Bromeliad flower turning brown


How to Make Your Bromeliad Bloom

Author: Melanie Dearringer

Blooming, Care and Culture

Bromeliads have beautiful foliage, but they are often sought after for their inflorescence and the colorful leaves that accompany blooming. Unfortunately bromeliads, with the exception of a few genera, bloom only once. New plants will grow, but often they need some encouragement to produce a new flower.


Most nurseries force their bromeliads to bloom so they have attractive color or inflorescence by the time they arrive at the point of sale. Bromeliads are more enticing when they are full of color. This means that you will get to enjoy the color and inflorescence for a few months and then the flower will fade and eventually the plant itself will die.


Before the plant dies it will produce offsets or “pups.” These pups are exact copies of the parent plant. Therefore, the new plants will produce the same colorful bracts or inflorescence as the mother plant. This takes time. Some bromeliads can take three years or more to reach maturity and produce a new flower. However, you can speed the process along. Using natural or chemical means to encourage flowering is called forcing. It is possible to force a bromeliad to bloom before it is ready.

First you must decide what you will do with the pups. The pups can be removed and repotted individually. You should wait until the pups are at least one-third the size of the mother plant. Waiting until the pup is half the size of the mother will give your pup an even better chance. You can also leave your pups attached in a clump to the mother plant. Simply remove the mother plant with a sharp knife when it becomes unsightly.

Once the pup has matured you can force it to bloom. It may take up to a year for the pup to be ready for forcing, but some varieties will be able to establish faster. For more information on transplanting pups see this post.


An easy way to try to force your bromeliad to bloom is the ‘apple in a bag’ approach. First you need to find a clear plastic bag with no holes in it. It should be large enough to fit the entire plant container and bromeliad inside. Garden centers or even aquatic pet stores should have bags like these available.

Remove any water that may be sitting on the plant. The central tank and leaf axils must be empty. Then place the whole pot in the bag with a ripe apple. Tie the bag shut at the top and make sure there are no openings. Let the plant sit in the bag with the apple for 7-10 days. Make sure the pot is kept in a shaded area as too much direct sunlight could damage the plant. Finally remove the pot from the bag. Six to fourteen weeks from when you remove the pot the bromeliad should begin to show signs of blooming such as colorful bracts or inflorescence.


It is the ethylene gas that is produced when the apple ripens that stimulates the bromeliads to bloom. There are also chemical versions of ethylene available. They can come in gas, liquid or a crystal form. Unless you are a commercial grower you will most likely want to use the liquid form. Commercial growers often use the gas, but it is much more difficult to work with. Tropiflora, a bromeliad producer and seller, recommends Florel, but anything with the active ingredient Ethefon will work. There are several different products on the market.

The products have varying concentrations of Ethefon so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for handling and dilution closely. Only mix what you will need and throw away any extra after treating the plants. The active ingredient becomes inactive very quickly once diluted with water. You should not use the product more than four hours after it has been mixed. Spray the top surface of the plants with the mixture so they are just covered, but not dripping. Alternatively, you can add about an ounce of the mixture to the central tank.

The advantage to the chemical method is that it is slightly faster than the apple method. It will still be 6-14 weeks from the application of the product to the bloom, but you do not have to wait the extra 10-14 days that the apple must sit in the bag.


-Enjoy the wild beauty of bromeliads.

A few other conditions must be in place before you force your bromeliad to bloom. You should not fertilize your bromeliad two weeks before you force the bloom until two weeks after the bloom begins. Temperatures at night should remain consistently above 65 degrees during the time you are forcing the bloom.

Be aware that different bromeliad species will respond differently to forcing. Some may take longer than others to flower. It may take some trial and error to determine exactly how long it will take a certain bromeliad to bloom.

In general, Guzmania, some Aechmea and Vriesea genera respond very well when forced to bloom.


If you have been patiently waiting for your bromeliads to bloom, there maybe a reason your bromeliad has not produced any inflorescence. Too much or too little sunlight may prohibit a bromeliad to bloom.

Sunshine Coast Bromeliad Society warns that bromeliads are often reluctant to bloom when fertilized with too much nitrogen. The nitrogen will keep the bromeliad growing and producing pups, but it will delay flowering. They recommend using a fertilizer with Nitrogen 3.0, Phosphorus 8.0, and Potassium 25.0 plus trace elements. This combination will put enough stress on the plant to produce color and a bloom quickly.


-A blooming bromeliad

Bromeliads are forced to bloom for various reasons. Growers force blooms so that the plants will be colorful for sale during certain seasons. Pineapples are forced by growers to bloom so that they produce fruit at the same time making harvesting easy. Horticulturists force blooms so that they can create crosses between varieties that would normally bloom at different times. Many hybrids would be impossible without forced blooming. Hobbyists force blooms to keep their bromeliads colorful and beautiful as often as possible. Whatever your reason forcing bromeliads to bloom is a simple and easy process.

Forcing Bromeliad blooms requires only an apple and a little patience. With a few short steps you can have your bromeliad blooming in 3 months instead of 3 years.

Have you had any luck forcing your bromeliad to bloom? What methods have you tried?

Bromeliads are unique plants that make gorgeous additions to any indoor plant collection. They are pretty easy to grow indoor plants, but caring for bromeliads is quite different than caring for your average houseplant. Don’t worry, bromeliad plant care isn’t difficult, it’s just… well, different.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a tropical climate where the temperatures never get below freezing, then you can grow bromeliads outside in your garden! The rest of us have to stick to growing bromeliads indoors.

Bromeliads make wonderful flowering houseplants that grow well in low light conditions. They are also pet friendly houseplants that are safe to grow if you have cats or dogs! Woohoo!

There are tons of different varieties of bromeliads, and many of them will grow well indoors as houseplants. I love the variety of colors that bromeliads add to my houseplant collection, and they are very unique indoor plants.

In this comprehensive bromeliad plant care guide you will find…

  • Bromeliad Plant Facts
  • Bromeliad Flower -vs- Flower Bracts
  • Bromeliad Plant Watering Tips
  • Humidity Requirements
  • Lighting For Bromeliads
  • Best Bromeliad Potting Mix
  • Best Fertilizer For Bromeliads
  • Propagating Bromeliad Plants
  • Bromeliad Houseplant Pests
  • Pruning Bromeliads
  • Troubleshooting Common Problems

Bromeliad Plant Facts

Like orchids, bromeliads are epiphytic, which means they grow on trees, rocks or other plants, and they get their water and nutrients from the air and rainwater. In many ways, caring for bromeliads is similar to orchids, so if you already have orchids, bromeliad plant care will be a snap!

Unlike most plants, they don’t get their nutrients from their roots, their roots are what they use to attach themselves to the growing support.

