Types of Bromeliads available from FloraZim
There are 3000+ Species of bromeliads from 56 Genera & there are thousands of hybrids.
Bromeliads naturally come from the Americas, mainly South America but also from lower North America & Caribbean - only one species comes from Africa.
In their native habitats Bromeliads grow in such varied conditions growing from Sea level to 4200m & in Rain Forests to Deserts – there is a Bromeliad for everyone.
The main species available in Zimbabwe are Aechmea, Nidularium, Neoregelia & Tillandsia (Air Plants). The species being imported & now commonly available from Nurseries are Vriesea & Guzmania hybrids.
Bromeliads have specially constructed leaf rosettes capable of holding water in the centre and theses are known as vases or tanks. They different from other plants and have special cells in these leaves which can absorb water & food. Bromeliads rely heavily on the storage of water and nutrients stored in the central vase to survive during unfavourable months, making them water wise. Generally their roots are very small & only used to anchor them to branches of trees & rocks etc.
As bromeliads are such a large family and come from such varied habitats it is difficult to give exact care instructions for each species but here are a few general rules for looking after them.
Most bromeliads will grow happiest in dappled shade. If the shade is too deep they will not flower very well and will not have much colour in their flowers, also plants with coloured leaves will generally just be a deep green. Too much direct midday sun will burn their leaves.
As a general rule bromeliads with thick, leathery leaves usually with a darker colour (purples & red leave) & thorns on the leaves can take more sun than the green thinner leaved types.
Bromeliads are pretty drought tolerant & as long as they have water in their centre vase they will survive happily. They do not like their roots to be sodden especially in heavy soils.
The flower on a bromeliad last between 2 to 4 months depending on the type. Each bromeliad plant will only flower once but will happily grow for a year or more. Depending on the type of bromeliad it may take a year to 2+ years to flower again.
The Soil must be a light free draining mix with lots of organic matter. They dislike heavy clay soils that do not drain quickly.
After flowering the mother plant will produce several pups which start growing between the leaves. When these pups are half the size of the mother they can either be gently removed from the mother plant or left on to grow as a clump.
If you chose to remove each of the pups, gently wiggle them from side to side and they will come loose from the mother plant. Let these pups dry for a couple of days then plant them up in a free draining mix. In a few months they will be fully rooted. Do not throw the mother plant away she will keep on producing more pups.
Bromeliads are generally easy to grow and are pest free plants. The majority of problems stem from growing conditions that are incorrect.
Brown tips on leave may be an indication of too much water and plants may rot entirely. This is especially true if the soil is too heavy and constantly wet. Do not stand your pot plants in trays constantly containing water - trays are a big killer of potted plants.
If your plant is not flowering again there could be several reasons.
Depending on the type of plant it may only flower once a year but could take up to 2+ years to flower again – be patient.
Too much shade can be a factor especially if your plant is deep green, growing slowly and not flowering - try moving your plant into an area where it gets more light.
Try fertilising with a bit of weak liquid fertiliser.
Dogs & especially puppies are attracted to the smell of stagnant water in the centre of your bromeliads & will often eat or pull the centre out of your prized plants. Gently flushing out the central vase of you plant with fresh water will hopefully deter them. Even if your dog has eaten all the leaves, try planting the remaining root, it may produce a new plant.
If you find mosquitos breeding in the centre of you bromeliads again gently flush the stagnant water out of the centre of your plant using your hose pipe.