top of page

Growing Bromeliads : Learning Journey by Dr Heramb Barve

Its a pleasure to feature this Learning Journey beautifully captured by Dr Heramb Barve (MBBS) based in Goa who is a plant enthusiast.


Bromeliads are one of the most diverse group of plants native to tropical and subtropical America. They are increasingly grown as ornamental plants across the world with many named and unnamed hybrids developed over the last century.

Billbergia inflorescence
Billbergia inflorescence
Neoregelia 'jewellery shop'
Neoregelia 'jewellery shop'

There is a vast list of types of bromeliads. To name a few- neoregelia, aechmea ,guzmania, billbergia, cryptanthus, dyckia, vrisea, tillandsia (aka airplants) , Ananas (that's correct, pineapple is a bromeliad)!


Some of these are terrestrial whereas some are epiphytic meaning they grow on other trees/rocks.


My journey with growing bromeliads started about 2 years ago when I came across a plant, Aechmea 'blue rain' with unbelievably attractive inflorescence that lasted for almost 5 months! However billbergia inflorescence lasts only for 2-3 days .I ll be sharing dos and don'ts that i learnt about growing these beauties from my personal experience , particularly aechmea, neoregelia & billbergia. Some are grown for their colorful foliage and some for their inflorescence .


There are two ways I grow them : in pots and on driftwood mounts (mimicking their natural habit) .


Once you buy a plant from nursery make sure you remove it from the potting media(they mostly use cocopeat or chips that is too soggy &kills the roots) . You might want to dip the roots in diluted fungiside if available for 10 mins. Use equal parts broken terracotta tiles, charcoal, cocochips and fistful of bonemeal .


The other technique is to mount them- use a driftwood or your garden tree and secure the plant on it using wire/strong threads. Make sure it is upright as bromeliads need to hold water in their 'cup' . Use moss/cococoir around the roots. Best way to do this is in monsoon as the plant quickly puts out new roots that hold onto the wood.

Neoregelia 'high Voltage'
Neoregelia 'high Voltage'
Pink- N. Maria Green -N. Valentine's day Brown-purple= N. Sandy
Pink- N. Maria Green -N. Valentine's day Brown-purple= N. Sandy

Lighting conditions - for each variety it is different but overall bright indirect light is suitable. If you expose your plant to afternoon sun then it might develop leafburn . Complete shade will make the leaves lose their colour and turn green as it's adaptive behaviour. So it is a fine balance you have to find for your individual plant.


Watering & fertilizing -Water the plant from top so that it holds water in the cup . Be careful as this could be breeding ground for mosquitoes. Regularly flush the cup with fresh water to avoid this. I don't fertilize my plants although few people recommend balanced liquid fertilizer.



Propagation - these are very slow growing plants and they produce pups from the base after the mother plant has completed flowering and wilted off . As the mother plant dies , the pup grows into a new plant. Don't throw the dying mother plant as it can put out pups from the base even when you think it's dead . Once the pup has reached 1/3rd the size of the mother plant you can separate it and grow as mentioned before.


Special care - make sure no leaf debris or any dirt collects in the cups as this leads to crown rot, if u find any dirt flush it off with water .Be careful while handling the plant as it's leafblades have thorns. Might use gloves.

Protect from direct sunlight.



254 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment


Ninad Tengse
Ninad Tengse
Jun 15, 2023

👌

Like
bottom of page