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What Are the Best Tips for Growing Bromeliads?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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The best tips for growing bromeliads depend on the species of the bromeliads. There are approximately 3,000 species in the Bromiliaceae family, and though most members are from the tropics around Central and South America, they have vastly different needs in terms of lighting, fertilizer, soil, temperature, and humidity. Caring for these plants can be easy or difficult, depending on the species, so growers new to the bromeliad family should make sure to pick out a plant that isn't prone to health problems or difficult to maintain.

Growing bromeliads can be done in a range of temperatures and humidities, though the majority of these plants prefer moderate temperatures in the range of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1 to 26.7 degrees Celsius) and moderate humidity levels. This makes these plants ideal houseplants, though people who live in tropical climates can successfully grow them outdoors. Most bromeliads do not thrive when temperatures vary much, so they should be placed in a location that has a relatively constant temperature over the course of a day and through the seasons.

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Water needs for bromeliads also differ from species to species. Anyone who grows bromeliads should find out which species prefer to remain wetter and which like to be drier, and then water the plants accordingly. Most species of bromeliads need their roots to remain moist at all times. Overwatering can cause the roots to rot and under-watering can cause them to dry out and die, so a balance needs to be maintained for the plants to thrive.

The type of substrate a bromeliad should be planted in also varies from species to species. Some can be attached to rocks or tree branches, leaving the roots exposed to the air. Other types of bromeliads prefer soil that drains quickly. Planting a bromeliad in the proper material is essential to the good health of the plant.

Fertilizer should be used frequently with some species of bromeliad and never with others. People who are growing bromeliads need to check carefully what the plant's fertilizer needs are so that the plant doesn't die because of over- or under-fertilizing. When fertilizer is needed, those formulated specifically for bromeliads should be used rather than generic plant food.

Some species of bromeliads prefer full shade, while others need to be in direct sunlight. Bromeliads that have been placed in the wrong type of light should be moved gradually into the correct lighting conditions. A sudden change in the amount of light a bromeliad receives can harm the plant.

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