Bromeliads comprise around 3590 known species of the family Bromeliaceae. These monocot flowering plants are native to the tropical Americas, and some species are also found in the American subtropics and tropical west Africa. They have thick foliage that forms a natural rosette of sword-shaped leaves. Like any plant, bromeliads are susceptible to certain problems and diseases, and may succumb and die without prompt intervention.
How to save a dying bromeliad
Examine the plant thoroughly.
Check the soil moisture around the dying plant. Bromeliads acquire moisture through their center cup as well as their roots, and like the soil moist but not wet. If the soil is too wet and the roots sit in stagnant water, the plants may start to wither. Poke your finger into the soil to check the moisture: it should not be dry more than about a half-inch below the surface. If the soil is dry, increase your watering; if it is wet, hold off on watering for a few days.
Switch to distilled water.
Remove all the water from the plant’s center cup and refill it with distilled water. If your bromeliad fails to thrive despite having water in its center cup, remove the water and flush the cup. This will reduce the chances of fungal infection and will clear away any organic debris.
Adjust the light level.
See to it that you monitor the light your plant receives. Plant experts note that when plants are not receiving enough light, they will often have leggier stalks and will lose the bright color in their leaves. Inversely, plants with brown spots and dull leaf colors may be getting too much light. Move your plant to another location if necessary to adjust the level of light it receives.
Misting your plant.
Mist your plant by spritzing the leaves with water at least every two to three days. This will increase the humidity level around the plant. You can also raise the humidity by placing river rocks on a large plate and pouring water over the rocks. Place this humidity tray under the bromeliad’s pot and the evaporating water will provide humidity.
Ensure that the plant stays warm.
Position the plant in a sufficiently warm spot, away from heating and air conditioning vents where temperatures might fluctuate. Keep outdoor plants away from external dryer vents and other sources of hot or cold air. Bromeliads thrive in temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit overnight.
Prune the plant.
Cut the bromeliad’s blooms when they start to turn brown. With a pair of shears or scissors, prune the part where the blooms join the center of the plant’s cup. Most plants will only bloom once, and cutting off the blooms will allow them to redirect their energy to live longer and grow more pups.
Tips to care for bromeliads
1. Provide them with bright, indirect sunlight.
Bromeliads thrive in areas where they can receive bright light. Ideally, they should have indirect light so as not to develop sunburn. Place the plants near a window but away from direct sunlight if you are keeping them indoors. If you intend to put them outdoors, position them in a spot where they can get indirect sunlight.
2. Bromeliads should only be grown outdoors if you are in a tropical climate.
If you live in a tropical country, these plants will thrive outdoors. However, if you live in an area with a colder climate, they are best grown indoors if you want them to thrive and produce pups.
3. Water the plants when the top two inches of soil are dry.
Bromeliads are drought-resistant and can get by with minimal water. Make sure that the top two inches of soil are dry before you water them, as too much water could lead to root rot and leaf discoloration. Make sure that the soil drains well and the pots have drainage holes.
4. Ensure correct humidity levels.
Bromeliads are tropical plants and need to be kept in a humid environment. The humidity level should ideally be around 60% to maintain healthy plants. Humidity trays can help maintain these levels, or you may also opt for the misting method.
5. Use water-soluble fertilizer for your plants.
Bromeliads are slow-growing plants and a water-soluble fertilizer can help boost or stimulate faster growth. Just make sure that you do not over-fertilize the plants, as this could damage them.
Bromeliads are popular for their vibrant colors and unique, sword-shaped leaves. Like most plants, they are susceptible to certain problems and diseases and may become sickly or even die if not given proper care and attention. You can help revive your dying bromeliad by providing it with optimal living conditions, including the correct level of light and the right type of water. Prune your plant to encourage healthy growth and increase its humidity levels by misting it.
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