Epiphytic bromeliad growing on a tree

Some types of bromeliad types can be difficult to grow as houseplants, because they like humidity and can dry out too quickly in the average home (especially during the dry winter months).

But for the most part, bromeliads make great, easy-care houseplants.

Bromeliads are slow growing plants, and most of them will only bloom once in their lives. They are also short lived plants, and most bromeliad varieties will die after flowering.

Sad I know, but they usually have lots of babies before they die so you’ll get even more plants out of the deal (but more on that later).

Amazing epiphytic bromeliad tree

Bromeliad Flower -vs- Flower Bracts

Many people think that the large colorful growth that makes bromeliads so popular is the flower, which is a common misconception. But that is the flower bract, and not the actual flower. Bromeliad flowers grow out of the floral bracts.

Some bromeliad flowers are large beautiful spikes, and others are tiny and insignificant. Many people are confused when their bromeliad starts to flower, since they thought the flower bracts were the flowers all along.

Another common question I get is “how long does it take for bromeliad pups to flower”? Bromeliad pups have to grow to full maturity before they will bloom. So, depending on the variety of the plant, it’ll likely take 1-3 years for the pups to reach full maturity.

Bromeliad flower spike

Bromeliad Plant Care Guide

If you’re new to growing these tropical beauties, you’ll find that bromeliad plant care is much different than any other plant you probably have.

Since they take up nutrients and water through their leaves, you’ll need to take special care in watering, feeding, and potting your bromeliads.

Don’t panic, I’ve got you covered…

How to take care of a bromeliad

Bromeliad Plant Watering Tips

One thing that’s different about bromeliad plant care than other plants is that you don’t want to water your bromeliads through the soil, instead you should keep their center cup filled with water, and their soil dry.

As long as there’s fresh water in the center cup, your bromeliad will be happy.

It’s also important to keep the water in the cup clean and fresh, you don’t want stagnant water sitting in the cup. Dump out the water and refresh it every week or so to keep the water from going stagnant.

Also, be careful about the type of water you use on your bromeliad plants, because they are very sensitive to the chemicals in regular tap water.

Using tap water on bromeliads can damage or even kill the plant. Rainwater or filtered water are the best types of water to use on bromeliads.

Bromeliad plant watering in the center cup

Bromeliad Humidity Requirements

Bromeliads like humid air, so consider misting your plants on a regular basis if the air in your home is dry.

You could grow your bromeliad houseplant in rooms that are more humid, like a bathroom or in the kitchen close to the sink.

You could also run a humidifier near your bromeliads during the winter to help keep the humidity level consistent in the room. An indoor humidity monitor is handy to help you give your bromeliads the perfect amount of humidity.

Bromeliad red houseplant

Lighting For Bromeliads

When it comes to light, bromeliads aren’t super fussy, and they make great low light indoor plants.

Direct sunlight can burn the leaves, but some bromeliads grown indoors can suffer it they’re not getting enough light too.

For best results, put your bromeliad in a spot where it gets medium to bright light. A small grow light helps a ton if you don’t have any natural light.

Best Bromeliad Potting Mix

Technically speaking, bromeliads don’t need to be potted in soil at all. They don’t get their water or nutrients from the soil, their roots are only used to hold onto trees, plants or other growing supports in the wild.

Bromeliads could be mounted on logs, wood or rocks, or they can be grown in a pot. If you prefer to grow bromeliads in pots, you can buy bromeliad soil mix, or use an orchid soil mix.

Otherwise, you can make your own bromeliad potting soil. The best homemade bromeliad potting mix would be a fast draining soilless mix made with sphagnum moss, bark, perlite and/or other coarse organic materials.

If your potting bromeliads in regular potting soil, take care to keep the soil dry or your bromeliad could rot.

Gorgeous yellow bromeliads

Best Fertilizer For Bromeliads

Bromeliads don’t really need to be fertilized. They are naturally slow-growing plants, and fertilizer isn’t going to help them grow much faster.

But, like any plant, bromeliads will benefit from getting some added nutrients – just make sure to fertilizer sparingly. Also, be sure to always use a natural organic liquid fertilizer, because bromeliads are very sensitive to chemical plant fertilizer.

If you’d like to fertilizer your bromeliads, use a half strength liquid organic houseplant fertilizer or compost tea during the spring and summer (don’t fertilizer bromeliads during the winter).

Bromeliad starting to bloom

Propagating Bromeliad Plants

Like I mentioned above, most bromeliads will eventually fade and die after they’re done flowering.

This is a sad fact of life, but the good news is that they usually have lots of babies before they die. Bromeliads that are coming to the end of their life will grow tiny baby pups around the base of the main plant.

To propagate your bromeliad, you can simply remove these pups from the mother plant, or just allow them to grow after the main plant has died back and been removed.

Colorful bromeliads, a tropical indoor plant, for sale at a local garden center

Bromeliad Houseplant Pests

Bromeliads don’t usually have too much trouble with bugs, but houseplant scale or mealybugs can be a problem, so be sure to keep an eye out during your regular bromeliad plant care routine.

Organic neem oil is a natural insecticide that is very effective at getting rid of these nasty houseplant pests. Horticultural oil or organic insecticidal soap also works great.

You can also use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to kill mealybugs and houseplant scale on contact, and to remove them from the plant.

Never use chemical pesticides on houseplant pests because they can build up a resistance to chemicals, making pest problems worse, and chemical pesticides can also damage your bromeliad plant.

Pruning Bromeliads

For the most part, you don’t need to worry about pruning your bromeliad plants. Dead or dying leaves can be pruned off at any time. Trim off the flower spike after it dies back, but keep the plant growing as long as you can so that it will have plenty of time to grow pups.

Once the main plant dies back, you can prune it out and leave the pups growing in the pot. Otherwise, you can remove the pups from the dead mother plant, and pot them up on their own.

Stunning pink bromeliad plant (Aechmea)

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Bromeliad flower turning brown, or the color is fading – Once the flower bract (what most people refer to as the flower) starts to turn brown or the color fades, it’s a sign that the plant is done blooming and is starting to die, which is a normal part of the bromeliad life cycle.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to save the plant once it starts dying. But, before you toss it out, be sure to check around the base of the plant to see if there are any bromeliad pups growing. I so, you have lots of new plants to replace the dying one! Leave the pups growing, and trim away the mother plant once it has completely died back.

Small, hairlike blossoms growing out of the flower – This actually IS the flower! What most people refer to as the bromeliad flower is the floral bract, and not the actual flower. Many types of bromeliad flowers are tiny and insignificant, and can look weird once they start to grow – which can be alarming if you’ve never seen a bromeliad flower before!

