The bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) are wonderful houseplants that are native to tropical North and South America. Related to the pineapple, there are more than 3,000 known species of bromeliads, of which many are highly prized indoor specimens. In addition to the many native species, there are many, many more cultivars bred for sale.
Bromeliads are tolerant of low light, can be watered from overhead in their central cups, and feature ornamental foliage and beautiful, if infrequent, flowers. It is remarkably easy to grow for a such and spectacular plant. Although bromeliads favor shady areas in its native areas, when grown as an indoor plant, it needs relatively bright locations, such as in front of a window. Bromeliads need relatively humid conditions, which can be a challenge when grown indoors in dry winter months. Keeping the pot in a saucer of gravel kept constantly wet can help keep humidity levels up. Bromeliads do well in shallow pots filled with an orchid mix potting soil.
Many people discard bromeliads after the bloom is complete, but with a little experience, one bromeliad can easily turn into a whole garden of these great tropical plants. Small offsets of the original plant, called "pups," can be replanted to propagate as many bromeliads as you want.
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The various species of Bromeliaceae Aechmea are some of the most resilient and longest-lasting of bromeliads, which might explain why this type is also one of the most popular indoor bromeliads. These large, beautiful plants feature striking flowers and bracts that can last up to six months, and its offspring can be kept relatively easily for many years.
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Bromeliaceae Guzmania bromeliads are available in a striking array of colors, from orange to red and purple to yellow and even white. These hybrids will offer several weeks of color as tabletop plants, and, like other popular bromeliads, they can be kept as houseplants that will reproduce from "pups" around their base.
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The Bromeliaceae Neoregelia bromeliads seen most often in cultivation are shorter than their showy cousins, as they don't have towering flowering bracts. However, these plants frequently have gorgeous foliage that can provide months of color. The Neoregelia species are also slightly more cold-hardy than some other bromeliads.
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The Bromeliaceae Vriesea bromeliads seen indoors are somewhat strange but oddly beautiful plants. There are both foliage and flowering types available, but the flowering specimens are much more common. These plants feature colorful, somewhat flat flower bracts with tiny, almost insignificant blossoms. Somewhat smaller, they are perfect desktop plants for low-light conditions.