It can be intimidating. You're a new plant parent, so take a deep breath. The amazon rainforest Bromeliads are a great starter to help you get acclimated to a growing green thumb. The best indoor plant for beginners is a Guzmania Bromeliad. It comes in a variety of flower colors that will give you that tropical feel and inspire a luau on your balcony!
Bromeliad Indoor Plant Care
One of the best parts of this indoor plant for beginners is it’s easy to maintain. Set it in bright light (in an east or west window) but not direct sun or its shiny leaves will burn. Water every month in the summer and 4-5 weeks in the winter. Bromeliads indoors are planted in moss or bark so they drain well. When watering hold it over the sink and flush the medium until it runs out the drain holes. Flush the base of the plant called the urn, cup, tank or vase thoroughly out (this is where the natural rainwater flows to the plant in its natural habitat in the rainforest). Spray off the leaves where dust accumulates. Then, put a couple of tablespoons of water (distilled, rainwater or purified) into the urn to keep it moist about 1/4th full. Don't think you're doing it a favor by putting too much into its urn. Too much can cause it to rot (tap water or well water may have some salts or too much iron that can weaken the health of the plant). Let the urn dry out for up to a week before putting any water back into the vase (if you can’t remember, tell Seri to remind you). Bromeliads thrive in the tropical rainforest so keeping a spray bottle handy to mist the leaves and raise the humidity each week will help it thrive.
Feed It What?
Bromeliads can be fed our organic fertilizer once per month for optimum growth and health. Follow the directions on the label. Otherwise, if you have orchid food, mix it at 1/2 strength and water in or spray the foliage and growing medium which would likely be an orchid bark or orchid mix because they need good drainage and air flow. When fertilizing, don't get the fertilizer in the urn or tank. The fertilizer salts will build up and burn the plant. Keep the fertilizer in the plant medium. Fertilize Bromeliads indoors only in the spring and summer and let it get some rest in the fall and winter months. All plants need a few months of down time (just like you do!)
Bromeliad Propagation and Pups
You will be a grandparent to pups before long, propagating Bromeliads for beginners is easy! Your plant will bloom, and in the natural cycle of things, the central flower stalk will completely die off, and the bromeliads pups will start growing bigger to take the place of the mother plant. Remove the dead or dying part with some pruners back to the base (the pups or babies at the base should still be looking lush and green). This simple pruning will give more light to the remaining pups with more room to stretch and grow. Or, you can remove the pups from the mother plant and pot them up as soon as they reach at least 5" or a third of the original stalk's size. In about three years the pups will mature to the flowering stage, and the cycle begins anew.
At this point, you can sit back and earn your 'green thumb' award for being a great indoor plant parent. You have now graduated to grandparenthood.