Watering bromeliads is different than it is for other plants, but doing it the right way is very important. So in this post, I’ll tell you exactly when, how much, and how often they need it, and show you how to do it the right way.
Properly watering bromeliads isn’t as straightforward as it is for other plants, so it can be tricky to get the hang of for beginners.
Bromeliads take in much of their moisture from the air. This trait allows them to survive without soil in their native habitat.
But that also means it can be hard to know how much they need, and exactly when to give them more.
In this guide I’ve shared essential tips on how to water a bromeliad correctly. Even a beginner will feel confident that they know how to keep them hydrated and healthy.
Bromeliad Watering Requirements
Bromeliads are epiphytes. That means instead of taking in their moisture and nutrients primarily through their roots and soil, they absorb most of it from the air.
Because of this, watering bromeliads is a little different than your typical houseplant. They are even more unique because they have a built-in “tank” or center cup designed to keep them hydrated in the wild.
The good news is that whether you have a portea, aechmea, guzmania, medusa, or one of the other many varieties out there, they can all be watered in the same way.
Related Post: How To Care For Bromeliads: The Complete Growing Guide
Best Type Of Water For Bromeliads
Bromeliads tend to be sensitive to the chemicals, salt, and minerals often present in tap or well water.
Over time these substances can cause a crusty white ring to develop inside the central cup or spots on the leaves.
To prevent damage or buildup it’s best to always use either distilled or rainwater on them. You can flush the center tank and wipe the leaves gently to remove the build up.
When To Water Bromeliads
Part of watering bromeliads properly is understanding when to do it. Learning to recognize the signs will help you keep them at the perfect level.
How Do You Know When A Bromeliad Needs Water?
Knowing when to water your bromeliad is easier than you might think. Simply check the tank, or cup, first. If it’s empty, fill it up.
Dampening the soil is not as essential. It should never be soaked, but it should not be completely bone-dry for long periods either.
How Often To Water Bromeliads
More important than any schedule is watering your bromeliad when it needs it. This will help you avoid the risk of over or under doing it.
Watering Bromeliads In Summer
In warm weather it’s important to make sure the central vase is never dried out. This will happen more quickly in the summer because of evaporation, especially on outdoor plants.
Check on it once a week or as needed to make sure it has plenty of moisture, and that the cup is never empty.
Watering Bromeliads In Winter
When the weather gets cooler, it may not absorb as quickly, so you’ll have watch that it doesn’t get stagnant in the cup.
Empty the vase and flush it weekly, or whenever it looks like it’s developing buildup.
Indoor plants can suffer from lack of humidity in the dry winter air. Supplement it by misting, running a humidifier nearby, or slightly dampening the medium.
How Much Water Do You Give A Bromeliad?
There’s a simple technique you can use to know how much water to give your bromeliad. When the vase is low, fill it up until the water starts to spill over a little.
Let it splash out and dampen the soil lightly, but not enough to make it wet. You can monitor it with a moisture probe, which should read between 2-4.
The main sign of an overwatered bromeliad is browning or yellowing. Root or heart rot can cause soft, mushy leaves that drop from the plant. A rotting smell may develop in the cup as well.
Never keep the medium wetter than slightly damp, or root rot can quickly set in.
Under Watering Symptoms
If your bromeliad has dry, crisp brown edges or curling leaves it could be from under watering.
To prevent this, avoid letting the cup stay dry for any length of time, and keep the medium slightly moist.
How To Water Bromeliads
Now that you know the proper amount and how often to water bromeliads, it’s time to learn how to do it. These tips will help you make sure you get it right every time.
Do You Water Bromeliads From The Top Or Bottom?
You should always water bromeliads from the top by filling the center tank. Any that splashes out onto the soil is plenty.
There is usually no need to dampen the medium any further, unless you live in a dry or arid climate. In that case, very slightly moisten it to help increase the humidity.
Watering The Bromeliad Cup
The center cup, sometimes called a vase or urn, acts as a water tank for bromeliads. By filling it, you provide all the moisture it needs.
However, if it sits in there too long, it can become stagnant and stinky over time. This is common in the winter or cooler months. Make sure you flush it regularly to prevent that.
Misting is optional but beneficial for your bromeliad, especially in dry climates.
As epiphytes they can absorb moisture from the air, which makes a light misting every few days a good way to keep them happy and increase the humidity.
Here I’ve answered a few of the most commonly asked questions. If yours isn’t on the list, please add it to the comments section below.
Do you water bromeliads from the top?
Yes, you water bromeliads from the top by filling up the center cup. It acts as a natural tank that will keep it perfectly hydrated.
Do you water bromeliad soil?
Technically you can water bromeliad soil because they do absorb some moisture through the roots, but that’s not the best method. It’s better to fill the central vase instead. Slightly damping the medium can help with low humidity, but keeping it too wet can easily lead to root rot.
What is the best way to water a bromeliad?
The best way to water a bromeliad is by filling the central rank until it begins to run over onto the soil. Make sure to flush it out regularly to prevent it from getting stagnant.
Should you mist bromeliads?
There’s no need to mist bromeliads in humid environments. But in dry air, especially indoors or arid climates, misting will help add extra humidity and keep them in good health.
How do you water bromeliad pups?
The best way to water bromeliad pups depends on their age. When small, they get all the moisture they need from the air and the mother. Once the central cups are large enough, water them as you would a mature plant.
Now that you know when and how to water bromeliads, it’ll be easy to keep yours properly hydrated. Use these tips to help guide you throughout the year.
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More About Watering Plants
- How To Water A Cactus Plant
- How To Set Up A Rain Barrel Step-By-Step
- How To Water Indoor Plants: The Ultimate Guide
- How To Water Poinsettias
Share your tips for how to water bromeliads in the comments section below.
Linda Chow says
How do you flush the bromeliad cup?
Amy Andrychowicz says
You can simply rinse the bromeliad cup with a gentle stream of water. I like to tip mine upside down to dump out the old water first, then when I fill it again I let it overflow a little bit to flush it.