Bromeliads are among the most sought-after indoor tropical plants. They are epiphytic flowering plants, that can thrive in places other than their natural habitat, i.e. tropical America. These plants are very popular for their attractive inflorescence, that are bright and colorful. The flowers of these plants are usually small, and the showy parts are the bracts. While most of the bromeliads die once the flowers wither away, others remain like that for a long time. However, after flowering, young plants develop from the mother plant, and these young ones are called pups. These pups are used for propagating bromeliads.
Bromeliad pups can be removed from the mother plant, and grown individually. Some people apply fertilizers to the mother plant, soon after flowering, so as to promote growth of pups. The number of such pups may vary from one plant to another. Though the pups can be removed at any stage, it is best to detach them when they reach one-third the size of the mother plant. It is said that these pups grow healthy and at a faster rate, when they are attached to the mother plant.
If the mother plant has almost died, it is better to remove the whole thing from the pot. Gently pull the pups, so as to separate them from the mother plant. If you find it difficult to remove the bromeliad pups, then cut them off with a sharp knife. These pups can be planted, even if they have not developed roots. Once potted, roots will develop naturally. It is better to keep the pups exposed to open air, so that the cuts get dry. Place them vertically in a shaded location, for two days.
Use a well-drained potting mix for planting these pups. You may either go for the orchid mix, or a mixture of peat moss and perlite in 60:40 ratio. The potting mix must be damp, while planting these pups. Place these pots on locations with bright, but indirect sun. You may also go for fluorescent bulbs as the light source for bromeliads. Provide them with a temperature of around 65° F. If the pups do not have roots, support them with small stakes.
Bromeliad Pup Care Instructions
Once the young pups start growing, you have to make sure that the right conditions are provided for their healthy growth. Keep the soil moist throughout the growing stage of the plant. Use distilled water for these plants. You may also use tap water that is kept open for some time, before watering. Keep in mind that over watering may cause rotting of the plant.
The plant should not be placed in direct sun. If necessary, use a humidifier, as the plant requires high humidity levels. You may also use weak fertilizer solutions (without lime), once in a while. It takes around one to two years for the bromeliad pups to attain full growth and bloom. It is said that blooming can be triggered in a mature bromeliad plant, by placing it in a clear plastic bag, along with a ripe apple. The ripe apple releases ethylene gas, that triggers flowering in plants.