The Q&A Archives: Need help with my Bromeliad Plant Tillandsia

Question: I got a Bromeliad plant for my birthday last year. A tillandsia I guess that the kind of plant, but anyways it doesn't look like the picture I have of the plants. I don't know what to call it so I'm just going to say the paddle is brown and dried up. I did all the watering instruction leave semi-dry between watering. Help!!! I don't know what I did to my plant.

Answer: Bromeliads are popular houseplants because of their striking flower heads. The plants develop a rosette of leathery, strap-like foliage, forming a cup in the center of the plant. This cup is where you apply water. Bromeliads take several years to reach flowering stage, and once the flower head dies, the plant dies, too. Before it does, though, it produces little offsets which can be removed from the parent plant and planted on their own. Tillandsia is a slightly different plant, with grassy leaves and a flattened flower head. When the flower dies (as yours has) cut it from the plant. General care of both Bromeliads and Tillandsia includes: average household temperatures (with 75F degrees or higher when the flower stalk begins to grow), bright light but not direct sunlight, precise watering, and frequent misting of the leaves (use diluted liquid fertilizer instead of plain water in the sprayer). Bromeliads grow in regular potting soil. Water by filling the cup once every 1-2 months. Apply water to the potting mix only when it dries out. There are some Bromeliads that do not form a cup at the center of the plant. The care is the same, except you apply water to the potting soil rather than to the center of the plant. Tillandsia's should be watered with the same frequency as Bromeliads, but you can water the soil rather than pouring water down the center of the plant.

Best wishes with your plant!

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