Harvesting Bromeliads

There are over 3000 species of Bromeliads, with new ones being discovered and hybridized each year.  I fell in love with these rosette shaped beauties the second I moved here, but had a hard time deciding what to buy given the myriad choices. Eventually, I settled on 4 unique Aechmea varieties, in colors ranging from light green/pink to deep speckled maroon.  But what was 4 is now 12—they’ve multiplied exponentially, spilling over the sides of their first clay homes. 😉

Bromeliads reproduce by a process known as “pupping,” in which 3-5 new plants form along the base of the mother, shortly after she sends up a flower scape. As you can see in the pictures, my original bromeliads were seriously pot bound!

Overcrowded Bromeliads

Moving around the other side of the pot, you can see 3 generations have formed:

3 generations of Bromeliads!

On the left is the original rooted plant. Attached to the roots (via stolon) is the first pup; growing out of the pup’s base you can see the beginnings of another stolon from which an unfurled pup is forming.   Similar overcrowding was taking place in the next container, too:

More overcrowded Bromeliads

Time to Repot!

Separating offsets from mother plants is a simple process,  All you need is a pair of nippers/clippers.

Removing a pup from a bromeliad

Clip anywhere along the connecting stolon!

I suggest snipping in the middle of the stolon to avoid accidentally damaging either plant should your hand slip.  After the offset is seperated, you may trim the stem to within an inch of the base to allow for easier potting.

Not all bromeliad species propagate via stolons—some have offsets emerging on the underside of an outermost leaf along the base of the mother plant. With these, division can be a bit trickier and you should attempt it ONLY when the pup is 2/3 of the mother’s height: ➡ this larger size allows you to grasp the (new) plant securely at the base and pull quickly out then down until you hear/feel a snap.  If the pup doesn’t fully seperate with a snap, use a paring knife to slice through any remaining tissue.

Bromeliads do best in media that moistens easily but drains quickly: for this reason I repot my offsets in cactus soil. If you prefer something different, try mixing equal parts mulch/pine bark nuggets, perlite and composted peat for a soil-less mix.

Until next time! 🙂



10 thoughts on “Harvesting Bromeliads

  1. I hard a lovely collection of rare bromeliads when we lived in Florida. I hope the people that bought our home appreciate their beauty.

    • Honestly, I don’t think I ever knew airplants/bromeliads existed until I moved here. I know people buy them for use as indoor ornamentals (as well as landscape plants) but getting the container to drain right and keeping the plant hydrated by misting is a challenge indoors…maybe a bathroom setting would work well, but the rest of the house? problematic, at best!
      thanks for poppling in with a comment!!!

  2. Small House – i remember airplants as a kid. They were dark green and airy like a fern. Are they in the same family as bromeliads? Interesting article and photos. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Moisture + Mugginess = Stay Inside and Hide!! | small house/BIG GARDEN
  4. Pingback: Red White and Blue: Patriotic in the Garden! | small house/BIG GARDEN
  5. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Color | small house/BIG GARDEN
  6. I care for this family of plants…it was love at first sight when I first saw them. You have such a beautiful garden…definitely a plants lover paradise. I´m all the time pleased with pictures of it.

Comments are closed.