Miniature bromeliads for sale at garden center

If you’re wondering where to buy bromeliads, you’re in luck! They are one of the most common plants sold in the houseplant section at most garden centers, or you can buy bromeliads online.

If you’re thinking about buying a bromeliad, I recommend giving it a try. They look like they’d be harder to grow than they actually are, and bromeliad plant care is pretty easy once you get the hang of it!

Products I Recommend

More Posts About Growing Houseplants

  • How To Care For Poinsettia Plants
  • How To Care For Rubber Plants: The Ultimate Guide
  • Tropical Houseplant Care Guide: How To Grow Tropical Plants Indoors
  • How To Care For A Voodoo Lily Plant

Do you have any bromeliad plant care tips to add to this list? Please share them in the comments section below.

Do Bromeliads Rebloom?

Bromeliads are many things — beautiful, exotic, easy to care for, versatile and varied. But one thing that bromeliads aren’t? Eager to rebloom.

However, the answer to the question of whether bromeliads rebloom isn’t actually as straightforward as it seems. Confused yet? Allow us to explain.

First, let’s start off with a few facts:

  • With a few exceptions, bromeliads only bloom once.
  • However, the blooms last an exceptionally long time — months or even up to a year.
  • Bromeliads grow and bloom year round. It’s always bromeliad season!

Now, let’s get on to the heart of the question. To truly understand the answer to our title question, it’s essential to understand the lifecycle of bromeliads.

The Lifecycle of Bromeliads

What happens when a bromeliad bloom dies?

After you’ve enjoyed your bromeliad bloom for many months, you may start to notice it browning or losing petals. This is a sign that your plant is reaching the end of its blooming cycle. At this point, there is not anything you can do to “save” the flower — once it begins to brown and fade, the only option left is removal.

Recommended: Caring For Your Bromeliad

How can I safely remove the bloom from my bromeliad?

When a bromeliad bloom become an eyesore on your plant, it’s time to remove it. Use a clean pair of shears to cut as far down the flower stalk as you can.

So…what do I do with my bromeliad now?

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Once you’ve removed the flower of your bromeliad, you can still continue caring for your plant exactly as you have been doing. With the flower removed, your bromeliad will eventually begin producing “pup” plants. Your new plant offspring can stay on the parent plant until they are about one-third of the size of the parent. At this point, you can remove the pups and replant them — and you guessed it: the pups will then bloom on their own.

So, as you can see, your original bromeliad won’t rebloom, but the pup plants will begin the same lifecycle, starting several more months of beautiful bromeliad blooms.

One Final Word About Bromeliads

With all of that said, many people find replanting the pup plants of bromeliads to be too tedious of a care job, so don’t feel like a failure if you aren’t up for transplanting. While you can replant your bromeliad pups to enjoy fresh blooms again, successfully nurturing new plants into a blooming cycle can be a big challenge. If you feel up for the challenge, go for it! If not, you may be better off just buying new bromeliads and enjoying the long-lasting blooms for as long as they stick around.

Need to restock the bromeliads in your home? Browse our collection to find a new favorite today.

I get asked “why is my bromeliad plant turning brown” and “why is my bromeliad looking sick” every now and then. It’s time to do a post which addresses these concerns because there’s 1 reason which stands out above the others.

There are many things which can cause houseplants (or plants in general) to turn brown. Here are a few reasons: too dry, too wet, too much sun or your water is too high in salts and minerals.

My answer to “why is my bromeliad plant turning brown”:

In the case of bromeliads, if the leaves are turning brown and/or drooping, it’s because the mother plant is dying. It’s part of the lifecycle of a bromeliad – the mother plant dies out and the pups (a term used for babies in the plant world) carry on. These pups usually appear before the mother even starts to die out.

I’ve presented this fact before in all the posts and videos I’ve done on bromeliads but you may have missed it amongst all the care info. That, along with the fact that my guzmania was dying out, prompted me to do a post dedicated to this topic.

Guzmanias are extremely popular because of their tall, showy flowers. Mine was dying out so here’s what that looks like. I didn’t take a before pic but this was taken after half the leaves had been cut off.

So you’ve brought your beautiful bromeliad home from the store or garden center and found just the right spot for it. The flower starts to turn brown after a few months, completely dies and you cut it off. Eventually you notice that the plant is slowly turning brown too. In the case of aechmeas, the leaves tend to bend and droop a bit.

If the tip of your bromeliad leaves are turning brown, no worries about that. These beauties are native to the tropics and the sub tropics so it’s just a reaction to the dry air in our homes.

One way you can be sure your bromeliad is turning brown because it’s drying out is to check the pups. If they’re healthy and looking good, then the plant is on the way out. If you’re keep the growing medium too wet, then the lower leaves will turn brown and ultimately turn mushy.

Here’s a close up of what the guzmania leaves look like as they’re dying out.

What you can do:

You can cut off the unsightly leaves 1 by 1, cut the mother plant back right when it starts to turns or wait until it’s completely brown and cut it back. I cut the leaves off my guzmania 1 by 1 and then when it was 1/2 gone, cut the mother plant back to the base (you’ll see this in the video above). This exposes the pups to more light and gives them room to grow.

You can either leave the pups attached to the base of the mother plant and let them grow that way, remove and pot up the bromeliad pups like I always do. I wait until they get to be a good size, at least 5″ or 1/3 the size of the mother, before taking them off so the roots are better developed.

What the pups look like after cutting the mother plant back – nice & green!

So don’t worry if your bromeliad is dying out like mine pictured here and in the video. It’s just part of their cycle of life but the pups carry on the legacy. Just be patient in regards to getting them to bloom again. with proper growing conditions, it takes 2 – 5 years for a bromeliad pup to reach maturity.

That’s why I choose to not save and pot up all of my bromeliad pups. I always have at least 1 recently purchased bromeliad in flower for that instant pop of color.

This is why neoregelias are my favorites. Out of the 5 different types of bromeliads I did the series on 8 months ago, this mother plant is still thriving & looking great.

Happy indoor gardening,

What do you do when the bromeliad flower on your plant begins to fade and die?

Question: My Guzmania bromeliad plant is done blooming. How should I care for it? Patricia, Georgia

Answer: Patricia, a few months have probably past since you got your Guzmania bromeliad.

The “flower” I’m sure was beautiful and added color in the right spot. Indoors, I get about 4, sometimes 5 months of color out of my guzmanias. It is one reason I like the giant tropical bromeliads for indoor color.

Your timing is perfect as I have a guzmania just about ready to “remove” its bloom.

Is your bromeliad flower turning brown?

You’ve held on as long as you could and now, the flower is fading. In fact, it is getting ugly and some of the tips of the foliage could be starting to turn brown. So let’s answer your question: “The guzmania bloom is gone, what do I do now with the plant?”

