Propagating Bromeliad Pups: A Step-by-Step Success Guide

By: Matt Slaymaker
May 31, 2024
Bromeliad Pups
Share this post:

Bromeliads, with their colorful spiky leaves and vibrant flowers, attract immediate attention and are admired. These tropical plants are popular because of their exotic beauty, and many plant lovers want to learn how to multiply their Bromeliad collection. Well, Bromeliad propagation is easy.  

Bromeliad pups can be easily removed from the mother plant and propagated to grow into new individual flowering plants. You can even propagate the offsets successfully when they’re quite small and without roots. 

Whether you're a seasoned plant enthusiast or an inquisitive beginner, you’ll find the process straightforward. So keep reading to learn how to propagate Bromeliads.   

About Bromeliads

About Bromeliads

Bromeliads come in a dazzling array of colors like red, orange, yellow, pink, and more. Their sword-shaped leaves and brightly colored blooms offer an exotic touch to your interior settings. 

These tropical, drought-resistant plants from North and South America are surprisingly low-maintenance. They require warm temperatures, humidity, indirect sunlight, and low watering. 

Some Bromeliads thrive as epiphytes. That means they grow on other plants instead of soil!

People prefer to grow bromeliads indoors because of their air-purifying properties. It can clean up to 80% of the air pollutants! The good news for pet owners is that they are pet-friendly plants, containing no harmful compounds.

Types of Bromeliads

There are several varieties of Bromeliads. However, these can be divided into two main categories, terrestrial and epiphytic, depending on where they grow.  

  • Terrestrial: These Bromeliads grow in soil and require soil for their nutritional needs. Ananas (Pineapple plant), Bromelia, Cryptanthus, Dyckia, Greigia, Ochagavia, Puya, etc., are examples of terrestrial Bromeliads.
  • Epiphytic: These Bromeliads grow on other trees or rocks, deriving moisture and nutrients from the environment. Tillandsia (air plant), Vriesea, Neoregelia, and Guzmania are examples of epiphytic Bromeliads. 

What Is the Difference Between Terrestrial and Epiphytic Bromeliads?

The difference between terrestrial and epiphytic Bromeliads is their habitat and growing requirements. Terrestrial Bromeliads grow in soil, which is their source of nutrition. Epiphytic Bromeliads, on the other hand, grow on trees and rocks and get nutrition and moisture from air, rain, air moisture and debris.

Bromeliad Life Cycle 

The Bromeliad life cycle is quite unique and fascinating. This plant blooms once in its lifetime, and the Bromeliad blooming stages display spectacular colors and patterns. 

The buds emerge and soon unfurl to bloom into flowers that last weeks or months. After that, the mother plant starts declining as it has invested its energy into the production of blooms.

Even though this plant won’t bloom again, it produces offsets or Bromeliad pups. When planted separately for Bromeliad propagation, these pups grow into mature plants to produce flowers, again, once in their lifetime. 

How to Propagate Bromeliads 

How to Propagate Bromeliads

Once your Bromeliad blooms, it starts producing pups. To continue the plant's legacy, you should learn how to propagate Bromeliad pups

Each Bromeliad pup is a little offshoot that starts to sprout after the mother plant has flowered. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, you can seamlessly use them to propagate Bromeliads.

When to Separate Bromeliad Pups? 

You should separate pups for propagating Bromeliads when they’re at least one-third of the mother plant’s size. They should develop roots and be mature enough to thrive independently. Check the base of the pups to make sure it’s firm and hard, indicating that they are ready.

How Big Should Bromeliad Pup Be?

The ideal size of Bromeliad pups is about 5” or one-third of the mother plant’s stalk. The pups must be strong enough to have sufficient energy for growth. You can also wait for them to become half the mother plant’s size to boost your chances of successful propagation.  

How to Remove Bromeliad Pups? 

How to Remove Bromeliad Pups
Source: JoyUsGarden

Remove Bromeliad pups by first taking the mother plant out of its pot. Use sharp, clean pruners to cut off the top for better access to the pups. Remove dead leaves and gently pull out the pups with their small root system intact. You may need to cut away the roots to separate the pups.

Transplanting Bromeliad Pups 

Once you extract the Bromeliad pups, it’s time to transplant them. It’s a straightforward process as you plant them separately in their individual pots. Though pups with roots will thrive when transplanted, Bromeliad pups without roots are also capable of establishing themselves. They’ll develop their roots and soon catch up with increasing in size.

