How To Grow Bromeliads- A Beginner’s Guide

The beautiful ornamental Bromeliad is a sight to see inside the home and outside of it.  It catches one’s eye because of its unique and exotic-looking inflorescence or flower.  You can’t miss the different shapes of leaves that grow on a rosette formation. A Bromeliad as an accent piece on the spot is nice but having a few plants growing together is a sight to see.

Growing Bromeliads are surprisingly easy and without too much fuss which makes them great plants for beginners. Just familiarize yourself with the type of Bromeliad you have at home, and you can practically leave it alone for a few days.

This beginner’s guide will cover all you need to know to have bromeliads thriving for you.

About Bromeliads

about bromeliads

Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae genera) are perennial plants and are small flowering plants. Bromeliads are considered slow-growing plants that mature after 1-3 years and become flowering plants.

They grow and bloom during summer and spring, then die during autumn and winter. Most Bromeliads produce a leaf-like structure where the inflorescence of flowers grows once in their lifetime. More than 2,700 species of Bromeliads exist and require different kinds of care for outdoor and indoor plants.  

Bromeliads for Indoors and Outdoors


Outdoor Bromeliads

Outdoor Bromeliads grow and thrive in tropical climates but do well in subdued indirect sunlight. The epiphytic Bromeliads grow on plants and trunks of a tree. While saxicolous Bromeliads grow on rocky surfaces.

You can spot them under trees with wide canopy leaves or shaded patios. They can also grow directly from the soil or potted containers during summer. 

Indoor Bromeliads

Indoor Bromeliads are easy and low-maintenance houseplants that do well in shaded spaces. The terrestrial Bromeliad can grow in a pot or an indoor garden. They do not need daily watering or scheduled exposure to the sun.

Bromeliads do not attract pests, but you’ll need to empty the water dish under the pot to avoid mosquito growth.

They are non-toxic to your house pets and pose no harm to humans.

How To Grow Bromeliads

growing bromeliads

Bromeliads grow in tropical weather, but they can burn under direct sunshine. Depending on the type of Bromeliad, water feeding is done directly on the potting soil, on the cup tank of the plant, or sprayed directly on the body with water-mist to keep it moist. 

Having a space with optimal humidity and sufficient airflow is highly recommended.  Before the plant reaches its maturity, the fertilizer is given sparingly.

 Indoor BromeliadsOutdoor Bromeliads
SunBright surroundings but positioned away from direct sunlightShaded area or under a wide leafy canopy that blocks direct sunlight
Humidity60% Humidity50% -75% humidity
Temperature55˚F- 85˚F 70˚- 90˚F
Fertilizer FeedingWater-soluble fertilizer is placed on the bromeliad’s base.Diluted liquid fertilizer is sprayed over the plant.
SoilFast-draining potting soil (sphagnum peat moss, fine fir bark, and perlite) with an acidic pH level of 5.0 to 6.0A potting mixture of ½ potting soil + ¼ perlite + ¼ orchid bark. Another mixture is sand, tree fern, and coconut shells.  
Water ScheduleWater when the 2-inch topsoil is dry. For types with a cup tank, fill it with rainwaterKeep the plant moist by misting water with a sprayer a few times during the summer and spring. Once during the autumn and winter.

Handy Do’s to Growing Bromeliads

This beginner’s guide helps you understand what works for a Bromeliad. Following the simple dos and don’ts will make your plant grow and thrive.  

Do – Use the Right Pots and Potting Media

pots and potting media

How healthy and vibrant your indoor Bromeliad plant will grow is dependent on your pots or potting media. The container controls the moisture level and prevents plant disease. Fill up the pot or potting media with a formulated potting mix, not dense soil. This allows quick drainage of excess water through the multiple-drainage holes of the container. When water goes through, it can drain any salt buildup.

  • Plastic pots hold moisture longer and are ideal for a Bromeliad plant grown in an arid region with high temperatures. 
  • Unglazed clay pots are porous and ideal to use for a Bromeliad plant grown in a humid environment. Use a dish or pad to catch the water from seeping out.

Do – Watch for Diseases

plant diseases

Bromeliads get diseases from poor watering practices and a wrong potting mixture.  Once a week, you must empty the water gathered in the cup of the plant and clean any dead insects or debris. 

This goes for potted Bromeliads that should not be overwatered because of over-soaked roots that easily rot. It also prevents airflow and less oxygen.

Root Rot and Crown Rot

These diseases are caused by a common fungus called Phytophthora Cinnamomi, found in potting soils due to overwatering that soaks the potting mix with little oxygen. 

  • Foul odor from the Bromeliad’s center
  • Brown and soggy crown
  • Leaves fall off when touched


Pythium attacks the plant’s root system and causes plant rotting. A genus parasitic plant pathogen called Oomycetes infects different ranges of hosts.

  • Dark roots that appear mushy
  • Discoloration of leaves to a grayish-green bland color
  • Wilting of the plant

Helminthosporium Leaf Spot

Helminthosporium Leaf Spot is a fungal disease-causing leaf to turn yellow and blister-like. As the infection on the plant worsens, the spots become bigger, sunken, and brown. The advanced stage will cause leaves to collapse and hang limply.

  • Yellowish water-soaked small spots
  • Leaves that are brown and limp

Rust Disease

The blisters on the underside of the leaves are rust-colored and scatter on the surface. It will show a white or light-yellow spot on the topside.

  • Rust-colored bumps under the leaves
  • White or light-yellow spots on the upper part of the leaves.

Do – Keep Away Pests

keeping pests away

Bromeliads are quite safe from severe pests that usually damage and cause problems for people in your home. The common pests that attack the Bromeliad are remedied by spraying water and a few drops of dish soap.

The solution eliminates the mealybugs and aphids. You use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to take care of the scale bugs.  

Do – Extract Dead Leaves


Bromeliads are low-maintenance plants that do not need pruning to grow.  Simply take out the dying leaves from the plant. As for the dead flower, carefully trim the spike while allowing the plant to grow new pups for replanting.

You can remove the baby pups around the base of the plant and replant them in a pot or leave it to grow while you eliminate the dead matured plant.

Wrapping Up

As we discussed, it does not take rocket science to grow a Bromeliad. It is handy to read the care instructions that come with the plant.

Every type of bromeliad has its watering instructions and light required to achieve optimal growth. Remember that Bromeliads are air-loving plants that need to dry out before giving them another dose of water. 

As a newbie, you will learn as you go about what is needed to grow healthy Bromeliads. As it is a low-maintenance plant, this wouldn’t be too difficult. You will come to appreciate that this ornamental and exotic plant not only has a high aesthetic value but has a low requirement to thrive.  This makes growing Bromeliads a pleasant experience for you and your whole household.