Let’s first add some additional Questions You Need Answers To:

  • Do I Cut The Flower Off?
  • Will The Bromeliad Die
  • Will The Bromeliad Bloom Again?

Do I Cut The Bromeliad Flower Off

The answer is Yes. The plant has finished its course and no matter what you try:

  • Moving the plant to bright light or a location with high humidity
  • Applying liquid fertilizer
  • Repotting in a well-drained soil
  • Placing the plant where it receives better air circulation

… you are not going to be able to make the flower spike “hang on.” The bromeliad varieties we specifically are focused on are the “tank bromeliads” – Aechmeas, Guzmanias and Vrieseas.

This is one part of bromeliad house plant care which makes people nervous!

Take a sharp knife or a pair of your favorite pruning shears – we like these – and cut off the bloom or flower stalk as far down as you can in the central cup. You may not have any color but you can keep growing your bromeliad plant.

Leaves and flower removed from the plant, allows the new “pups” to develop on the mother plant.

With the flower spike removed along with some of the leaves the rosette of this “urn plant” looks rather deformed and ugly but be patient! This allows the new pups to develop.

Will The Bromeliad Die: Bromeliads Plants Care

Make no changes to your bromeliad care. Keep growing your bromeliad plant just as you have in the past. It probably is a good time to give the leaves a cleaning with some clean water and a soft cloth.

The plant over time will begin to put out new plants or what we call “pups” from the base. These pups should remain on the mother plant until they reach approximately 1/3 the size of the parent – I like to leave mine longer.

Now is also a good time to move the plant into some brighter light if possible.

Video: How To Harvest Bromeliad Pups

Video: How To Plant Bromeliad Pups

Will The Bromeliad Bloom Again?

The plant will never bloom again for the original plant. The new “pups” will grow up and they can flower if given enough care and light. They plant in the pictures bloomed once on the original and twice from pups. The plant and its roots are still in the same soil – 3 years later.

Remember, most of the bromeliads produced today never grow to their full size. When the plants reach about 3/4 their full size they are “treated” or forced to flower and shipped out.

The treating is simply a gas such as ethylene (which is given off by ripening fruit) that will force the plant to induce a bloom.

In the Bromeliad family, you will find many wonderful plants for indoor use that can add color to any interior. Sooner or later as B.B. King sang “The Thrill is Gone” and the bromeliad flowers must go, but the plants can still live on and provide you with indoor green.


  • Will my plant bloom again?
  • How to I get my bromeliad to bloom?
  • The bloom it turning brown. What should I do?
  • When should I remove the new plants forming around the original?
  • What kind of potting mix should I use?
  • How do I fertilize them?
  • How much water do they need?
  • How much light do bromeliads need?
  • Why does my plant have white crud around the base of the leaves?
  • What is causing the leaf tips to turn brown?
  • My plant is dying. What can I do?
  • Are there any insect pests?

Will my plant bloom again?

Most of the bromeliads that people grow only bloom a single time. As the plants grow by adding new leaves from the center, it becomes impossible to continue growth after flowering since the inflorescence blocks new leaf growth. The plants direct their energy into growing new vegetative offsets (pups) from growing buds at the base of the leaves. Some species of Dyckia and Hechtia grow lateral inflorescences (from the side rather then the center of the plant). These plants a free to add leaves from the center of original plant continuing its growth (they also pup freely). Some plants in the uncommonly grown genus Deuterocohnia can actually re-bloom on an existing inflorescence. Some can bloom for up to six years on one of these perennial flower spikes.

How do I get my bromeliad to bloom?

Your plant may not be large/mature enough to be ready to bloom yet. To encourage your plant to grow quicker, you can make sure it is well fertilized and watered and is receiving the proper amount of light and warmth. A small addition of Epsom Salts (Magnesium sulfate) may help promote growth and initiate blooming. Magnesium is critical for the production of chlorophyll and flowers. It helps strengthen cell walls and improves plants’ uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur.If the plant is mature enough and just doesn’t seem to want to bloom, blooming can usually be triggered by exposing the plant to ethylene gas. The simplest method for doing this is to enclose the plant in a plastic bag with a ripe apple. Keep it out of the direct sun for a week. The ripe apple will release ethylene which triggers a chemical reaction in the plant telling it to stop producing leaves and start producing a flower spike.

The bloom is turning brown. What should I do?

When the inflorescence ceases to be ornamental, just chop it off with cutter or a sharp pair of scissors. If the plant has not done so already it will soon start producing offsets called “pups”. Since 99% of all bromeliads bloom only once, the plant’s energy is now being redirected into growing the next generation of plants.

When should I remove the new plants forming around the original?

Bromeliads can start forming pups at any time, but most start pupping after they bloom. These pups are ready to be separated when they reach about 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the parent plant. If the pup is starting to form roots, that’s a good indication that the plant can survive on its own. Pups may be removed by cutting with a sharp knife or clippers as close to the mother plant as possible.The longer you leave the pups on the mother plant the quicker they will reach maturity (taking nourishment from mom). Feel free to trim back the leaves of the parent plant if they start interfering with the growth of a pup. Alternatively, taking the pups a bit smaller will encourage the mother plant to throw more pups sooner. It depends on whether you want a bunch of plants (for bedding or to share with friends) or if you just want a few that will mature quicker. If you are in a colder climate you may want to wait until spring time to remove pups that would otherwise be ready to remove in the winter as pups don’t usually root well when it’s cold.Alternatively, if you have a number of evenly spaced pups around the mother, you may opt to cut away the mother plant and let the pups form a clump.

What kind of potting mix should I use?

Again, this depends on the type of bromeliad but for most commonly cultivated bromeliads, they like a light, well-draining mix. One of the standard recipes in use by many growers is to make a mix of equal parts of (1) mulch/pine bark nuggets, (2) perlite and (3) composted peat or professional potting mix (a soil-less mix). You want the medium to be able to be moistened easily but drain well.Most epiphytic (growing on other plants) bromeliads do well in this loose, organic medium but terrestrial bromeliads do better in a mix that retains a bit more moisture. Most terrestrial (growing in the soil) bromeliads do not have leaves that form holding tanks to supply their need for water. These bromeliads include the succulent Dyckias and Hechtias, the grass-like Pitcairnias and the pineapple.

How do I fertilize them?

