Potting- Bromeliad's like a good draining potting mix. Cymbidian Orchid Mix is recommended, but you can also add 1/3 pine bark to a good quality potting mix. Don't pot a bromeliad too deeply, only to the base of the leaves. Remove any brown leaves before potting. Stake the plant with some bamboo skewers if necessary, until roots develop and stabilize.
Watering- Bromeliads should be watered in the cup until it's full (the cup is the vase in the plant). This should be done when the cup is empty or close to empty. You do not need to water at the base of the pot, only in the cup. Tillandsia's should be thoroughly soaked with each watering. Watering should be twice a week in hot and dry conditions. This can be cut back as the months get cooler. In winter, watering can almost be stopped completely.
Light- Dappled or partial shade is best for Bromeliads. Varieties such as Guzmania's and Vriesea's like a lot of shade, whilst the Neoregelia's like more sun. If they are in too much shade, the leaves will become dark green and elongated. If they are in too much sun, leaves will become yellow and bleached, and in some cases will burn.
Fertilizing- Not necessary. If you wish to, you can mix 10-20% strength liquid fertilizer to the water. Slow released fertilizer can also be sprinkled around the base of the plant, but again this is not essential.
Frost- Light frosts can be tolerated, but in heavy frosts some protection is required. Places such as verandahs or under trees which are not affected by heavy frosts are suitable.
Pests- Bromeliads are relatively pest free. However, if you find you plant has an infection, such as mealy bug or scale, fungicide will get rid of it. Mix the fungicide with water (dosage instructions should be on fungicide bottle) and pour into the cup. Do not use oil based fungicide sprays. Most commercial fungicides are suitable, providing they do not contain copper. All plants that we sell are dosed with fungicide before sale.
Flowering- Most bromeliads stay in flower for around 6 months. Some species, such as the Billbergia's, produce brilliant inflorescent flowers, but they only last 2-3 weeks. Each plant only ever flowers once, before it looks to produce offsets (pups). Some plants will also offset before flowering. Plants can be forced to flower by pouring the juice of a rotten apple into the cup for 2-3days, then washing it out. Flowers will then appear in 1-6 months, depending on the plant. The usual turn-around between flowering is 2-3 years but you will quickly get to a stage where you should always have something in flower.
Offsets- Offsets can be removed when they are a 1/3-1/2 of the size of the adult plant. A sharp set of secateurs or a serrated knife should be used to remove offsets. Wounds can be treated with a sulphur-based fungicide, or left to callous before planting. Always remove any brown leaves before potting.