Growing bromeliads is fun. It could be funnier if we can grow them in water. So can bromeliads grow in water! In this article, we gonna answer this question. And distinguish the species that can grow in water from the ones that can not.
We also gonna guide you on the process of growing them in water in order to give them the right conditions to thrive.
But before diving deep into the details we gonna put the answer for our main question as simple as this: can bromeliads grow in water? Terrestrial bromeliads can grow in water indefinitely if they grow in the right conditions. While epiphytes bromeliads ( Air Plants) can not grow and live in water.
They only need water soaking for 2 hours per week. Keep reading to know whether your bromeliad is terrestrial or epiphytes.
See also: How to grow ferns in water
Understanding which bromeliads can grow in water
bromeliads are more than 3000 species. So it will be near impossible to cover them all. And say which ones can grow in water and which ones can’t.
But we will lay out the guidelines that will help you decide whether the bromeliad that you holding in your hand can grow in water or not.
All bromeliads fall under two categories:
The word epiphytes mean air. Epiphytes bromeliads commonly know as air plants. They developed in the rainforests to grow without soil.
Instead, they grow in the trunks of other trees. They absorb their nutrients and moisture through their leaves. Therefore, their roots are designed only to anchor them on the tree’s trunk.
Their roots are not designed to absorb moisture nor nutrients. So such bromeliads can not grow in water. Instead, they just need water soaking for 2 hours every week.
After you soak them put them upside down to allow any trapped water in their stem to dry In order to not rot.
Soaking them once per week is the general rule. And it sure depends on your weather. The hotter the weather the more frequent soaking you may apply.
But another rule that may help you to decide whether your air plants need soaking is their leaves color. when their leaves turn to the silver color. It is a sign that they need watering.
I wrote an article about air plants care you can check it for more in-depth information. That being said let’s move to the funnier part.
The word terrestrial means ground. Those are the bromeliads that naturally grows in soil. Pineapple is a good example of terrestrial bromeliads.
Such bromeliads can grow in water indefinitely if they found the other right conditions.
In this article, we gonna take the pineapple plant as a representative for the terrestrial bromeliads. And will give the steps of growing it in water.
Step 1: Cut the pineapple fruit
The next time you buy a pineapple make sure to buy a pineapple with healthy and good-looking upper foliage.
Using a knife, cut the top of the pineapple fruit. Clean and discard any remaining fruit from the stem. Be careful to not cut the plant’s stem as it is already short stem. If we can call it a stem in the first place.
Step 2: Allow the cutting to dry out
Put your new seedling in a dry and shaded spot for 2 days in order to allow the wound to dry.
If you submerged the cutting in water without allowing it to dry, the chances of rotting will be higher.
Step 3: Bring a water container
You can use any water container. Although clear glass is best because it will allow you to see the roots. And act fast if there is any disease in the roots. Submerge only one inch of the lower end of the bromeliad stem in water.
Step 4: Wait from 3 to 8 weeks
Your bromeliad seedling will develop a well-established root system underwater from 3 to 8 weeks. So be patient and keep believing!
Caring for bromeliads that growing in water
Most terrestrial bromeliads that can grow in water need bright but indirect sunlight. However, there are species that require full sunlight in order to thrive and bear fruits like pineapple.
Therefore do your research about your specific bromeliad in order to know the type of light it needs.
However, whether the bromeliad is from the type that requires full sunlight or from the one that requires indirect sunlight. It should be kept in bright but indirect light during the time it tries to grow its first roots in water. ( from 3 to 8 weeks).
If your bromeliad is the type that loves direct sunlight you can move it with its water container only after it developed enough roots. (became established plant).
Actually, bromeliads are native to rainforests where there is a lot of humidity and high-temperature degrees.
Your bromeliad that growing in water will thrive best when it exposed to temperature degrees between 65 and 95 F.
Changing the water
Choosing a clear water container to grow your bromeliad in water has the advantage of consistently roots inspection. But also, it will give algae a suitable environment to grow.
Because sunlight will get into the container. Therefore you may need to change the water weekly.
While some people grow their bromeliads in water just by using tap water. But I don’t recommend using tab water because usually, it has a high pH to the level that can make nutrients unabsorbable to the plant. Using distilled or rainwater is perfect.
Cleaning the water’s container:
Cleaning your water container every three months is fairly enough to keep your pot and the plant elegant.
Bromeliads are not heavy feeders. You can feed them once every month during the summer ( growing season).
Use weak balanced liquid fertilizer. And only use 1/4 of the fertilizer strength. Stop the fertilization completely in winter when your plant goes dormant.
How long the bromeliads can grow and live in water?
bromeliads can grow and live in water indefinitely. The age that it can normally reach if it planted in the soil is the same age that your bromeliads that growing in water can have.
Advantages of growing bromeliads in water
Fewer pests infections
by growing bromeliads in water, you minimize the odds of pests infection. Because there is no soil to accommodate them.
Fast response to root rot
Root rot is the number one reason for losing houseplants. And it is a tough disease because you can’t know that your plant is infected with root rot until the damage has already happened.
Since the rotted roots are under the soil. But when you grow bromeliads in the water you can see the roots. So you can trim any rotted roots before it spread to all other roots.
Low maintenance requirements
When you grow bromeliads in the water you don’t need to water them. The maintenance of your plant will require less of your time.
Moving bromeliads from water to the soil
Since your bromeliads developed a well-established root system in the water you can leave it as it is in the water container. Or moving it to the soil either on a pot or on the ground.
But allow the roots to dry out before the transfer. Pull your bromeliad from the water and put it in a dry spot for 2 days. In order for roots to not rot in the soil.
After the two days, you can plant your bromeliad in a cactus potting mix. Or just planting it in your yard ground.
In this article, I hope I answered the question of my readers” can bromeliads grow in the water?”: Terisstrial bromeliads like pineapple can grow in water successfully. But epiphytes bromeliads like tillandsia can not grow in water. because their roots are designed to absorb neither nutrients nor moisture.
You can grow terrestrial bromeliads indefinitely in water as long as you change the water occasionally. And gave it the right conditions like the right temperature, light, and fertilization. I wrote an entire chapter about growing plants in water in my book Container Gardening: A Step-by-Step Practical Guide. Download your copy now through this link to master water gardening and container gardening in general.