Bromeliads are generally slow growing plants that do not need a large amount of fertilizer. The best method seems to be use slow, time-release fertilizers lightly sprinked around the base of the plant. Never place fertilizer grains directly in the cup of tank bromeliads, doing this will probably burn the foliage and might foster the growth of algae or invite rot. Liquid fertilizer is another good method (especially for air plants that cannot be fertilized any other way). Use 1/2 to 1/4 of the recommended strength and spray several times per season. Flush tank bromeliads occasionally to prevent the buildup of salts that may damage leaves.Some bromeliads (particularly the grass-like Pitcarinias) can be “pushed” to grow quicker by adding extra fertilizer. Most, though, will not benefit by excessive fertilizer which will tend to make the plants “leggy” (excessively long leaves) or, in the case of those with colorful foliage (like Neoregelias), it will diminish the colors turning the plant green.

How much water do they need?

Bromeliads that have a rosette of overlapping leaves that retain water (often called “tank bromeliads”) should have the rosette kept full of water. Distilled water or rainwater is generally better than tap water (especially if you have hard water). It is a good idea to empty or flush the tank every couple of months and refill it with fresh water. This will clear out organic debris and lessen any chance of fungal rot. In nature, these plants have evolved to catch organic matter, which rots, fertilizing the plants. In cultivation, growers like to keep their plants tidy and debris-free and supplement them with fertilizer to make up for the nutritional loss. Keep the soil around the bromeliad moist (but not wet). This is especially important for non tank bromeliads as they draw their moisture primarily from their roots.For “air plants” like Tillandsias which are grown attached to a piece of wood, cork or sometimes nothing at all, they should be misted a couple of times a week and even more frequently during the dry winter season when grown indoors. As an alternative to misting, plants grown indoors may be dunked or soaked in water for a few minutes to rehydrate the plant. Make sure to drain away any excess water caught between the leaves as this may promote rot.

How much light do bromeliads need?

That depends a lot on the type of bromeliad. Knowing the genus that the plant belongs to within the bromeliad family can tell you a lot about its requirements. A simple rule of thumb that works for most cases is: “Soft leaf – soft light, hard leaf – hard light.” If the leaves of your plant are soft and flexible and especially if they are spineless (like Guzmanias and Vrieseas), they probably grow in the shady understory in the wild and would do best in a lower light area. Those plants with stiffer (usually spiny) leaves (likeAechmeas and Neoregelias) or “airplants” like Tillandsias enjoy bright, filtered light. There are some plants that will tolerate full sun but most like a little protection.Pay attention to your plants and they will tell you if they are unhappy. If a plant is being grown in too little light, it will often lose the bright colors that it had when you bought it. In addition to turning greener (adding chlorophyll) to make the most of the lower light level, many plants will start growing much longer leaves increasing their surface area to compensate. If your plant starts getting “leggy”, try moving it (gradually) to a brighter area. The plant will respond by regaining its color and “tightening up” to form a dense rosette with shorter leaves.On the other extreme, too much light can be the culprit if the plant’s color starts fading or “bleaching”. If brown, sunburned spots start appearing on the portions of the leaves, it is a clear indication that the plant is getting too much light. Sometimes a plant that should be able to take more light fades or burns when placed in a sunny area. The plant might have been living in dimly lit conditions before you obtained it. You can work it out into brighter conditions in stages to acclimate the plant.

Why does my plant have white crud around the base of the leaves?

Tank bromeliads (those forming a water holding chamber from overlapping leaves), sometimes get a white substance on the outside edges of their leaves near the base. This substance is generally caused by hard water. If the plants are watered with water that is high in mineral content (especially calcium), the minerals can crystalize on the bases of the leaves causing deposits that can injure the leaves. Bromeliads with soft leaves such as Vrieseas and Guzmanias can be particularly succeptable to hard-water damage. Using rain water or distilled water is an effective solution for this problem.Another cause might be excessive fertilizer. The nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous salts contained in fertilizers can build up with repeated applications and precipitate into damaging crystals just like hard water. To avoid this problem, don’t over-fertilize and flush the water in the cups occasionally to rid them of the salt buildup.

What is causing the leaf tips to turn brown?

Usually, this is a sign that the plant is too dry. Bromeliads, in general, are very hardy plants capable of surviving much abuse and neglect. To keep them looking their best (and avoid browning leaf tips), you should always keep some water in the central cup (for tank bromeliads) and keep the potting medium evenly moist (but not overly wet).

My plant is dying. What can I do?

If your plant has flowered already, not much. Bromeliads, in general, only bloom a single time and then produce vegetative offsets (called pups) which grow, taking nourishment from the mother plant, and then bloom themselves. The way bromeliads grow is by adding new leaves from the growing point in the center of the plant’s rosette of leaves. When the plant flowers, it switches from adding new leaves to growing sending up a flower spike from the center of the plant. Once this happens, the plant can no longer add new leaves to the center so it instead shifts its growth laterally to producing new growing buds, usually inside the base of the leaves for protection. Sometimes the mother plant can hang around for quite some time producing many pups (and even grand-pups) before running out of energy.If you plant has not yet bloomed, check to see that its conditions are right for this plant. Is the plant too dry? Is the central cup filled with water? Is the soil evenly moist? Is the soil too wet and soggy? Is the plant near a heating or air conditioning vent that is roasting/chilling the plant? Is the plant too cold? Remember, these are TROPICAL plants. Is the light level appropriate for this type of bromeliad?If you can determine what is making the plant unhappy and correct the problem, the plant has a good chance of making a spectacular (although gradual) comeback. Bromeliads are resiliant, slow growing plants. If the plant does not recover it will probably still put its energy into producing some pups which gives you a fresh chance to start over again.

Are there any insect pests?

The main pests of bromeliads are scale and mealy bugs. Scale will look like little round dots covering the top or bottom of the leaves. Mealy bug will look like a white cottony patch. For small outbreaks, these can both be treated by wiping over them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. For more wide spread infestations, try mixing a little mild dishwashing detergent or baby shampoo with water and spraying the infected plants. The soap will coat and suffocate the insects. It is recommended to rinse the plants off with clean water to make sure the pores on the leaves are open so the plant can breathe. DO NOT use heavy oil based insecticides as these are likely to choke the plant as well.

Top 5 Houseplants For Fido (Safe For Pets)

When it comes to our pets, like kids, we are very protective. You might have given up growing green plants in your home just to keep them safe. However, you don’t have to abandon all house plants! These 5 house plants are great and safe for Fido!

5. The African Violet

African violets (Saintpaulia) are well-known, colorfully blooming plants found in many gardens, or kept as houseplants. With an array of colors including violet, blue, red, white, pink, cream, soft yellow, and bi- or multicolored flowers, it’s easy to see why. Care of African violets is relatively easy and requires an environment of bright to moderate, but consistent light in an evenly moist and humid atmosphere. The African Violet is also safe for cats and dogs!

