plants to too high humidity. Usually, the central cup of the bromeliad can hold water for some time. But it’s still essential to check it regularly to avoid any salt build-up. You should do watering in sparing quantities during their growing season.

Epiphytic bromeliads require more attention. You could use a spray bottle or give them a considerable amount of water once per week. 

Temperature

Bromeliads thrive in temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Some plants in this species can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees. They can also thrive in 60 percent humidity indoors. While bromeliads can tolerate various temperatures, most require shelter from the cold. If you want to include bromeliads in your landscape but live in a cold area, grow them in pots you can bring inside for the winter.

Bromeliads are from tropical and humid regions, so the trick is to imitate those same conditions in your house or garden.

Potting techniques 

Bromeliads are an excellent option for your indoor garden because you can plant them in pots and containers. Their adaptive features make them a very tolerant plant species. 

If you are going to plant your Bromeliad in a pot, then you know that the soil must be able to hold water well. A good soil mix for such plants is four parts peat moss, one part vermiculite, one part perlite, one part sharp sand and one part composted cow manure. Check out this link for information on repotting succulents.

Where do Bromeliads grow?

Bromeliads are classified three ways  based on where they grow: 

  • Terrestrial Bromeliads

These species grow and thrive on land. They manufacture their food through photosynthesis. Bromeliads in this category have adapted to dry periods. They have specialized cells called trichomes that help shield them from ultraviolet radiation. 

  • Saxicolous Bromeliads

“Saxum” is a Latin word for “rock” and “colous,” meaning “living or growing in or on.” These species of Bromeliads thrive in rocky areas. They have an impressive tolerance to little water. Their roots have also adapted to penetrate through cracks and rock fissures to locate moisture or organic nutrients. They also can be found on cliff faces. 

  • Epiphytic Bromeliads 

Most Bromeliads which are epiphytes, grow on other plants or trees. Some thrive on telephone wires, wood slabs, stumps, or driftwood. They transpire like other green plants and carry out photosynthesis for their food. Therefore, they are not parasites as they get their nutrients from the air. This mode of nutrition has earned them the name “Air plants.” 

What types of Bromeliads are best for my home?

Bromeliads are beautiful plants. Here is where it gets more exciting. Contrary to popular opinion, Bromeliads are inexpensive and easy to grow. They are perfect as indoor plants. Bromeliads should be top of your list of plants to buy if you want to beautify your home. Here is a compilation of the best types of Bromeliads for indoor gardening:

Guzmania spp.

The leaf colors of Guzmania bromeliads range from orange, yellow, and red to purple and even white. Their colors are eye-catching, but the flowers are a little inconspicuous. You can keep these hybrids as houseplants and  grow new plants from “pups” around the base of the plant for several weeks. They also do not do well in the sun.

  • Native Region: Subtropical Americas (North, Central, and South)
  • USDA Growing Zones: 10-11 typically planted as houseplants
  • Height: Variable depending on species; most reach approximately 24 inches.
  • Light Exposure: Bright, filtered sunlight

Aechmea spp. 

The Aechmea genus has some of the toughest bromeliad species and is one of the most widely grown indoor types. Common species in the genus include A. chantinii (zebra plant) and A. fasciata (urn plant). These Bromeliads will bloom when they are 2–5 years old, when they reach maturity. When the flower head on an Urn Plant dies, the rosette of leaves starts to die and is replaced by “pups” at the plant’s base.

Their eye-catching bracts and blossoms can linger for as long as six months.

  • Native Region: Subtropical Americas (North, Central, and South)
  • USDA Growing Zones: 10-11; typically planted as houseplants
  • Height: Depends on the species
  • Light Exposure: Bright, indirect light with plenty of shade is ideal for plants cultivated outside.

Tillandsia spp.

With over 500 species, Tillandsia is the genus with the largest number of members in the bromeliad family. Most of them are epiphytes. Some Tillandsia species grow on rocks and are saxicolous or terrestrial. They produce violet, blue, white, pink, and yellow tubular flowers. These plants require consistent watering for their survival.

  • Native Region: Southern South America and the United States
  • USDA Growing zones: 11; typically planted as indoor plants
  • Height: Depends on the species
  • Light Exposure: Bright, filtered sunlight

Cryptanthus spp.

