When a bromeliad reaches maturity, it begins to put out pups—baby plants. The mother plant may have from 2 to 20 pups. These pups can be left at the base of the mother plant or, when the pup is at least half the size of the mother plant, it can be removed. To remove a pup from the mother you will need to pull and twist the pup at the base. Try to get as much of the base and roots as possible; sometimes it is difficult and you may need a knife. Once you have the pup off, take off the bottom leaves and either plant the pup in some soil or you can mount the plant. Remember that each bromeliad will only bloom once and the pups are your source for your next bloom.
In order to mount your plant, the first thing that you will do is to take the plant out of the pot and remove the excess soil. Wrap the roots with moss that has been soaked in a mild fertilizer solution. The moss helps to keep moisture in. Place the plant on a piece of wood or on a rock and attach the plant by putting wire or string around the base of the plant, securing the plant. Do not allow wire or treated wood to come into contact with the leaves.
These tropical plants do not get pot bound and therefore do not have to be repotted. New leaves grow out from the center of the plant. If the oldest or outer leaves turn yellow, they can be removed. If you have a plant that has a bloom that stays down in the center of the plant (a neoregelia), the bloom can be removed by using a spoon. You probably will want to remove the old bloom because it does develop an odor. Bromeliads do require more air in the soil than most plants, so it is recommended that either cypress chips or perlite be added to commercial potting soils.
Care for Bromeliads
Bromeliads are easy to care for, beautiful plants for your home, patio, or yard. There are a few native to Florida, but most originated in Central and South America and the Caribbean, where they are found growing in trees and on rocks. Because of their natural habitat they grow very well in the ground, on rocks, and even mounted on wood.
Most bromeliads need shade or indirect light. Many varieties can take a couple hours of direct sun though, normally in the early morning or late afternoon. The key is, if you can get sunburned there, so can your plant. Also, if you have a variety that has color in its foliage (when not in bloom) and you find it turning green, as a general rule, it needs more (indirect) light.
Potted bromeliads do not like to be over watered; you only want to water them every 10 to 14 days. Potted bromeliads can get root rot if they are over watered. When you water your plant, make sure that you water it both in the center of the plant as well as the soil around the base of the plant.
Mounted bromeliads need more attention. Because they do not have the soil to keep moisture in, they need to be watered 2 to 3 times per week. When you water the mounted plants, make sure to get water in the center of the plant and you also want to soak the root ball. Any way that you can get water in both places is a good way.
Bromeliads like to be fed about once a month. You should use a well-balanced house plant fertilizer. Using a liquid form of 20-20-20 in your water once a month is good. Some varieties such as neoregelias can turn green if they are fertilized too much.