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Wisconsin's Tropical Gardens


Plant Profile Series

 
 

 

BROMELIADS

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Bromeliads are exotic, tropical tree-dwellers known for their long-lasting, colorful blooms. Most will produce a flamboyant flower spike from the central rosette. The flowers will last for several months. Once the flower head dies the leaves will start to die too, but this is a long process. Often times the mother plant will be replaced by one or more pups, or off shoots, that have already started to grow from the bottom of the mother plant. This can take as long as 6 months in good conditions or as little as a couple of months if the plant is under stress.

Some growers have actually capitalized on their epiphytic preferences (being tree dwellers) and attached them to twisted pieces of driftwood or other exotic and gnarly wood specimens. This produces what appears to be a living tree but is really an assemblage of bromeliad plants on a dead tree. Obviously this way of growing will require more closely moitoring for dryness.

TEMPERATURE / LIGHT: Although these spectacular plants look difficult to care for they are really surprisingly easy. Bromeliads like average temperatures and a bright area but not direct sunlight.

WATER: They are watered in the central vase and only water the soil when it has dried out. Empty and refill the vase every 1 - 2 months.

 

These are the most common varieties:

    • ACHMEA - Silver Vase
      This is the most popular bromeliad. It has long grey/green powdery leaves with spines on the edges and produces a stunning pink flower that will last 6 months or more.
    • GUZMANIA
      This variety has long green or variegated leaves (approximately 2 feet). They are known most for their striking flower head. They come is a variety of colors including red, orange, yellow, etc.
    • NEOREGELIA - Tricolor
      This bromeliad is known more for its foliage than for its flower. It has shiny leaves 1 - 2 feet long. The leaves come in green, striped, or mottled and have many shades of hot pink, red, etc. The flower comes from the central vase although it does not shoot up above the leaves.
    • TILLANDSIA - Torch
      A very interesting plant. It has grass-like leaves and produces a flower that is flat and torch shaped. Generally seen is red, yellow or pink.
    • VRIESEA - Flaming Sword
      This plant gets is name from the sword-like flower it produces. It is one of many varieties of Bromeliads.

The flower comes in varying colors from all pink to red to red/yellow combinations to all yellow. The leaves are 1 - 1  1/2 feet long and the flower can be up to 2 feet tall. The leaves range from all green to mottled green.

These plants are most often available in 6" pot sizes on a fairly regular basis. During holiday seasons, they may also be available in 4" pots.