How to Plant Bromeliads

Learn about this low-maintenance family of plants known for its clustered leaves and showy, long-lasting flowers.

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Dramatic Bromeliads

Native to South America, these low-maintenance plants cling to trees and rocks, surviving off rain and leaf mold or growing on the jungle floor; they also live in arid areas. With their amazing ability to adapt to conditions, bromeliads can actually make very good houseplants.

Materials Needed:

  • a heavy decorative pot with a plastic saucer to fit the bottom
  • driftwood for your "tree trunk"
  • rocks to fill the pot
  • sphagnum moss
  • plastic coated wire
  • an assortment of bromeliads

Bromeliad Basics

Many bromeliads are epiphytes, which means they grow on other living plants but take their nutrients from the air and an occasional watering or spritzing.

When buying a bromeliad, look for one that's not in full flower; a flowering bromeliad is one that is aging and may not last very long.

As bromeliads reach the end of their life span, they sprout new plants, or pups, at their base. With patience you can grow the pups to maturity and encourage them to bloom.

How to Plant Bromeliads

1. Drop the plastic saucer into the bottom of the pot.

2. Fill the pot half-full with rocks of your choice.

3. Hold the driftwood in the center of the half-filled pot and add rocks to the rim of the pot so that the "tree trunk" stands securely.

4. Wrap the roots of larger bromeliads in sphagnum moss and push them firmly around the base of the tree trunk.

5. Use plastic coated wire to wrap the moss around some smaller bromeliads, which will be attached with the wire to branches of the tree. Use as much wire as needed to secure the plants firmly to the tree. You can use as many or as few bromeliads as you choose.

6. Tiny Tillandsia, or air plants, can even be attached to the trunk with drops of glue. To care for your bromeliad tree, keep it out of direct sunlight and simply spray the plants with water to keep the sphagnum moss moist.

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