Growing Bromiliads - Knowledgebase Question

Grahamsville, Ne
Question by dottieg
May 23, 2010
Why are the tips of the leaves and flower turning brown? How often do you need to water? Thank you.

Answer from NGA
May 23, 2010


Bromeliads can show browning leaves if their growing environment is not quite right. Here are some general guidelines for growing healthy bromeliads:

Different genera of bromeliads are tolerant of different levels of light. Some can withstand full tropical sun, while others will quickly scorch. In general, the plants prefer well-lit, bright windowsills, but not direct sunlight. A south, west or east window is often perfect. Plants that are yellowish may be receiving too much light, while plants that are dark green, or elongated, may be receiving too little light.

Bromeliads are also highly tolerant of temperature variations, but remember that plants in hotter conditions will need more humidity. Ideally, bromeliads prefer temperatures between 55?F and 80?F. They should not be exposed to temperatures under 40?F.

Bromeliads are very tolerant of drought conditions. In a normal house, it's not necessary to keep the central cup filled with water, but this is an option if the light levels, temperature and humidity are high enough. If you do centrally water your bromeliad, make sure to flush the central cup every so often to remove any built-up salts. In general, however, it's enough to water these plants through the soil weekly during the growing season and reduce watering during the winter rest period. Never let the plant rest in standing water.

Although they are epiphytic, bromeliads can be grown in a fast-draining potting soil. A mixture of 2/3 peat-based soil mix and 1/3 sand is a good idea. Bromeliads can also be grown mounted to boards and logs. These plants will need to be watered more often and consistently throughout the year.

Bromeliads are not heavy feeders. During the growing season, use a liquid fertilizer at 1/2 or 1/4 strength. If you use a slow-release pellet fertilizer and water the central cup, a single pellet dropped into the cup will suffice for a season. Slow-release pellets can also be mixed into the soil compost.

Hope this information helps you determine just what might be bothering your bromeliad.

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