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Do bromeliads die after flowering? Everything you need to know about blooming bromeliads

How to care for your bromeliad after it flowers

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 such as "Do bromeliads die after flowering?" and "Do they only flower once?"




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What You Need

  • Sharp, clean shears or knife

  • Fertilizer

  • Flower pot

  • Well-draining soil

  • Ripe apple (optional)

  • Plastic bag (optional)

The unfortunate answer for both questions is yes, but that doesn't mean that your bromeliad journey is necessarily over! 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 collection could eventually feature plenty of bromeliad pups growing toward their own blooms.

Red bromeliad flower
Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock

Do bromeliads die after flowering?

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 proper care, your first bromeliad could provide you with a pup that will grow to maturity, bloom, and repeat the same process.

Rows of bromeliad plants
foto-rabe / Pixabay

What are signs that your bromeliad flower is dying?

Unfortunately, the time will come when your bromeliad flower will die. Maintaining proper bromeliad care will help prolong the flowering process, but you'll need to prepare for a fading flower sooner or later. As with many other types of blooms, a fading bromeliad flower will wilt and turn brown with time. When the bloom dies, the leaves will follow suit.

During this time, try your best to encourage new pup growth by properly watering, lighting, and fertilizing your bromeliad. To keep your bromeliad leaves as healthy as possible, consider upping the humidity by leaving your plant on a pebble tray with water or using a humidifier. We'll talk more about bromeliad care needs below.

Variegated bromeliads
nippich somsaard / Shutterstock

Should I cut off the dead flower of my bromeliad?

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!)

Group of mature bromeliads
Irina Kvyatkovskaya / Shutterstock

How do you care for bromeliads after flowering?

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.

Bromeliads prefer partial shade. However, if you don’t have a window that allows for that, you can always diffuse 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 session 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.

An orange bromeliad bloom
Sirinn3249 / Shutterstock

How do you get bromeliads to rebloom?

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!

Bromeliad pups
yut4ta / Shutterstock

What do I do with a pup once it has started growing?

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 a well-draining potting soil and place the pot back where the adult plant was.

Step 4: Be patient!

Some bromeliads take three to five 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 by 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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Kiera Baron
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kiera Baron is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a budding digital artist, based in Upstate NY. She is currently one…
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