Do Bromeliad Pups Need Rooting Hormone?

Rooting hormone can help Bromeliad pups establish their roots. It’s required if a pup’s root system is damaged or underdeveloped. Before planting the pup, dip its cut end in a rooting hormone. Use a store-bought variety or a mix of apple cider vinegar and water for a successful Bromeliaceae propagation.

Best Soil for Bromeliad Pups

Bromeliad pups can be propagated in different soil types. You can use a medium with a well-draining potting mix, perlite, and orchid bark in a 2:1:1 ratio. Pups will also flourish in a mixture containing sphagnum moss and peat. Let’s not forget that young epiphytic Bromeliad varieties will also get their nutrients from the air and flourish.

How to Plant Bromeliad Pups

Planting Bromeliad pups is a simple process. Whether or not your pups have roots, they can grow into healthy plants and bear flowers. 

 Here's how to plant Bromeliad pups:

  1. Pick a container or pot with sufficient drainage holes for one pup.  
  2. Fill the planter with soil and place the pup at the pot’s center. The roots should not go too deep into the soil to prevent leaves from decaying. 
  3. Cover the roots with soil gently and press it down to secure the pup. 
  4. Keep the pup erect by tying it to a corkboard, stick, or branch. This is an essential if the pup doesn’t have roots.  

With some patience and proper care, your pups will soon start flourishing. Here's a video to help you understand how to propagate Bromeliad pups.

Bromeliad Pups: Care Tips 

Bromeliad Pups Care Tips

Once planted, Bromeliad pups don't need much energy or effort to grow. They are very easy to care for and will reward you with gorgeous blooms once they mature. These indoor plants need humidity and warmth but hate too much water or direct light. If you can take care of their simple needs, they will thrive. 

How Much Water Do Bromeliad Pups Need?

After planting a Bromeliad pup, water it from the top to thoroughly wet the soil. Water will run out of the drainage holes. Let the top layer of the soil become dry before giving the plant its next drink. Depending on the weather, leave a gap of 1-3 weeks between watering sessions.

How Much Light Do Bromeliad Pups Need? 

Bromeliad pups thrive in brightly lit areas and require indirect light to grow and bloom. You should place your pups in a spot receiving filtered sunlight. Keep them away from direct, scorching sunlight. You should not keep them in low-light conditions, either. 

Why Are My Bromeliad Pups Not Growing?

Bromeliad pups need 1-3 years to grow and bloom after their separation from the parent plants. But you may notice them not growing or blooming. Excess or lack of water, too much light, underexposure to sunlight, low humidity, extreme heat and cold, sudden environmental changes, etc., can all cause this issue.  

Bromeliad Propagation: FAQs

Q: At what age do Bromeliads bloom?

A: Bromeliads grow slowly and bloom when they are fully mature. They usually flower after 3 years, depending on the variety and the growing conditions. Some Bromeliads may need even more time. That means you’ll need to be patient. But many gardeners use special tricks to make them bloom sooner.

Q: Can you leave pups on Bromeliads?

A: You can leave the your pups on Bromeliad to become stronger and bigger. The parent plant will eventually die. If there are multiple pups, you’ll need to separate them and plant them in pots.  

Q: What happens if you leave pups on Bromeliad?

A: If you leave pups on Bromeliad, they'll get nourished better from the parent plant. The longer they remain on the main plant, the stronger they will be. Eventually, the parent plant will die. If there's a single pup, it will take the place of the parent plant.

Q: Is rooting Bromeliad pups in water possible?

A: Epiphytic Bromeliad pups cannot root in water and will rot if you try to root them in a container with water. It’s possible for terrestrial Bromeliad pups to root in water. But you should wait for the wound where you cut the pup to callus first. However, it’s best to root both types of Bromeliads in a light, well-draining soil mix. 

Q: How long does it take for a Bromeliad pup to grow?

A: Bromeliad pups turn into mature plants in 1-3 years from their separation from the parent plant. Some varieties may need more time. Once they become mature, they bloom, producing flowers only once in their lifetime. 


Now that you know how to propagate Bromeliads from their pups, you can enjoy expanding your collection. For an exotic vibe and pet-safe environment, you can pair them with other pet-friendly lucky plants or tropical beauties. Be it a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree, a Ficus Elastica Burgundy Rubber Tree, or a variety of exotic palm trees, you’ll be spoiled for choice, as there a many great companion plants for your Bromeliads.