Best Indoor Bromeliads

Guzmania sp.

Bromeliads have made an effortless leap from outdoor jungle to stylish indoor tropical plants. Elegant enough to match most modern interiors, they are sculptural in their simplicity and symmetry, with ‘flowers’ that are both unusual and wildly coloured. We have a number of bromeliads that will make the perfect addition to your home.

Guzmania rostara is dramatic and exotic. What appear to be flowers are flower bracts in yellow, purple, scarlet or red, which last for two months or more. After flowering the plant dies, leaving behind new plants, that become the next generation Guzmania.

These plants need medium indirect light and thrive in a warm room with good humidity. As the species originates in a shadier habitat than most other bromeliads it will tolerate lower light conditions. Don’t let plants get cold or dry in winter.

Vriesea sp.

Vriesea is known as the flaming sword plant, because of the very unusual, vividly coloured flowers that are flat and sword-like. Even so, the flowers (bracts) vary. Some are elongated (Vriesea ‘Splenriet’), others are branched (Vriesea ‘Electric’) and some have small, flag-like flowers (Vriesea ‘Style’). The flowers are long lasting, up to six months, and some varieties also have dramatic striped foliage. In the wild Vriesea grow as epiphytes, which means that plants get food and moisture from the air with tiny ‘mouths’ on the leaves.

As indoor plants they can be grown in pots in free-draining potting soil, attached to a piece of wood as an epiphyte, or grown in a soilless terrarium. The cup is at the base of its leaves and should be kept full of water. Topping up weekly allows the ‘old’ water to be displaced into the soil, which the plant needs. Diluted liquid fertiliser can be added to the water once a month. Make sure the plant receives good indirect light.

Neoreglia sp.

Neoregelia adds colour and variety with its striking foliage that is mainly in shades of bright pink and red through to deep burgundy. It has a very defined cup, and this should be kept ¼ full but not more or it may rot. It can also be watered through the foliage. In dry weather, mist the plants to increase humidity. To bring out the foliage colours, plants should receive strong indirect light, but no sunlight which will burn the leaves. When new plants are produced, they an be separated and replanted or left grow into larger clumps. Look out for Neoregelia ‘Aztec’ which is a bright burgundy with yellow-green flecks; ‘Hojo Rojo’ which has burgundy coloured foliage and ‘Flandria’ which has variegated foliage in shades of green, pink and brown with cream edge.
For more information: www.plantimex.co.za

The Gardener