Houseplants forum: Bromeliads that tolerate dry air

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Sep 6, 2013 2:07 PM CST
I know Guzmania is out but what could i grow in almost desert dry air in the winter.
Name: Rhamel
Albany,NY (Zone 5a)
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Sep 7, 2013 12:25 PM CST
You could try air plants(tisslandiaa spp.) But they need to be misted very often
Gardening is an art,the soil is the paper, and plants are the paintbrush

Sep 7, 2013 6:13 PM CST
I'm afraid i jumped the gun on this one. Only cause it was $5 marked down from $20. hope it does well with my dryer air. what's the worst that could happen in dry air? If it's just brown leaf tips idc too much. Also what is the care?
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[Last edited by Dryairfoliage - Sep 7, 2013 6:19 PM (+)]
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Oct 3, 2013 3:07 PM CST
Bromeliads?, can be a challenge. The first one I tried to grow wound up being over watered which resulted in a dead plant, I was extremely sad about this.
The next one has survived barely until recently. After these plants bloom, they die. Usually before their death, they produce pups from one plant to several. The trick is keeping mother plant and pups alive long enough for the mother plant to produce all the pups she intends to produce, and also long enough for the pups to be able to survive on their own.

The basic and good care for these plants as much as reading research and my experience tells me so far, still researching, is for the plants to be as much as possible in the environment they live in naturally in the wild. They either live in crevices of trees or in very fast draining substrate (soil) or similar medium. They live off the moisture in the air, debris which falls inside the plant and into the trees or where ever they are living, and there is a rare species which is considered somewhat carnivorous (bugs/insects get trapped inside the plant and digested).

The plants which are doing well for me have dappled or shaded sun light such as being next to a window which is shaded by my porch roof, or in my terrarium near a window shaded by trees. Some Bromeliads do enjoy bright light and few can withstand very reduced light.
The soil mix I use is made with a very little amount of organic lume soil, peat moss, and sand. They like the medium to be damp but not wet, so a very fast draining substance works well. If when you wet the soil you plan to use stays together when you squeeze it, it is too wet and will not drain fast. When it fall apart after you squeeze it, it will not stay too wet. I also allow my plants to dry for about 7, 10, sometimes 14 days or more depending on the air moisture and season.
There is information which says fill the cup of the plants, however, I spray my plants which works and I do not have to empty the plant every 5 to 7 days, allow it to dry and then repeat this process. Recently information has started to surface which does not recommend filling the cup of the plant. These plants grow well in malls and similar situations, so probable misting is the safe procedure.
I recently acquired a plant that was in sopping wet conditions and after 24 hours re-potted it into a larger pot to allow the mother plant and pups room to survive. Make certain the pot isn't huge because the bigger the pot the longer the soil stays wet and these plants can survive a drought better than a flood. It looks like the mother plant has a new lease on life for a while and her pups are eagerly greening up and growing well.
Your plant looks beautiful! If the plant is twice the size of the pot, you will have to make room for the pups to grow with mom until they naturally separate from mom, or they are about at least 6 to 8 inches depending on size of parent plant to cut them from their mother and pot up separately.
Oh, when the bloom is completely spent, it is best to remove it so mother plant retains energy as long as possible. As I find more information, I'll share it with you. Group hug
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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Oct 3, 2013 3:42 PM CST
Guzmania did not thrive in my dry environment Sad

Tillandsia survives well in my area. I am making 2nd attempt on pineapple Smiling
Name: Alex Volker
Ames, IA (Zone 5a)
Cactus and Succulents
Oct 3, 2013 7:36 PM CST
My tillandsia do alright in my house, which is pretty dry. I try to remember to mist them every other day. They're alive at the very least.

Oct 4, 2013 4:46 PM CST
So now I guess I need to get a bigger pot. Unless I can let the pups grow cramped for a bit and then separate them?
[Last edited by Dryairfoliage - Oct 4, 2013 4:48 PM (+)]
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Nov 26, 2013 9:04 PM CST
So far I have had good results with the three bromeliads I have now. The parent plant died over a year ago leaving three pups who are doing well in the same pot they were born in and where mom gave them life. I didn't remove the mother plant, just cut it back as the green left the growth. Eventually the mother plant was so far gone I was able to gently tease it out of the soil without disturbing anything else. The other larger bromeliad mother birthed three pups and is still in the pot with them although mom looks very dead. I plan leaving well enough alone for a while until the pups are better established and have naturally separated from their mother plant. The third bromeliad seems to be a mother or older sibling with a pup or younger family member. I just got them saturday at a church bizarre, so they are a mystery.

During the winter the air is dry, so I have to place moisture trays around the plants, run a humidifier for me as well as for the plants, and hand spray certain of the plants for them to be happy. Bromeliads take in moisture through the leaves more than through the root system according to my current understanding. Some sites/people say to fill the cup of the plant which is the center where the leaves form a cup-like receptacle. Other sites/people say recent information/research dictates that this should not be done. My approach is to spray the plants either each day or perhaps 2 or 3 days depending on if I get the humidifier filled regularly when needed. I do not fill the plant center cup because it would be difficult to remove the water after a few days in order to refresh the water supply after the plant had a day or three to be dry in the center. I prefer to avoide the possibility of rot, fungus, stagnant water, or any other possible troubles.

watering the substrate is a challenge because it shouldn't be wet yet moist. also how often to water is something I do by feeling the soil several inches down and then decide how much water to add to give the plant a drink and keep the roots happy. there some bromeliads that are epiphytes which means they live holding onto something and there are terrestrial plants which live in substrate which is like soil but not exactly. In their normal habitat they live in Lome very loose and airier material on the forest floor. some other have different living arrangements.

Most of the time I keep the substrate on the dry side of moist. Spraying the plants usually happens every day and sometimes twice a day. The bromiliad trio I've had the longest is in a covered container which had openings for air circulation. Every 5 to 10 days depeending on the humidity, I open the container for 15 to180 minutes and occasionally for longer during the summer months. A while ago I considered taking the plants out of this container but decided if it's not broken to not fix it. Oh, the container is close to the heat vent which is the main reason, and secondary is the natural indirect light, so The plants are doing well and I'm not making any changes. The other plants have lower light and are not as close to the heat vents.

I try to make certain that all of my plants get adaquate/proper water, light, soil, food, air circulation, and are inspected regularly for a health check and to admire them up close and personal.

Safe travels & many blessings. Group hug

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