Reblooming A Bromeliad: Getting Bromeliads To Bloom

Blooming Bromeliad Plant
bromeliad flower
(Image credit: joloei)

Bromeliads can be found clinging to trees and cracks in cliffs in some regions. But even if you aren't lucky enough to see them in their wild state, bromeliads are commonly grown as houseplants and easy to find at nurseries and garden centers. They usually come in bloom and the spectacular flower lasts a few weeks or up to a month. Do bromeliads only flower once? Yes. Getting bromeliads to bloom again isn't possible, but the plant produces a next generation of bloomers called offsets that will.

Will Bromeliad Bloom Again?

Epiphytes are plants with gripping roots that hold the plant onto its chosen surface. This surface may be tree bark, rock or even cement. In indigenous terrain, you can see epiphytic bromeliads literally swinging from the trees. They produce fascinating and colorful flowers, called an inflorescence, surrounded by rosettes of thick green to silver leaves. Reblooming a bromeliad won't work because they only produce one flower in the plant's lifetime. Bromeliads grow in a rosette with a cup-like depression at the center. This depression is responsible for collecting nutrients and water. Unlike most plants, the roots of a bromeliad are mostly for adherence purposes and do not uptake the plant's needs. Rainwater and dew fall into the cup and other plant litter, small insects and organic material end up in the depression, serving as a source of minerals. The rosette grows by adding new leaves in the center, which becomes impossible after the flower has bloomed. For this reason, increased growth is done through separate plantlets at the base, or offsets, and the adult bromeliad won't flower again.

Getting Bromeliads to Bloom

Although the adult bromeliad won't bloom, with a little tender loving care, those pups or offsets will flower eventually.

  • First, they need their own home and some encouragement. Separate the offsets from the parent plant with a sharp, clean knife at the base.
  • Leave the offset out on the counter for a day or two to callus before planting. Use a well draining soil mix.
  • Keep the center of the bromeliad filled with water and add diluted liquid seaweed or diluted compost tea once every two weeks. This will encourage the young bromeliad to flourish and grow up so it can be ready to bloom.
  • Only mature plants will flower, so a little patience is required when getting bromeliads to bloom from pups.

Forcing a Bromeliad to Bloom Sooner

Reblooming a bromeliad adult isn't possible but a few tips will see those young offsets in bloom sooner.

  • Add some dissolved Epsom salts to the cup once per month to encourage the production of chlorophyll and flowers.
  • Forcing a bromeliad to bloom also requires an appropriate environment. Empty the depression in the plant and encase it in a large plastic bag accompanied by a slice of apple, kiwi or banana. These fruits give off ethylene gas, which will help force the plant into bloom.
  • Keep the plant in the bag for 10 days and then remove the covering. The plant should bloom in six to 10 weeks with a little luck.
Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.