Kenna writes about the care of plants, both indoors and out. She wrote an orchid care booklet—a companion piece for workshops.
"Bromeliads with thin leaves like moisture and those with thick leaves prefer dry conditions."
— Celeste Booth, "12 Interesting Bromeliad Facts"
Bromeliad Care Tips
What is the best way to care for Bromeliads?
Bromeliads in their native environment cling at the top of mighty trees of the rainforest. There they feed off the sun, air, and water. Rather than in soil, this makes them an air plant. As a houseplant in their containers and with proper care, the brilliant color flower of sharp reds, oranges, and pinks last three to six months.
Bromeliads only flower once—never again. Pups or offshoots are sprouts from the base of the plant. You cultivate these puppies for a new plant, but it takes patience. It's best to leave them and let them run the course. The pup matures and forms a base while attached to the adult bromeliad. You separate them from the bromeliad and put them into their container.
Because bromeliad is an air plant, their vase-shaped leaves form a natural reservoir for water, which retains the water for the plant's absorption. Always have a little water in the cups of the leaf bases. Replace the stagnant water once a month. Water the soil once it has completely dried.
Bromeliads Light Grows Color
What makes the bromeliad's color so vibrant?
Light is crucial for bromeliads. The light ensures bromeliad's care is excellent. Their colors will last longer with plenty of indirect light. Though, don't place them in direct sunlight, as it will burn the plant.
Bromeliads relatively need to be fertilized. During the summer months is good if bright light is continually present. Dark interior conditions require no fertilizer. The strength of the plant food should not exceed 1/3 of the recommended dosage. Use fertilizers that dissolve in water.
Plants, like the bromeliad, growing in potting mixes that are not soil, need fertilizing. Such potting mixes have relatively no food for the plant.
How much fertilizer does a bromeliad need to maintain its bright colors?
Light provides energy to plants, not fertilizers. Fertilizers are for feeding plants food, and plants process food by using good light. If there is not enough light, fertilizing is harmful to the plant. Bromeliads inside sufficient light levels grow healthy, and feeding is desirable for the plant. If a plant is in low light levels, fertilizing harms the plant more than doing any good.
I tried many different types of fertilizer and found Florikan Dynamite 10-10-17 Orchids & Bromeliads Fertilizer the best. I use it because of my orchids. They like it, too.
“Conversely, the red plant itself burns a brighter red when set off by the green than when it grows among its peers. In the bed I always reserved for poinsettia seedlings, there was little to distinguish one plant from its neighbours. My poinsettia did not turn scarlet until I planted it in new surroundings. Color is not something one has, color is bestowed on one by others.”
— Arthur Japin, "The Black With the White Heart"
How to Care for Poinsettias
Poinsettias are not just for the holidays although, that is when the majority of them get purchased. Poinsettias as houseplants keep relatively healthy and beautiful throughout the entire year. Simple attention to selection, placement, and care help ensure your poinsettias continue to grow and flourish.
If you live in the subtropics or tropics, you can place them outside, and they will truly flourish. They accentuate the yard so nicely.
Poinsettias come in many shades of cream, yellow, white, pink, peach, traditional red, and some with variegated bracts (leaves) designed with stripes, marbled or spotted with contrasting colors.
What do you think?
How to Keep Poinsettias Alive
How do you pick a healthy poinsettia?
Look for poinsettias with thick and stocky stems, deep and intense colors, and leaves that go all the way down the stem.
Make sure to wrap poinsettias during transportation on cold days. Poinsettias drop their leaves when exposed to sudden temperature changes. You need to make sure, during seasonal changes, you are aware of how you place your plants.
How do you maintain the bright colors of the poinsettia?
Keep poinsettias in bright and natural light at least six hours a day. Avoid fading their color by keeping the afternoon sun from shining directly on the plants.
Protect poinsettias from directly touching cold windows because chill can damage these semi-tropical plants.
Position plants away from drafty doors and heat sources. Colors last longest when temperatures do not exceed 70 degrees during the daytime or fall below 65 degrees at night.
How to Grow Poinsettias
Clip brown faded leaves at the end of the stem.
You water poinsettias when the soil surface feels dry. Stop pouring the water only until that water begins to come out of the drainage holes. Keep the soil moist.
Use a very light fertilizer.
Warning, poinsettias do not require fertilizer during the winter.
Tip: Poinsettias come in many shades of cream, yellow, white, pink, peach, traditional red, and some with variegated bracts (leaves) designed with stripes, marbled or spotted with contrasting colors. Red color poinsettias are still the most popular by far—80 percent.
Bracts (leaves) are commonly mistaken for the flower of the poinsettia. The flower or cyathia rests in the center of several bracts.
© 2016 Kenna McHugh