Propagating bromeliad pups is both fun and rewarding, allowing you to easily fill your home with beautiful plants.
In this post I’ll guide you through the entire four-step process, from picking the right time for propagation to separating the pups and potting up the babies.
I’ll also list the supplies you’ll need and share my tips for success, so you’ll be fully equipped to propagate bromeliads like a pro.
What Are Bromeliad Pups?
Bromeliad pups are baby plants (aka offshoots) that grow around the base of the main one. Although they can appear at any time, they usually begin to form when the mother is coming to the end of its life cycle.
Sadly, most bromeliad varieties die after flowering, but propagating the pups means you’ll have lots of new babies to enjoy.
You can do this by either by removing them from the mother once they’re large enough, or allowing them to grow after the main plant has died.
Related Post: How To Care For Bromeliads: Complete Growing Guide
When To Propagate Bromeliads
The best time to propagate bromeliads is when the pups are around ⅓ to ½ the size of the mother. This is a good indication that they’ll be able to survive on their own. But exactly when you choose to remove them is a matter of preference.
If you leave them attached to the main plant, they will continue to take nourishment from it. As a result, the offsets will mature more quickly.
If you choose to remove them when they are on the smaller side, however, you may find that the mother will devote her energy to producing even more pups. This means more plants for you in the future.
How To Propagate Bromeliads Step-By-Step
Here are the supplies you’ll need – and the simple steps to follow – to safely separate the bromeliad babies from the mother.
- Potting soil
- Clean containers (for potting up the babies)
- Metal chopsticks (makes it easier to detangle the roots)
- Pair of clippers or a sharp knife
- Hand trowel
Step 1: Remove plant from pot – Start by carefully removing the mother from its pot, as this will make it easier to see where you need to cut. If your bromeliad is growing outdoors, dig it up.
Step 2: Loosen the rootball – Use your fingers to gently loosen the rootball. If the roots are very tangled, I find metal chopsticks are great for working out the knots.
Step 3: Cut off the pup(s) – Use clean, sterilized clippers or a sharp knife to separate the babies from the main plant. Cut each offshoot off at the point where it is attached to the mother.
Step 4: Repot the mother – If the mother bromeliad is still healthy after propagating the pups, repot or replant it. If you’re lucky, you may be rewarded with even more pups. But if the parent has died, simply discard it.
How Long Does It Take Bromeliad Pups To Root?
If you take the time to ensure that the warmth, humidity, and light conditions are correct, it should take around 4 weeks for the bromeliad pups to root.
You’ll know they’re rooted when you start to see new growth. You can also test them by tugging on the pups gently. If they have roots, then they shouldn’t move.
How To Pot Bromeliad Pups
Use a container roughly twice the size of the baby and fill it with potting soil or a fast-draining mix. Then, plant the pups at the same depth they were in the original container, taking care to cover all of the roots.
Finally, place the pot in a warm location with plenty of bright, indirect light, fill the pup’s center cup with water, and keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy.
Related Post: How To Water Bromeliads The Right Way
Propagating Bromeliad Pups Without Roots
Even if your bromeliad pups don’t have roots, you can still propagate them. That’s because they are epiphytes and get their nutrients and moisture from their central cups.
Potting them up, however, can be a little more challenging. Since there’s nothing to anchor them down, it can be tempting to push them into the soil quite deeply.
But instead, I recommend you prop them up with wooden stakes, as this will allow them to develop roots without the risk of rotting if they’re planted too deep.
Alternatively, you can tie the pup to a branch or corkboard, which mimics how it would grow in its natural environment.
Yes, bromeliads are very easy to propagate by dividing and repotting the pups – the offshoots that form at the base of the plant. It doesn’t take any special skills, and even beginners can use this method to multiply their collection.
Yes, you can leave bromeliad pups on the mother plant, even as it begins to die. Once the mother is completely dead, you can simply cut it away and the pups will continue to grow.
You can propagate bromeliads by cutting off the babies (also called pups or offshoots), but you cannot root stem cuttings or the individual leaves.
More About Plant Propagation
Share your tips for propagating bromeliads in the comments section below.