If you have at least one Bromeliad plant around your house or garden, you cannot go more exotic than this! Bromeliads have all the advantages to make us wish to propagate them as soon as possible. Their colourful leaves and flowers are everything we need to make this plant one of our top picks of all time in terms of gorgeousness.
As you might already know, Bromeliads feature numerous bracts that rise from the central cup of the plant and that contain mesmerizing specific small flowers. Their fabulous, sometimes variegated bracts are the main reason why we absolutely love Bromeliads. These exotic ornamentals will usually last for several months and, once their flowers wilt, they begin to fade away slowly.
Once a bract is dead, the parent Bromeliad plants will send out, generously and without hesitation, plenty of offsets from their base. The Bromeliad pups look very much like tiny versions of their mother plants. These cute baby offsets will show up timidly between the large leaves of their Bromeliad mother plants.
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What are Bromeliads?
Bromeliads belong to a plant family known as the Bromeliaceae, which consists of more than 3000 described species and no less than 56 different genera. There are many popular Bromeliads, but the most famous member of this family is probably the pineapple.
The Bromeliaceae family contains many ornamental plants that are quite similar to the pineapple plant, but it also contains members that look completely different, such as the Spanish Moss, plants that look similar to succulents, and others that look like leafy grasses.
Ornamental Bromeliads are beloved by gardeners worldwide because they look exotic, they are easy to grow, don’t need much to thrive, are easy to find, and are quite affordable. Bromeliads make great gifts thanks to their colourful, long-lasting blooms and striking foliage.
As mentioned above, the Bromeliad family of plants is extremely diverse, so it should come as no surprise that the members of this family come in a wide range of colours, shapes, and sizes. From miniature plants to giants, and from plants that thrive in exotic environments to plants that can withstand cooler climates, the Bromeliad family has it all.
The most popular ornamental Bromeliads are Guzmania, Vriesea, the pineapple plant, Billbergia, Tillandsia, Cryptanthus, Neoregelia, Hechtia, Aechmea, Canistropsis, Dyckia, Nidularium, etc.
What are the best propagation methods for Bromeliads?
Bromeliads are very unique and interesting plants, and most plants from this family are monocarpic. This means that once their flowering period has ended, the plant starts to wither and die. The good news it that monocarpic plants are quite generous when it comes to offsets. If you don’t like the idea of seeing your plant wither, you can opt for non-monocarpic Bromeliads such as Tillandsias and Dyckias.
Now, back to propagation – the greatest thing about the monocarpic Bromeliads’ pups is that they make for a wonderful propagation material. However, the offsets will serve your demands regarding propagation only once they measure at least 6 inches (15 cm) in height. When this happens, you will know that the Bromeliad pups are ready to be your new independent Bromeliads soon.
There is nothing more rewarding than taking a Bromeliad plant from the pup stage and bringing it to a fully mature specimen. In general, a healthy mother plant will bear several pups before it completely fails. You can repeat this process over and over at a distance of about 2 to 3 years. So take as many offsets as you can right now to enjoy the moment to its fullest! Afterwards, you can wait for your graceful Bromeliads to produce more.
Another way to make more Bromeliad plants would be by starting new ones from scratch using seeds. This is pretty difficult from the very beginning, but we are coming up with an alternative that surely saves some time and effort along the way.
Keep reading to find out more about these fun propagation techniques!
Necessary Materials for Propagating Your Bromeliads
- One or more Bromeliad plants, depending on how many new ones you wish to obtain.
- You will need a number of containers equal to the number of new plants that you plan on obtaining.
- If you opt for the seed technique, you will only need one container.
- A mix of half-part general-use potting mix and half-part orchid bark for the pups. If you are using seeds, sphagnum moss or a seed-starting potting mix works best.
- A big and sharp garden tool perfect for cutting (optional)
- Rooting hormone powder to make the process much faster (for Bromeliad pups)
Propagating Bromeliads Through Pups or Offsets
If your Bromeliad plants have produced small pups already, make sure they have the suitable size for propagation as mentioned above. The longer the Bromeliad pups remain attached to the parent plant, the faster they will reach maturity. During the time the offsets are on the Bromeliad parent plant, they take all the nutrients they need to grow healthy and happy.
When the time is right, you can begin the process of propagating your Bromeliad plants which, by the way, is an easy and fun gardening activity even if you are a beginner! You will first have to remove the pups from the Bromeliad mother plants.
Separating the pups from the mother plant
There are two ways to do this and they are both simple. The first one would be by using your bare hands to separate the pups from the parent plants. We suggest you grab both the offset and the mother plant firmly but pull them apart gently and with lots of care until the offset is no longer attached to the plant.
