The Q&A Archives: bromellads

Question: What light & watering instructions please

Answer: Bromeliads tolerate a wide range of light intensities, including low light, for long periods without ill effects. The plants, however, will look better when they receive proper light.Generally bromeliad species with hard, thick, gray, gray-green or fuzzy foliage withstand the highest light levels, while species with soft, green, thin leaves grow best under lower light levels.

In most instances, a bromeliad will indicate by its growth habit whether light levels are satisfactory. A yellowish or pale green plant may indicate that the light level is too high. Conversely, a darker green than normal, with a more open or elongated shape, may indicate light levels are too low.

Bromeliads grown in pots should be watered thoroughly, until water runs out of the bottom of the pot and then not watered until the medium surface feels dry. Under normal household conditions watering thoroughly once a week is usually sufficient. In homes where the relative humidity is low (during winter months and in air-conditioning) plants must be checked and watered more often.

Many bromeliads are formed of a rosette of broad leaves which creates a "cup" or "vase" in their centers. If the plant is supplied with moisture by wetting the soil around its roots, it is not necessary to keep the cup filled with water. Most bromeliads adapt so well to culture in a pot that they absorb the needed moisture and nutrients through their root systems. In fact, keeping the cup filled with water under low light conditions encourages bacteria and fungus problems. If you decide to fill the cup with water, it should be flushed out periodically to prevent possible stagnation. Periodic flushing also prevents a build up of salts left when water in the cup evaporates.

Best wishes with your bromeliad!

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