4. Christmas Cactus

Schlumbergera bridgesii or Christmas Cactus is a cactus from the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil. Plants grow on trees or rocks in habitats which are generally shady with high humidity and can be quite different in appearance from their desert-dwelling cousins. This flower is usually available in white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple. This blooming plant is perfect for houses with cats and dogs!

3. Birds Nest Fern

Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus) plants are tropical plants native to Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. Very slow-growing, Asplenium nidus plants are excellent for seasoned houseplant growers. Care for Asplenium nidus plants, sometimes known as spleenwort, requires attention to watering and propagation, but does not require as much attention to fertilization and light as many other houseplants. Bird’s Nest Fern plants, though care is not for the faint of heart, make beautiful additions to homes, rock gardens, and patios, in addition to being safe for your pets.

2. Parlor Palm

Parlor Palm (Chamaedora elegans) is a very popular houseplant with rich green, slightly arched and slender leaves. Parlor Palm plants are often passed from generation to generation as they are very slow-growing and live actively for many years. This pet-friendly house plant ranges from a few inches to three feet, making Parlor Palm plants ideal for tabletop decorations, terrariums, and other small spaces inside a house. Care for Parlor Palm plants is moderately easy; they require an evenly moist environment with moderate humidity.

1. Tropical Bromeliad Plant

Also known as “Orange Star,” Tropical Bromeliad (Guzmania lingulata major) plants add zest and color to homes, gardens, patios and offices. Tropical Bromeliad plant care requires moderate attention and may be difficult for beginners. For a quick burst of color and life, add a tropical bromeliad houseplant to any room. The bromeliad plant is non-toxic for cats and dogs.

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Can you imagine feeling responsible for your dog or cat becoming ill? And all because you liked the look of a beautiful plant that’s poisonous to cats and dogs but you never knew it? This probably isn’t something you want to think about.

What you should be thinking about though is that cats and dogs like to sniff around things, are curious, and will lick and chew at plants… even if they are poisonous. If it did happen, you can guarantee you’d be furious – with yourself of course.

Here’s the thing though… Indoor plants are a staple in many homes, but when there’s pets and possibly toddlers around, adults need to be particularly careful with the plants being introduced.

Some are extremely toxic when ingested. For small, cuddly and ‘curious’ family members prone to licking, chewing things, and drinking any water they see, plants become a blind danger. You can’t ignore that fact.

So, here are the worst of the poisonous indoor plants that dogs and cats cannot tolerate. Avoid these and further down, we’ll throw you a bone (or a feather duster) with a list of 7 alternative indoor plants that are safe for both dogs and cats.

7 Common Indoor Plants Known to be Toxic to Household Pets

1 – The Amazonica Polly Plant

This plant is part of the Alocasia family which is vast, but the only type of Alocasia plant that’s poisonous to cats and dogs is the Amazonica plant, more commonly sold under its most popular name – the Polly plant. Sounds so innocent, doesn’t it.

With its dark green leaves, the foliage and the light green patterns on them, it’s a beautiful plant to have indoors, but not when there’s pets and youngsters around.

What’s so bad about the Polly plant?

The sap on the leaves contain calcium oxalate crystal, which pets seem to find tasty and are attracted to it. That makes this the worst of all poisonous plants because your pet just thinks it’s gorgeous and wants to lick the leaves until its throwing up.

Here’s something else to think about…

It’s not just household pets that are attracted to the Polly plant. Many plant pests such as spider mites are also attracted to them, making them difficult to care for anyway.

If you have pets or young ones around your home, the Polly plant runs far too high a risk to have indoors.

Then there’s this…

2 – The Aloe Vera Plant

The Aloe Vera is a common plant in many a family home because it’s believed to have medicinal properties. Nurseries cannot sell them for medicinal reasons but people do have them indoors and use the aloe gel for things like applying it as an anti-aging skin lotion, treating cold sores, and even to aid psoriasis.

For cats and dogs, the health benefits are zero! It’s the complete opposite effect because the sap also contains anthraquinones and saponins, both of which are toxic to dogs and cats, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Then there’s this cat killer…

3 – The Lily Plant

The toxic chemical of the lily plant is unknown but it does contain something that causes kidney failure in cats. For dogs with an existing kidney or liver disease, the same can happen. All your vet can do is offer support because the prognosis is poor at best.

Once any part of a lily plant is ingested by cats in good health, the outlook isn’t good and that’s the same for dogs with existing liver or kidney conditions.

Something else to think about…

Ingestion doesn’t have to be chewing, licking or eating the leaves either as the chemicals can be ingested if a dog or cat drinks the water from the vase so this is definitely a must avoid for a pet-safe home.

4 – The English Ivy Plant

Oh, it’s an easy to care for indoor plant when potted, needing just moist soil and four hours of sunlight daily. It’s not so easy to care for a pet when they ingest any part of the plant…

Especially the leaves as those have the highest concentration of saponins and polyacetylene compounds, which will almost instantaneously see you watch your pet show the signs of the burning they’re feeling in their throat. A horrific experience for pets and their owners.

The combination of the chemicals burns pets’ mouths causing blisters, closely followed by some excess drooling when you’ll know you need a vet and fast.

When it is ingested, it should cause a stomach upset, however vomiting may need to be induced. For that reason, if this ever happens, emergency care is needed.

What’s the vet going to do?

A veterinarian can give pets an emetic (used to induce vomiting), which you can do at home (not advised), but chances are you never have and would prefer to have someone qualified provide emergency care.

It’s not worth the risk! Play it safe and keep English Ivy far away from household pets so you never experience the excruciating pain caused by this long-leafed trailing plant, tempting cats and dogs to have a chew or lick. Pets will take the bait and the results will not be pleasant.

Save yourself the emotional guilt when you realize it was all because of a nice looking, albeit, air purifying plant – The reason most people buy these indoor plants.

Now, if color’s what you’re after, this is not the way to go…

5 – The Bright and Colorful Sago Plant

The Sago plant can be potted and used as an indoor plant during the colder months of the year. What not all pet owners are aware of is that every part of the Sago plant is highly toxic to pets.

It does look pretty and brighten up indoor decor with its prickly stems that pets would rather not chew, but the real danger is with the seeds/ nuts from the plant.

Those seeds contain cycasin, which is toxic to dogs and cats. If your pet were to chew on a seed, the toxin would cause some degree of liver failure. Not such a cheery looking plant now.

Remember the English Ivy? Well, this one’s just as bad…

6 – The Philodendron Houseplant

Philodendron plants are hardy and very decorative owing to the trailing nature of the shiny leaves. Pets can be curious enough to nibble on them and if they do, they will be ill.

Early signs of philodendron poisoning are similar to the effects English Ivy has with cats and dogs…, a burning sensation in the mouth, which you’ll notice as they paw ferociously around their nose and mouth. Drooling and foaming will happen and your pet will need emergency treatment.

