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A How-To Guide for Propagating Bromeliads

By SongofJoy
January 3, 2012

When it comes to separating a bromeliad offset, often called a pup, from the mother plant, many people develop a case of "separation anxiety." I know I did. While it isn't terribly difficult to do, there are some basic guidelines to follow in order to achieve success.

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Plantomaniac08
Dec 19, 2014 9:39 PM CST
@SongofJoy,
Is it necesary to remove the pups, or can you leave them? I have a Tillandsia cyanea and I noticed it's beginning to pup. This is my first time "dealing" with this.

Planto
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Dec 20, 2014 3:31 AM CST
You can leave them if you want to, but the original plant will only bloom once and then will die back after flowering, leaving the pups around it.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 20, 2014 7:35 AM CST
Tee is absolutely correct. There is no "harm" in leaving the "mother" plant, but it will sure be an ugly plant, waiting and watching all of the leaves of the mother slowly but surely die, turning brown and brittle. Besides, the pups seem to do better when they have their own "space" to grow. That's been my experience.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

Plantomaniac08
Dec 20, 2014 9:49 AM CST
Thank you both for the information. Smiling I read somewhere else that if the pups are not removed from the Mother, they would die (Although the consensus appears to be that's not the case, just reading that made me scared if I decided not to remove them).

Being new to this, I just wanted to be sure I wasn't going to kill someone off somehow!

I'll have to prepare for the removal of the pup(s) when that time comes.

Thank You!

Planto
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 20, 2014 10:21 AM CST
Not to worry, Planto. Keep in mind that in nature, the mother plant is never "removed". She just slowly dies back as the pups grow. For me at least, I remove the mother plant when she becomes un-esthetic. Thus, her removal is purely a personal thing, not one of necessity.

P. S. I have well over 100 bromeliads. Here is one with a spectacular bloom, and this plant now has five bracts on its stem. There are no pups yet. This is a Vriesea variety, also called a "Spear Bromeliad" or "Arrowhead Bromeliad".

Thumb of 2014-12-20/drdawg/85bc19 Thumb of 2014-12-20/drdawg/61e748

drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

Plantomaniac08
Dec 20, 2014 10:57 AM CST
Dawg,
That's a good point, thank you. I didn't think about that, although it makes a lot of sense! I do remember seeing a post about Hoyas one day that contained pictures of Hoyas growing in nature. Needless to say, they didn't look as pretty as in store. Hilarious!

Wow, 100? I can barely maintain 20 different plants, haha. Although, I would imagine 100 of the same genus of plants... Most of them probably have the same care requirements?

Here's my Tillandsia cyanea.
Thumb of 2014-12-20/Plantomaniac08/eb860e

I've read they're super easy to grow, but I've managed to kill easy plants.

Planto

Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 20, 2014 11:28 AM CST
I think there is a learning-curve when growing plants, particularly when they are house plants. Not counting my perennial landscape plants, all I grow are tropical plants. Orchids are my main interest and I have over 500 of those.

Keep in mind that most houseplants are simply tropical plants. Once you get the knack of growing one, generally speaking, the rest will be easy. Houseplants simply need the basics, such as strong, indirect light, moisture, occasional fertilizer, warmth, humidity, and air movement. The majority of houseplants are killed by over-watering, or more likely, having the potting soil remain wet for long periods of time. Most pest infestations, particularly the flying kind, can be prevented by having good air-flow. If there is a single one component missing when growing houseplants, it is "air-flow". Remember, what we are attempting to do is mimic Mother Nature.

I love the Tillandsia. I grow a few but have now limited those to native Tillandsia, those found in specific areas of Florida for example.

Here is just a sample of what I have in one area of one greenhouse. These are "baby" and "teen" orchids.

Thumb of 2014-12-20/drdawg/dc2408 Thumb of 2014-12-20/drdawg/e492eb

drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

Plantomaniac08
Dec 20, 2014 12:52 PM CST
Dawg,
That is true. I think it has taken me a few years to understand plants. Now, some things come second nature. Sometimes it's just about adjusting things based on the places you have
to put plants. I mean, I only have one window that I can grow plants in/near. I've had to move folks around seeing who does best where. I've discovered this window isn't best for some plants, while others thrive.