The second method consists of using a shovel, scissors, or a big knife to cut the pups off the mother plant. You can do this properly by cutting the offsets as far down as you can near the soil and, if you can, even below its surface.
No matter what method of separation you opt for, you will have to dip the cut ends of the Bromeliad pups into rooting hormone powder at the end of the removal part. This will boost their growth including the speed of roots development if they do not have them.
Planting the Bromeliad pups
Once you have all the Bromeliad pups you want to use for propagation, you can go to the next step: planting. You can place each Bromeliad pup into its own pot. The containers should come along with drainage holes to assure excellent drainage overall. Plus, the potting mix that works nicely with these offsets is one that you can prepare at home. Make sure you mix equal parts of all-purpose potting soil and orchid bark for the best results out there.
When you place the Bromeliad pups in the substrate, try to resist the temptation of setting them too deeply in it. If you feel like the pups need some extra support, it is better to use wood sticks or some other material to hold them up until they come up with a strong root system to sustain the whole weight.
When Bromeliad plants grow outdoors, in their native environment, they will generally collect all the water they need in their central cups. When you grow these plants indoors, you get to choose the watering technique that you think works best – you can either add the water directly into the potting soil or water their central cups.
You should water the offsets occasionally without causing them to waterlog or experience soggy conditions. Overwatering will bring a negative outcome to the propagation process, affecting the offsets in a bad way and preventing them from growing healthy and producing roots if they do not already have some.
It would be wise to spoil the offsets with a drink only to keep their potting mix barely moist. Once the Bromeliad pups seem stable in the substrate, you can gradually increase the frequency of watering until it reaches the same one as the mother plants.
You can also tie each Bromeliad offset to a corkboard or branch as its new home environment. This method mimics perfectly the way Bromeliad plants grow in their habitat of origin. If the pups do not have roots, there is nothing to worry about! In little to no time, they will produce roots that will allow them to cling tightly to their new host since Bromeliads are epiphytes.
If everything works fine for the Bromeliad pups, they will begin to show some new growth after several weeks from planting. At this moment, the new baby plants will begin to tolerate more sunlight, so you can expose them gradually to it.
Starting New Bromeliads From Seed
Although Bromeliad plants can grow just fine from seeds, this process will take a much longer time than the offset method, but with a bit of luck and patience, it will reward you with spectacular results.
Propagating Bromeliads from seed is a more time-consuming process, but, this does not mean that you should avoid trying! After all, gardening is all about making experiments and learning how to be patient. All you have to do is to follow a few simple steps, and you will have great results in the end.
One way to obtain Bromeliad seeds would be by crossing two Bromeliad plants. After this, you could collect the seeds, sow them, and then wait for the sprouting to happen. This might seem easy at first but is actually a difficult process to get through.
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We recommend you acquire new Bromeliad seeds from garden shops or markets if you want to try this method. When you have the seeds, all you have to do is to sow them and care for them. The pots must contain either a seedling mixture or sphagnum moss. Water the chosen potting mix until it is slightly damp and keep in mind to maintain it constantly moist during the propagation time.
Besides moisture, Bromeliad seeds require plenty of bright, indirect sunlight, and warm temperatures. You can also think about keeping the humidity levels high around the seeds. Achieving this is pretty simple: cover the containers with plastic wrap or a transparent plastic bag and let it do the tricks for you. The plastic bag must be transparent to allow Bromeliad pups to receive as much light as they can.
If the seeds experience friendly environmental conditions, they may germinate several months after sowing them. Once you notice the seedlings showing up from the potting mix, you can remove the plastic wrap or bag permanently. Also, you should accommodate the Bromeliad babies to more sunlight gradually until they can withstand as much as their mother plants.
In the plant world, Bromeliads are undoubtedly among the most gorgeous species, captivating us with their unique bract patterns and colourful flowers. Once we get the opportunity to have them as a company, it is only natural to want to fill our homes and gardens with more beautiful specimens. Especially when they are so easy to propagate!
All you’ll need is potting mix and some cute containers with drainage holes. The good news is Bromeliads tend to have small root systems, so they won’t need a very large container. You can grow them in any type of container as long as they get good drainage.
Another important thing to remember is that Bromeliads thrive in bright indirect light, both indoors and outdoors. A sunny windowsill that does not get a lot of harsh afternoon sun is the ideal location for these friendly exotic ornamentals.
It does not matter whether you choose to propagate your Bromeliad plants through pups or seeds. All that counts is that you have a lovely experience to look back to and, of course, as many Bromeliads as you dream of.
Are you growing Bromeliads? Let us know if you’ve tried propagating them!