Other reported symptoms of philodendron poisoning are renal failure, seizures and even pets slipping into a coma.

This is definitely not a pet safe houseplant… unless it’s hung in a basket from the ceiling where your cat or dog can get nowhere near it.

Do not have these in the usual spots like shelves or bookcases where cats can jump onto or sitting on a coffee table, within reach of both cats and dogs.

Last of the worst and horrific pet poisoning plants…

7 – The Amaryllis Houseplant

The Amaryllis is a popular winter houseplant due to its bright colors making it ideal for brightening up the décor.

The problem for pets is this… The plant contains Lycorine, which neither cats or dogs can tolerate.

The symptoms of Lycorine poisoning aren’t as severe as philodendron poisoning but it will still cause illness in pets. Sickness, diarrhea, a loss of appetite and lethargy can be indications of a dog or cat having eaten part of an Amaryllis plant.

Take notes here…

The bulb of the Amaryllis plant has the highest concentration of Lycorine so a nibble on that part of the plant would have more severe symptoms than chewing the leaves or stalk of the plant.

If you’re ever worried about any cat or dog around a plant that you’ve an incline could be poisonous, then you ought to know these…

Signs and Symptoms that Your Pet is Affected by an Indoor Poisonous Plant

The most obvious signs of any toxic poisoning in pets, especially when plants are concerned will be noticed around the mouth and nose.

As you’ll can see from some of the most toxic household plants listed above, such as English Ivy and Philodendron plants, pets will paw around their nose and mouth. This is due to the burning sensation the chemicals in those two plants cause.

According to, 90% of pet poisoning cases happen in the home. More so during the holiday season when pets are left alone for longer.

In cases when you suspect a cat or dog has ingested a poisonous plant, the symptoms to look for include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Sickness
  • Staggering
  • Lethargy
  • Being unsettled in general
  • showing signs of disorientation
  • A lack of appetite

Also check for heart palpitations and dilated pupils. In more severe cases, twitching, seizures and a coma can happen.

If none of those symptoms are present, there’s still a chance a cat or dog could be affected by contact poisoning.

Signs of Pets Affected by Contact Poisoning from an Indoor Plant Include:

  • An increased licking of their coat
  • Swelling
  • Signs of discomfort such as an increase in scratching

Keep in mind… When pets are constantly scratching, there is a risk of them breaking the skin under their coat.

Keeping Your Pets Safe

The safest thing to do is pet proof your home by only keeping pet safe plants around, unless you have the plants in a hanging basket, hung from the ceiling well out of the way of your pets.


Try Any of These 7 Non-Toxic Indoor Pet-Safe Plants Instead

1 – Bromeliads

Bromeliad plants are tropical indoor plants that are safe for cats, dogs and kids alike. They’re brimmed full of color, making them the perfect choice for those who want pet safe plants but think that means sticking to green leafed plants only.

That’s not the case with these. You can still add a burst of floral color to your room without worrying the plant’s going to harm your pets or younger ones prone to putting things in their mouth.

If color’s not a deal-breaker try…

2 – The Parlor Palm

Use this for a burst of greenery in a decorative pot to sit atop a coffee table. The parlor palm makes a great choice for a safe plant to have around pets. They’re long lasting, easy to care for and can last for years.

There’s always the option to go all out jungle-like with indoor plants…

3 – Calathea Plants

Ok, so this one isn’t technically a plant, but rather a variety of plants belonging to the Marantaceae family. All are non-toxic to cats and dogs and there’s over 300 varieties, so there’s plenty to choose from.

Common pet safe Calathea plants include:

  • Prayer plants
  • Cathedral plants
  • Peacock plants
  • Zebra plants
  • Rattlesnake plants

These are among the easiest to care for indoor potted plants that are family-friendly. The only thing you will notice is that they take more watering than most other types of indoor plants.

There’s enough of these to create a jungle of a playground for cats to get lost in.

Or keep it simple with an English Ivy alternative (if that’s what you’re after).

4 – The Spider Plant

Be warned though… Just like the sap from the leaves of a Polly plant that pets find a bit too tasty, the spider plant has the same effect.

It does not have toxic chemicals, but if your cat or dog eats enough of it, it’s likely to lead to an upset stomach. Similar to what happens when they overdo it in the backyard or park by eating too much grass. It’s not toxic but in high quantities, expect an upset stomach.

Think of the Spider plant as a safe alternative to the trailing leaves styles of English Ivy. If you like the idea but still think it’s risky, put it in a hanging basket, hung from the ceiling.

Or go with the decorative green using…

5 – The Boston Fern

What’s that? You read that ferns are poisonous to cats and dogs? It is true that some fern plants are toxic, but this one isn’t. If you’re buying any fern plant, check its toxicity or ask an attendant if it is safe.

Boston ferns are listed on the ASPCA website as non-toxic to cats and dogs. But do not let your cat or dog overdo licking and chewing them as it still can cause an upset stomach.

…And it’ll leave you with a mess to clean up.

A Boston fern can be potted or hung in a hanging basket. The latter would be the safer option, especially with a cat around as they tend to love playing with the long leaves.

Did you know that you can even grow a tree for an indoor cat?

6 – The Bamboo Palm

If it’s a purifying plant you want to grow indoors, this is among ten of the best – so say NASA. And The ASPCA have it listed as a non-toxic indoor plant, so you’re safe to have it around pets too. These things can grow from a few inches up to about 2.5 meters.

Kittens will love you with one of these things around.

7 – The Purple Waffle Plant

This is another air purification plant that’s safe for cats and dogs to be around. The leaves have a striking crinkly effect with a metallic tint to them. The color, as you’d imagine is purple, but the leaves are green so it’s a plant to add a touch of color without overdoing it.

And it’s an easy to care for plant too.

Precautionary Note:

Just because plants can be labelled as non-toxic and pet-friendly, doesn’t mean they’re edible. Curious pets may nibble on leaves or lick the water or condensation from the leaves. Non-toxic plants for pets just means you won’t need an emergency vet called out, or you rushing your cat or dog to the animal hospital.

If they ingest too much though, it can still cause stomach upsets. Same as if you were to eat too much of anything.

The best place to have indoor plants are out of the reach of your pets. At the very least, it’ll save you some uncomfortable cleaning.

