Common Name: Bromeliads
Growth Habit: herbaceous perennials
Cultural Requirements: Most bromeliad species grow as epiphytes in the branches of trees that grow in tropical and subtropical forests. Along the coast they can be grown like this, but often it is easier to plant them in the ground in well draining soil. They can be grown in pots planted with a well-draining orchid bark soil mix.
Some of the easiest types or genera of bromeliads are Aechmea, Neoreglia, and Guzmania. Most bromeliads require surprisingly less water than one would think for a “jungle” plant although they benefit from an occasional light misting or watering.
Features/Uses:The exotic blooms and striking, often “tropical-looking” foliage are spectacular and create drama and interest in gardens and as containers plants. There is a great range of aesthetic effects among the hundreds of bromeliad species and hybrids. The most familiar U.S. bromeliad is Spanish moss. Its grey-green wispy foliage drapes from trees and give unique character to the Deep South.
Most bromeliad species grow as epiphytes in the branches of trees that grow in tropical and subtropical forests. Many of these capture rain with their cupped central leaves. This habit makes many types easy to water and care for in homes and offices.
In addition to the “jungle” look of most bromeliads a number of bromeliads are adapted to dry, arid habitats. Most of these grow in the ground. The most well known bromeliad is pineapple. It grows in the ground with the fruit produced on an overhead stalk. At the Botanic Garden some of our most popular plants are the Sapphire Tower puyas (Puya alpestris) with their stalks of teal blue blooms in early summer.
Bloom Time: The hundreds of species may bloom at various times throughout the year, but the best time locally is at the end of summer, the warmest time of the year.
Where in the Garden: Rain Forest, South America, Central America, Bamboo Garden, Hamilton Children’s Garden
Photos: Rachel Cobb