Tropicals forum: How to grow Bromeliads?

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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Jan 29, 2017 9:13 AM CST
I am new to broms and have a question. Do you hang them, place them in the ground, grow them in pots, etc? How to best grow them in Central Florida?

I have several and want to do them justice by growing them in a situation that they will thrive in. Do most need to be grown in the shade, semi-shade, or do some need full sun? And what is the best soil mix medium to grow them in? Do they need to be fertilized? (If so, how often.)
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jan 29, 2017 10:54 AM CST
Becky, I'm glad you've posted this question because I too am interested in the subject. As you know, we moved here to Sebastian last May and there are two spots in our front yard with Broms growing at the base of Oak trees and also a large Aechmea blanchetiana in the backyard growing at the base of a Saw Palmetto tree. I've not seen blooms in the 9 months we've been here but I haven't fertilized any of them either. They are all growing in pretty much shade. I'd like to know what type of fertilizer would be good for them.

I've had Neoregelia 'Zoe' and Neoregelia 'Fireball' since 2008. When I got them they were in plastic pots and I transferred them to wooden orchid baskets but over the years those baskets rotted away so a few years ago, I lined a large metal basket with coir fiber and placed some moist sphagnum in and then sat the broms. The spahg is now gone and a lot of the coir has been pulled out by birds or squirrels or whatever ... but they seem happy. Earlier this year I got Vriesea splendens and stuck it in another metal thingy with a couple of Neo's that I'd divided.
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~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Jan 29, 2017 12:38 PM CST
I was doing a bit of brom research this morning and came across this site. It is from a nursery in Naples, FL and I thought they had some good info on their blog.
https://bromeliadparadise.com/...

Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Scott
Tampa FL (Westchase)
Tropicals Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Bromeliad Plumerias Dog Lover
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ScotTi
Jan 29, 2017 12:48 PM CST
Becky, There is a Bromeliad to fill all the growing questions you asked. Most varieties can fill all of those needs, but some will not.
I grow mine in morning, late afternoon and filtered sun conditions, as I try to avoid the midday summer sun as it tends to bleach the leaves.
On the subject of potting mix I use a cactus potting mix, and I have never used a fertilizer on my broms. In ground locations need to be well draining and planting among tree roots works well.
I am moving more to grow those I can as epiphytes.

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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jan 29, 2017 12:54 PM CST
ardesia said:I was doing a bit of brom research this morning and came across this site. It is from a nursery in Naples, FL and I thought they had some good info on their blog.
https://bromeliadparadise.com/...

I remember seeing that site in the past when googling. I just tried to sign up for their newsletter but got a security warning so did not complete the form. I looked through their listings for Neoregelia and oh my, some real beauties in the list. Lovey dubby

~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jan 29, 2017 1:56 PM CST
Scot, please tell us the name of that fantastic Brom! I love how they look growing as epiphytes. What type of wood do use for mounting them?

I sometimes think I should tie some Broms up into the oak trees in my yard to see how they'd do. I used to volunteer at Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens in Port Orange Florida and Broms were growing in ground, in rock structures and in the giant oak trees!
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This one was growing on a large branch of a Live Oak tree:
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This photo was taken at Washington Oaks State Park in Palm Coast, Fl; a tree that had toppled and was left in place. I always thought it would be neat to have Broms planted along it.
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~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Aquaponics Hibiscus Orchids Fruit Growers Tropicals
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ardesia
Jan 29, 2017 6:45 PM CST
I love Sugar Mill Gardens and visited there several times.

This was a NOID fromthe grocery store that lived in one of our Live Oaks for several years. The nasty winter of 2013 took it out. The green velcro strap holding it eventually rotted away.
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This is a Billbergia I saw at Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota. All I know about it is that it is part of the "Helicoide group" and I have no idea what that means. I would love to learn more about this one.
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Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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Dutchlady1
Jan 29, 2017 6:45 PM CST
Bromeliads are mostly epiphytic; they just like some stability when planted on the ground so that is when we dig them a little hole.
There are many that like sun, and others that like shade. Play around with them and see what conditions they thrive in!
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jan 29, 2017 7:30 PM CST
Alice, that Brom looks like Flaming Sword (Vriesea carinata) and it sure was gorgeous! So sad you lost it to cold but I totally understand ... we had some extreme cold weather during the winter of 2010 and I lost a lot of plants that year!

That Billbergia is really stunning! I don't know a thing about them but it looks a lot like this one:


Another photo of 'Windii' for comparison here: http://fcbs.org/images/Billber...

I've been drooling over many Billbergia pictures at this site; haven't had a chance to get through the entire list: http://fcbs.org/pictures/Billb...
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Aquaponics Hibiscus Orchids Fruit Growers Tropicals
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ardesia
Jan 30, 2017 4:48 AM CST
The one I saw sure does look a lot like Windii, I'll label the photo that way anyhow. Perhaps because it was in a gh at Selby the growing conditions were perfect and it was a bit showier.

This was another that was in the ground at Selby a few years ago, it reminded me of the one Scott showed yesterday.


Lin, I wanted to add, that is an amazing list you shared. I had no idea there were so many out there. I have fallen in love with Bil. Watermelon Man, that one is going on my "have to find" list.

Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
[Last edited by ardesia - Jan 30, 2017 4:54 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jan 30, 2017 3:02 PM CST
Alice, you should add that photo of Bromeliad (Neoregelia 'Dexter's Pride') to the database! We currently have no pictures of Dexter's Pride and the first ever photo added will earns 2 Acorn 's!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Aquaponics Hibiscus Orchids Fruit Growers Tropicals
Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad Birds
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ardesia
Jan 30, 2017 3:41 PM CST
OK, Smiling
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jan 30, 2017 5:05 PM CST
Thanks to many of you for your advice and comments! I love, love, love some of the botanical garden photos as well as your home photos! Surely makes me wish I had a garden like that!

I have various areas in my yard that are shady, part day shade, and full sun. How well do they grow in the ground under an Oak Tree ... even with the roots of the tree?
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Jan 30, 2017 9:55 PM CST
Becky, I don't know how long the ones here have been growing in ground beneath the oaks because we just moved here last May but this house was built in 1989 and although the Broms haven't been here that long I'm sure, I think the Broms have been awhile.

Broms (No ID) beneath one oak .......... Aechmea pectinata beneath another:
Thumb of 2017-01-31/plantladylin/ebd0ef Thumb of 2017-01-31/plantladylin/79fd97

~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jan 31, 2017 6:07 AM CST
I agree with Lin. It would serve you well to check on whether the particular plant you want will prefer shade or sun, though. There are MANY different Bromeliads and they don't all want the same conditions. Many - but not all - are epiphytes and so don't care about your soil.
Name: Scott
Tampa FL (Westchase)
Tropicals Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Bromeliad Plumerias Dog Lover
Foliage Fan Orchids Cactus and Succulents
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ScotTi
Jan 31, 2017 5:01 PM CST
Lin, I do not have a name for that one as that was one of the many Bromeliads the former homeowners had collected. The plants had name tags when I purchased the home, but I did not really pay any attention to them. I really was not interested in them at the time and after some years the plastic tags deteriorated. Here is a close up of the leaf showing a little green spotting.
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And here are a few other Broms left behind...

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[Last edited by ScotTi - Jan 31, 2017 5:26 PM (+)]
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Name: Scott
Tampa FL (Westchase)
Tropicals Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Bromeliad Plumerias Dog Lover
Foliage Fan Orchids Cactus and Succulents
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ScotTi
Jan 31, 2017 5:14 PM CST
Becky, You should be able to dig under the oak enough to plant a Bromeliad. Easy to shake the potting soil from the shallow roots of potted plants. Loosen the soil where you want to plant under the oak a little (1" will work) put soil back and mulch. If you can not dig under the Oak, no fear. Put down a few inches of mulch and plant the Bromeliads into the mulch.
[Last edited by ScotTi - Jan 31, 2017 5:36 PM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jan 31, 2017 5:24 PM CST
Very nice! I really love that deep, dark one ... reminds me a bit of a Neoregelia I saw one time called '?? Midnight' (something midnight).
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Carter Mayer
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
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Carter
Feb 3, 2017 2:55 PM CST
It's hard to give "general" overview of how to care for bromeliads. Care can vary widely even within those of the same genus. Most like a more open or loose well-draining media that has good moisture retention, but there are those that do perfectly well potted or in a landscape with "regular" potting or bedding soil, as well as some that prefer to grow as epiphytes. Those that like it drier and those prefer need more consistent moisture. There are some that are fine in full sun, and others that prefer deep shade. Some just aren't picky at all and will grow any which way, yet others are very exacting in their requirements and will croak in a heartbeat if these requirements aren't met.

If I had to give generalized care instructions, I'd say use a well draining medium, such as a finer orchid bark with maybe a little regular soil thrown in and err on the dry-ish side, letting it dry out between waterings. Many broms (probably most on the general market) form a type of water holding cup or rosette. It's is more important to keep some water in this cup (or in some cases such as many Guzmania varieties, multiple cups formed by the leaves) than it is too keep the soil moist. (To clarify, nearly all form a rosette, just some are more loosely formed and won't hold water in their "cups".) Either bright light or filtered shade. Many (such as a lot of neoregelias) will not show their best coloring if not in bright enough light, which means at least some sunlight. Some require being grown "hard" (high light of at least full to part sun, lower water, lower fertilizer) to put on their best show.

It's best to figure out what type you have to determine the best care.
[Last edited by Carter - Feb 4, 2017 11:06 PM (+)]
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Name: Sherri
Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b)
Region: Florida Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Bromeliad Tropicals
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sunkissed
Feb 5, 2017 8:16 AM CST
Becky I find the most ideal place is under the oaks. I have a huge one out front that I wasn't able to get any plants under it due to the roots. But I obtained a bunch of freebie bromes from a neighbor and since they have not much of a root system all I needed was a wee bit of a hole. Then I put a lot of leaf mulch around the base to keep them sturdy and they are doing very well.


I'm trying out this idea I saw on the Internet with some pups from other plants.
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This isn't my tree but one along the roadway here, these bromes have been there a good seven years or so, survived the coldest temps with no protection.


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