To Summarize What Indoor Plants Are Safe and Unsafe Around Pets:

These Plants are Poisonous to Cats and Dogs:

  • The Amazonica ‘Polly’ Plant
  • The Aloe Vera Plant
  • The Lily Plant
  • The English Ivy Plant
  • The Bright and Colorful Sago Plant
  • The Philodendron Houseplant
  • The Amaryllis Houseplant

The Symptoms of Plant Poisoning in Cats and Dogs Are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Sickness
  • Staggering
  • Lethargy
  • Being unsettled in general
  • Showing signs of disorientation
  • A lack of appetite
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dilated pupils
  • An increased licking of their coat
  • Skin swelling
  • Signs of discomfort such as an increase in scratching
  • Broken skin caused by the increased scratching

The Plants that Are Not Poisonous to Cats and Dogs Are:

  • Bromeliads
  • Parlor Palm plant
  • Calathea plants, such as
    • Prayer plants
    • Cathedral plants
    • Peacock plants
    • Zebra plants
    • Rattlesnake plants
  • The Spider plant
  • Boston fern
  • Bamboo palm
  • A purple waffle plant

If you have any of the poisonous plants listed above in your home with pets around, swap them for the safer option of non-hazardous plants to have around pets.

It’ll save a lot of discomfort and avoid possible heartache.

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223shares 7 Indoor Plants Poisonous to Cats and Dogs (Plus Pet-Safe Plants to Use Instead) was last modified: July 26th, 2019 by The Practical Planter

Do Bromeliads Flower Once – Tips On Bromeliad Care After Flowering

One of the neatest things about bromeliads are their flowers. The flowers can stay blooming for months, but eventually they fade and die. This doesn’t mean the plant is dying; it just means the plant is focusing energy on the leaves and roots. Do bromeliads flower once and never again? Some bromeliads bloom regularly while others don’t. Getting bromeliads to rebloom takes the patience of a saint, time and the right variety.

Care of Bromeliads after Flowering

Bromeliads often come with their amazing flowers in bloom. These wonderful inflorescences last for months and the plant itself thrives with minimal care in bright indirect light. It is always sad to watch the bloom die, especially since the plant itself probably will not bloom. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. With good bromeliad care after flowering, the plant will produce pups. Only mature bromeliads bloom; therefore, you can wait until a pup matures and enjoy the same flower spike.

Bromeliads are denizens of tropical rainforests. They are epiphytic in nature and reproduce vegetatively by forming offsets or pups. Once the unique flower is spent, you should remove it so the plant can spend its energy on forming pups.

Bromeliad care after flowering is much the same while it was in flower. The leaves form a cup in which you can pour water. Occasionally change the water in the cup and rinse the area to remove any salt or mineral build up. From spring until the dormant season in winter, mix a half dosage of liquid fertilizer every 2 months applied to the soil, not to the cup.

Care of bromeliads after flowering is focused on getting vegetative growth and new pups so you can separate them for future blooming plants.

Getting Bromeliads to Rebloom

Bromeliad flowers are such unexpected forms and colors. When the blooms are spent, the plant is still spectacular, but you miss the vibrant flower tones. Do bromeliads flower once? Yes, they do. It takes a mature plant to flower and once it does, it produces offsets and the main plant gradually begins to die.

It can take years, but eventually all you will have left is its offspring. Luckily, each of these can be divided away, potted up and grown for a few years to maturity. If you are lucky, these will produce the same bloom as the parent plant. It is quite a long time to wait but may well be worth it since these plants need little special care.

Use sterile scissors or a knife to divide the pup away from the parent. You should wait to do this until the offset is a third the size of the parent. If necessary, you can trim back the parent plant’s leaves to allow more room for the pup to grow. Remove pups in spring for best results. Allow the wound to callus for one week.

Mix a batch of medium with equal parts bark nuggets, perlite and peat. Insert the cut end of the pup and any roots into the medium. The pup may need support for the first few weeks as more extensive roots are grown. Otherwise, the same care you gave the parent will produce a healthy plant. To help it bloom, you can add time release fertilizer in spring around the soil medium.

After 4 months of looking good, the Aechmea inflorescence is starting to turn brown in the center. It’s been this way for about a month now & will last about a month more.

Flowers are so beautiful and bring so much joy into our lives. We wish the flower fairy would flutter on down and place them into every room of our homes every week. How sweet that would be?! Bromeliads, though not as awe inspiring as a huge arrangement of fresh flowers, come in interesting colors and patterns and make fine houseplants. They do flower and those flowers last for at least 3-4 months. This is in response to a couple of questions I’ve gotten about bromeliad flowers turning brown. Here’s why it happens and what you can do about it.

Should the flower be left on? Will it bloom again off that same stalk? Should it be cut completely off? Like other flowers, sadly they eventually die. In the case of bromeliads, it’s actually the inflorescence which provides the color. The flowers are small. Most plants will repeat bloom, some throughout the season and some every year, but that’s not the case with bromeliads. The mother plant blooms, the flower dies, pups (babies) form at the base of the mother and a part of the plant lives on. It’s all part of the natural life cycle of a bromeliad.

Bromeliad flowers turning brown: here’s how to prune them off:

The guzmania, which you see me pruning the flower off of in the video, was the 1st one to turn totally brown. My aechmea flower is just showing a bit of brown in the center and the vriesea stalk has turned from vibrant orange to dark green. The quill of the pink quill plant has now turned lime green and the neoregelia looks great even though the tiny flowers inside the vase or urn (the central cup) have long died.

The quill of the Pink Quill Plant has turned from pink to green. This happens but overall it looks great. I don’t mind this color at all.

The aechmea, vriesea and pink quill plant flowers will all look good for at least the next month. I don’t mind at all that they’re loosing their color. The neoregelia, grown for it’s showy foliage rather than the flower, sits in my bathroom beneath a skylight and makes me smile every time I see it. Most bromeliads are sold with their flowers already open (that’s their big draw after all) so try to buy them as fresh looking as possible. A flower which has even tinges of brown on it is already starting to decline.

The neoregelia doesn’t have showy flowers at all. In my experience, the mother plant of this genus is the longest lasting.
By the way, I bought a few of these bromeliads at the end of December and the rest in early January. These pictures were taken at the beginning of June.
The vriesea inflorescence has turned green. There are a few small patches of brown on it. It doesn’t look bad so I won’t cut it off for at least a month or so.

If you’d like, cut off the flower inflorescence and the entire stalk when it 1st starts turns brown if it’s bothering you. The plant won’t suddenly die after cutting it off. That takes a while and the mother will look good for quite some time after. I let the guzmania flower go totally brown for the sake of the video.

Propagating a bromeliad is simple. After the mother plant goes through its life cycle, simply cut or pull the pups off after they’ve matured. It’ll take those pups 3-6 years to flower so don’t expect it to happen soon. If you want your bromeliad to be constantly in bloom, you’ll have to buy a new 1 in flower on a regular basis. Just know that they last much longer than cut flowers!

Happy gardening & thank for stopping by,

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