Orchids are not my strong point and I've killed everyone I've had. Hilarious! I was thinking of trying a Dendrobium. I keep killing Phals. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if the plants were in a sickly state at purchase. You know how some BBS plants are.

Do you recommend me repotting my Tillandsia? I don't know what substrate it's currently in. Looks peaty is all I can say.

I appreciate you giving me your insight.

Planto
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 20, 2014 2:25 PM CST
Planto, I have just submitted a "Mounting How To" on ATP but who knows if/when it will be published. I would certainly mount that Tillandsia and grow it the way it grows in nature. Tillandsia's roots don't play much part in nourishment and are mainly for anchoring the plant to a surface. Tillandsia do much better when kept on the dry side and easily rot if kept too wet. In my experience, it is hard to grow them in moss or potting soil, simply because of the water retention of the media. Others with more experience/knowledge growing Tillandsia might give another answer. Whistling
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Kate
Holmes Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Not all those who wander are lost.
Bromeliad Cactus and Succulents Orchids Foliage Fan Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader
Region: Florida Tropicals Xeriscape
Image
karmatree
Dec 20, 2014 4:07 PM CST
I have close to 50 bromeliads--and I have noticed that some mothers will produce more pups if you remove them systematically instead of just leaving the pups there. I have seen some people throw some bromeliad mothers in the yard trash that obviously have had pups removed (I could see the calloused areas where they had been cut off)--apparently they figured Mom had croaked and was all finished...I've taken them home, and they've produced one to a few more pups before they died. Only some--mostly neoregelias--have done this.
"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy." - Rumer Godden

Plantomaniac08
Dec 20, 2014 6:57 PM CST
Dawg,
Oh my, mounting sounds... Above my skill level. Hilarious!

I do have a faster draining mix I could transplant Mom into, but would right now be a good time to do so?

Planto
Name: Kate
Holmes Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Not all those who wander are lost.
Bromeliad Cactus and Succulents Orchids Foliage Fan Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader
Region: Florida Tropicals Xeriscape
Image
karmatree
Dec 21, 2014 4:07 AM CST
Ken's right....I also have 50-60 Tillandsias growing, all "mounted"...and when I say mounted, they are just stuck into little gaps and crevices on a big wall of driftwood. But you can stick them anywhere...I even have some where I just twisted a little wire around their base (not too tight) and then twisted the other end of the wire into a hanger and hung them on the wall. They pup out in all directions and make a little "ball" of Tillies on the end of the wire. Looks like a hairy Christmas ornament.

But I've had Tillies rot if they are too smothered even by their driftwood hole on the wall (if they get too tight for their little gap). They hate having too much around their bottoms. Otherwise, they are rock star plants!
"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy." - Rumer Godden
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 21, 2014 7:13 AM CST
Planto, do something like Kate. Just find you a piece of wood and lightly wire that Tillandsia to it. Or contact me via T-Mail and I will be glad to ship you everything you need to mount that plant. I have some absolutely beautiful pieces of exotic woods that your Tillandsia would be happy to live on. Hurray!
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Kate
Holmes Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Not all those who wander are lost.
Bromeliad Cactus and Succulents Orchids Foliage Fan Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader
Region: Florida Tropicals Xeriscape
Image
karmatree
Dec 21, 2014 1:48 PM CST
Ken does have some nice, affordable mounting setups. Driftwood is VERY expensive; I'm lucky because I know a nice lady who practically gives it to me.
"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy." - Rumer Godden
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 21, 2014 2:39 PM CST
I tip my hat to you. Kate
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

Plantomaniac08
Dec 21, 2014 6:29 PM CST
Dawg,
Thank you for the offer ( *Blush* ), but I am sure I have something around here I could mount it on, haha. Just sounds a bit above my skill level, but I did come across a website about mounting it. Thank You!

Planto
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 21, 2014 6:59 PM CST
A piece of cake, Planto. If I can do it, practically anyone can. Thumbs up
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

Plantomaniac08
Dec 21, 2014 7:07 PM CST
Thank You! I do well with plants, but certain ones. More specifically, easy plants. Hilarious!

Planto
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 21, 2014 8:19 PM CST
Me too! Sticking tongue out
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

Plantomaniac08
Dec 21, 2014 8:35 PM CST
Dawg,
Hilarious!

Planto

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