What Kind Of Plant Do I Have? - Knowledgebase Question

Billings, MT
Avatar for danielslisa4
Question by danielslisa4
May 6, 2001
I recently bought a "houseplant" at a local nursery, but they could not tell me what it was. They said they thought it was hawaiian... it's a little over a foot tall, with large stiff leaves that look like they have a wax coating - they kind of form a funnel, and we were told to water it down the middle of the funnels - it it supposed to produce a beautiful flower. Can you tell me what it is?

Answer from NGA
May 6, 2001
It sounds to me like one of the Bromeliads. 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. General care of Bromeliads 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.

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