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Bromeliad care

Bromeliads are useful as terrariumplants, houseplants, container plants for the patio and as collectible specimens that require but minimal care, and will thrive, rewarding the grower with beautiful foliage, blooms and years of enjoyment. Here are a few simple and easy tips to get you started in the right direction.

Environmental Requirements

1. Air Movement: Grow your bromeliad in a well-ventilated area. Good ventilation will help avoid prob- lems that could arise, such as fungal diseases, scale, mealy bugs and other pests and can help pre- vent overheating in sunny or hot locations.

2. Light: Bromeliads show their best color and form if kept in bright light within tolerable limits. Not all bromeliads thrive in the same conditions. A few rules of thumb may be helpful to determine light requirements of your bromeliad:

a. Bromeliads with soft foliage that may be spineless or have small spines, is deep green or dis- color (green above, reddish below) generally like less light and usually do best out of direct sun, often making good houseplants.

b. Those with brightly colored or silvery, somewhat stiff leaves with moderate spines thrive in bright light, up to partial sun.

c. Very stiff or succulent leaves, heavy spines, yellowish-green or reddish coloration may indicate tolerance for more sunlight.

d. If in doubt, keep your plant in some degree of shade and increase the light intensity in stages over a period of weeks until it reaches its best potential. Too little light causes weak, etiolated,

fading or poorly colored foliage. Too much light may cause bleaching or burning on the leaves

upper surfaces that will result in patches of dry brown or yellow.

3. Moisture and Humidity: Bromeliads are native to a variety of habitats and therefore have varied

needs for water. It is natural for ‘tank type’ bromeliads to have water in the central ‘cup’ formed by the leaves. Most bromeliads do not like to be kept in wet soil.

4. Temperature: Protect bromeliads from frost. Preferred temperature range is 20-30 Celsius. though many can take short-term dips to near freezing in landscape situations. A few exceptional varieties can even tolerate a light freeze with little or no damage.

Cultural Requirements

1. Potting: For most varieties a well-drained medium consisting of bark, peat, Perlite and/or a mix of other organic and inorganic media that promotes drainage and aeration, but retains some moisture will do well. Choose a pot sufficient to hold the plant upright. Avoid over potting, you can repot later if needed. Bromeliads are epifytic plants and therefore can be attached to any piece of wood or decoration in your terrarium.