A Piece of the Tropics

While the weather outside is getting colder you can still enjoy gardening all year round. Houseplants are a great way to “keep your fingers in the dirt” and satisfy that gardening itch when it’s too cold outside to scratch it. One houseplant that you may want to try is a bromeliad. Bromeliads are tropical plants native to Central and South America. They are actually related to pineapples although this plant does not produce any fruit. It does, however, have very attractive foliage and it will produce a beautiful flower which can last up to 3 months. It can take a bromeliad up to two years to bloom and it will only flower once in its lifetime but at least it lasts long enough to really enjoy it!

As a tropical houseplant bromeliads do have some special requirements to help them thrive in your home. The first requirement is related to the amount of sunlight it receives. Bright, indirect sunlight is what a bromeliad desires. Too much sun, such as what is found with a southern facing window will damage the leaves. You may have to try a few different places in your home to ensure this requirement is met.

The second requirement has to do with the amount of water that the plant receives. Bromeliads like soil that is evenly moist but drains well. The roots should not be in standing water. It also likes a more humid environment than you might find in a typical American home but there is a way to remedy that. You can either mist it with a spray bottle regularly or you can get a shallow tray such as a plastic tray from a microwaveable dinner that you fill with pebbles and water. You then place enough pebbles under the pot to ensure that the bottom of the pot sits on top of and not in the water. You can then check the water level weekly and add water when the level gets low. The third requirement has to do with maintaining the correct temperature. Bromeliads like an indoor temperature that doesn’t vary too much. They can tolerate temperatures in the mid 50’s so during the winter, even if you turn down the heat at night, the temperature in a home will provide just the right kind of environment for the bromeliad.

One of the neat things about a bromeliad is after it finishes with its one and only flower it will start to grow what is known as “pups”. These are the next generation of bromeliad plants and once the pup is about 1/3 of the size of the original plant it can be removed, put in its own pot, and then you can start the process all over again. You can purchase bromeliads from Blooming Secrets so why not brighten up your home this winter.

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