Bromeliads are happy to grow in partial shade in your garden, where many other plants struggle, but in the wild you are much more likely to see them growing overhead, in a fork of a tree or on a dead tree trunk.
Queen’s Tears (Billbergia nutans)
They come in a big variety of shapes and sizes – some are uniformly coloured with a bright bract such as guzmania, tillandsia that have thin leaves, and others like neoreglia are striped or speckled - but they all offer amazing zingy flowers!
Broms have small root systems and require very little feeding as a result of this. In the wild they use the moisture and organics in the bark of their host to sustain themselves as they establish their roots. The rosette shape formed by the thick, fleshy leaves captures water and leaf litter, which is funneled from the tip of the leaf down to the heart of the plant. Here the leaf litter decomposes and is converted into nutrients to be used by the plant to survive. Clever, isn’t it!
Most bromeliad species go through a single bloom cycle after which it expends all of its energy into making pups. Bromeliads are mainly propagated through their shoot-offs that you can harvest and replant producing a multitude of beautiful plants.
When propagating, ensure that:
- Remove the off-shoots once they are one-third to half of the size of the parent plant.
- Use orchid mix when potting the pups into pots
- Plant the new shoot-offs into a container a few centimeters deeper than where they were joined at the base of the mother plant.