Plant Diseases/bromelia


This beautiful potted plant has been appreciated for some two months (in Alabama home).  I have tried to carefully follow instructions (light, temperature, water).  In past 2-3 weeks, its red bloom has progressively turned brown (but not dry/brittle).  The green leaves remain healthy and strong.  Is this a normal life cycle?  Any corrective action suggested?  Thanks.

Dear Frank, Your bromeliad is doing what all bromeliads do when they have finished blooming.  The gorgeous bloom will now continue to decline, but the leaves will stay looking good - for a while.  Then the leaves will start to turn brown on the ends.  However, this isn't the end of the bromeliad!  Bromeliads are fascinating plants, and after they complete their bloom, they will send up a number of shoots, usually three or four, alongside the base of of the plant.  These shoots will continue to grow, and as they do, the inner plant will continue to decline.  All of the plant's energy will be sent to the remaining shoots, the offspring, which will then take the place of the original plant.  Generally, when the new plants become about 1/2 the size of the mother plant, then you can successfully break them away from the mother plant, and repot them on their own.  Be sure to use the same type medium to grow the babies as the original plant.  They will need to be planted in a mix especially for bromeliads, which you might be able to find at a gardening center, but you might have to locate online.  If you take care of the babies, they will grow to be as beautiful as the adult plant.  Since you live in Alabama, you can probably put the plants outside for more light until the weather gets cold again, but keep them nearby so you remember to care for them.  They won't like full sun for more than an hour or two a day, but bright light is good for them.  I wish you much success, and if you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask.  Good luck, Melissa

Plant Diseases

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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