Like colorful neon lights, vibrant bromeliad flowers and bracts make a bold statement that can't be ignored. To show off these peacocks of the houseplant world to full effect, present them against a clean, simple backdrop, such as a white windowsill. The bright bracts of most bromeliads last for many months, and the flowers peep out between or above them.
Most bromeliads, including Guzmania, Tillandsia, and Vriesea, love the warmth of a heated home but suffer if the humidity is low. Plant them in free-draining soil and water them regularly when they're actively growing, reducing the frequency in winter. Don't overwater bromeliads because soggy soil can kill them. To provide humidity, mist them once or twice a week with soft water or rainwater, applied at room temperature.
Water With Care
When watering Vriesea, pour into the central cup formed by the rosette of leaves. Also water the soil to keep it moist.
Tillandsia has few roots and clings to trees in its natural habitat, absorbing water and nutrients through its leaves. Provide similar conditions by misting the leaves once a month with a quarter-strength balanced liquid fertilizer, ideally diluted with rainwater.
Long-Lasting Blooms, Long-Lasting Color
For prolonged flower power, African violets, which come in many colors, can bloom almost all year. Other good choices include the orange-flowered dwarf pomegranate, statuesque lantana and plumbago, with its blue summer flowers.
Masses of tiny fragrant blue flowers adorn the Persian violet for many months from spring and throughout the summer.
Other Plant Options
Persian violet (Exacum affine)