Bromeliads are rather unique plants. Their leaves can be solid or variegated, and their beautiful blooms can last for months at a time — even indoors. Many people buy bromeliads specifically for the beauty of their flowers, especially since most nurseries only sell bromeliads that are already in bloom. Once the flower has faded, though, you might be left with questions about bromeliads, such as "How often do bromeliads flower?" and "Do they only flower once?"
The unfortunate answer is yes, but that doesn't mean it's the end of your plant! You can propagate your bromeliad to create a whole family of bromeliad flowers. So don’t throw out that foliage yet! If you care for your bromeliad properly, your indoor plant life could soon have plenty of bromeliad pups growing toward their own bloom.
Technically, yes, the bromeliad does die after flowering. Once the bromeliad blooms, it does begin a slow dying process that will last a year or so. However, even though the plant has reached maturity, bloomed, and begun its descent, you can still do things to encourage the growth of bromeliad pups. With the proper care, your first bromeliad could provide you with a pup that will grow to maturity, bloom, and repeat the same process.
It isn’t necessary to cut off the dead flower if you don’t intend to grow pups. You can leave it attached to slowly wither with the rest of the plant. However, this isn’t the most appealing option, and if your intent is to encourage the growth of bromeliad pups, you will want to cut the dead bloom off so that none of the nutrients you give to the plant are being taken away from the healthy foliage.
If and when you decide to cut off the dead bloom, be sure to do so at the base of the stem where it’s attached to the parent plant. (And make sure to use sanitized pruning shears or a sharp knife so you don’t introduce any bacteria to the bromeliad!)
Bromeliad care post-blooming is often focused solely on encouraging the parent plant to produce pups. If done right, this care can help continue your indoor bromeliad garden. Here's what to do.
Step 1: Make sure your bromeliad is getting the proper amount of sunlight.
They prefer partial shade/partial sun. However, if you don’t have a windowed area that allows for that, you can always diffuse the full light with a sheer curtain.
Step 2: Continue to water the plant once every one to two weeks.
Step 3: Remove any stagnant water left from the last watering before watering again.
Stagnant water left too long can lead to rot.
Step 4: Fertilize your bromeliad once a month with a bromeliad-recommended fertilizer.
Unfortunately, since the bromeliad does only flower once, there’s no way to encourage the same plant to rebloom. That’s where the pups come in. Once the flower on your bromeliad dies, start the process of encouraging pup growth. This should (hopefully) leave you with at least one pup that you can repot and grow to maturity. Then, you’ll be able to enjoy a bromeliad bloom once again!
Here's how to care for your bromeliad pup.
Step 1: Leave the bromeliad pup attached until it is roughly half the size of the parent plant.
Step 2: Separate the pup from the base of the parent plant with a sharp, clean knife
Step 3: Repot the pup in well-draining soil and place the pot back where the adult plant was.
Step 4: Be patient!
Some bromeliads can take up to three years to reach maturity and bloom, and most take at least one year. Don't panic if you don't see a flower right away!
Step 5: Use ethylene gas to encourage your bromeliad to bloom once it is one year old.
Ethylene gas is used by nurseries to encourage early blooming. It is also produced by apples as they rot! Place a ripe or rotting apple in your bromeliad's leaves, then cover the whole plant with a plastic bag to keep the gas in.
The bromeliad is a beautiful plant, both in bloom and with just the foliage. With luck, you’ll be able to repeat the process of growing a bromeliad to maturity, admiring a bloom, encouraging successful pup growth, and having everlasting bromeliad plants!
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