Hello! I just purchased two bromeliads from my local hard where store. The have a spiky, red central "tube" coming out of a bunch of long green leaves. I was wondering how I would care for these plants, like a general care guide. The pot is way to small for the plant so is it possible to repot it into orchid soil? Also, the tag says it has a low light requirement, is this true?
Your Bromeliads are probably of the Guzmania species.
Do NOT repot your Bromeliad. These plants do best when kept in small pots. Pots that are too large will quickly rot the fragile roots.
Place your Bromeliad near a sunny north or east window that is left uncovered. In good sunlight, the flower and the flower spike will last for 2-4 months and sometimes even longer. Allow the soil to become dry about an inch deep into the pot before watering thoroughly until some water runs through the drainage holes. Once per week is usually about right if it is kept tightly potted and in good light. Water the soil directly, not in the cup formed by the leaves as is often incorrectly recommended.
After a few months, the flower will gradually start to dry up and die. This is normal. By then, you will notice one or more baby plants emerging from the base of the plant. Over the course of a year or two the original green plant will also gradually dry up and die. This, too, is normal. By the time the original green plant has died you will have one or more healthy baby plants to take its place. These baby plants can be left in the same pot and cared for in the same manner. However, it will take several years more before the baby plants will be mature enough to flower.
I have written detailed articles on repotting and on Bromeliad care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com. I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.
Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.
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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC
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