Most of the plants in the Cryptanthus genus are pot-friendly terrestrial bromeliads. They have a distinctive growth pattern with pointed leaves clustered in low, tight rosettes. Despite their poor reputation, Cryptanthus plants will bloom all year long if cultivated in optimal conditions. Depending on the species, they range from having dark green leaves to bright pink and crimson leaves. This genus has tremendous variation, which has hundreds of species and cultivars.

  • Native Region: Tropical Central America and South America, particularly Brazil.
  • USDA Growing Zones: 10–11; typically cultivated as houseplants
  • Height: They grow up to 10 inches tall
  • Light Exposure: Bright, filtered light or partial sun exposure cover.

Dyckia (Dyckia spp.)

The Dyckia genus contains roughly 120 native species in Brazil and its environs. Most of these plants are terrestrial species that thrive in pots as houseplants. Dyckia Bromeliads have sharply pointed, thick, meaty leaves organized in rosettes. Despite this, they can go for extended periods without water. The leaves can be red, gray, green, yellow, or gray. They bloom in the spring with many red, yellow, or orange blooms on a tall, slender stem. These bromeliads rank among the toughest. Many of these plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees. In some climes, they are useful as outdoor landscape plants.

  • Native Region: South America, especially Brazil
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 8–24 inches; varies by species
  • Light Exposure: Full sun or partial shade

Billbergia spp.

When growing epiphytic Billbergia indoors, we can blend potting soil with bark chips and peat moss to make watering easier. Their blossoms can be white, blue, yellow, green, or purple. Different species have different growth habits, but most have rosette-shaped leaves. Some have grassy leaves that fall to the ground. A few of the more well-known species are B. distachia, B. nutans, B. pyramidalis, and B. saundersii.

  • Native Region: Originally from Mexico, Central America, and Brazil
  • USDA Growing Zones: 10–11; some species can withstand light frost
  • Height: Species-specific height
  • Bright, indirect light from the sun

Hechtia spp.

We find about 50 species of Hechtia only in Mexico. Here, they coexist with cacti and succulents on rocky hillsides. These are some of the toughest cultivated plants, going dormant to survive during dry spells. Long, spine-edged leaves grouped in rosettes that cling to the ground characterize the growing plant. Like most bromeliad varieties, the plants grow offshoot “pups” alongside the parent plants. They flower once before dying. Ideal temperatures for these terrestrial plants are between 60 and 80 degrees. It’s important to pot them in a grittier potting soil, such as a cactus mix. They can easily withstand drops into the 20s or increases in temperature to the 100s. 

  • Native Region: Mexico
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: Species-specific height
  • Light Exposure: Full sun or partial shade

 

Neoregelia spp

Neoregelia bromeliads lack tall flowering bracts. They’re also shorter than their spectacular cousins. But these plants typically have stunning foliage that can add months’ worth of color. The species of this genus are also a little more cold-resistant than certain other bromeliad varieties. They can withstand temperatures as low as 40 degrees. Neoregelia carolinae is the most widespread Neoregelia species with its slender variegated leaves. Small blooms appear as the cup’s center turns red while it is in bloom.

  • Native Region: Central, North, and South America in the subtropics
  • USDA Typically planted as houseplants; growing zones: 9–10
  • Height: Variable by species; most plants are under one foot
  • Light Exposure: Bright, indirect light from the sun

Vriesea spp

These type of Bromeliads are great houseplants. They have arching leaves with smooth edges and a flower head that looks like a sword and has bright red bracts. They are classic Bromeliads with a vase in the middle and a ring of leaves around it. Their name, Flaming Swords Bromeliads, comes from the way they are arranged. The leaves are between 1 and 1.5 feet long, and the flower head can be as long as 2 feet. It could take between 3 and 5 years to get to where it blooms, but the display could last up to 6 months. After they stop blooming, their rosette of leaves dies and is replaced by offsets at the base of the plant. These offsets can be used to make more plants.

  • Native Region: Subtropical North America, Central America, and South America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 10–11; usually grown as houseplants
  • Height: Variable by species
  • Light Exposure: Bright, indirect light

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