Bromeliad Fertilizing.

Available Soon.

 Fertilizer X Light X Humidity - Bromeliads
Fertilizing Bromeliads has always been a controversial subject. Each grower has their own individual ideas. There is no real rule of thumb.

One may well think – Bromeliads survive in out in their natural environment in the wild, without any extra feeding, so why not just stick our new plant on a tree and simply let it grow?  
Well that it just it – they survive! -  And many of us want our Bromeliads to really thrive. 

By nature Bromeliads are really tough. They have the amazing ability to take up very small amounts of nutrient and utilize this to the maximum benefit. Even regular bird droppings have the ability to make a sad plant flourish & even turn your favorite Neoregelia shiny dark green! 
Bromeliads have a rather unique ability to sustain themselves on very minimal amounts of nutrient however, this is a long story on its own & what we really want to know here is - how to make our own Beautiful bromeliads bloom & grow to their very best.

Although considering the original environment in which your plant comes from is helpful in determining the choice of plants for your own areas. One can also quite easily create suitable harmonious environments & micro-climates with simple additions such as cheap misters for humidity, mulch, pine bark in garden beds & special potting mixes all go to create happy colorful brom bloomin’ environments.

Fertilizer should always be applied with care – especially on Neoregelia.

Various environmental factors such as temperature, moisture, local nutrients, even a feathered friend happily roosting at night above your garden bed can also affect the uptake of nutrients.

If you are planting in the ground it is important to consider the possibility of fertilizer residue from previous plantings. These can remain in the ground for a year or more & still amazingly have the ability to turn your favorite Neoregelia dark green forever.

When planting in the ground it is always wise to raise the bed with a clean bark/mulch mix for a fresh start & ideal drainage.

LIGHT X FERTILIZER X MOISTURE-. The all important factor – A happy balance.

 Many people tend to blame fertilizer for their Neoregelia turning green. Certainly too much fertilizer especially Nitrogen will green Neoregelia. But in most cases, when correctly fed plants are overly green, it is due to over shading - long leggy leaves are a sure sign of this. Plants will quickly color once again when gradually adapted back into their ideal light level. Neoregelia love a lot of light & humidity during the warmer months.  

The best color is achieved in Neoregelia by lightly feeding & exposing them to as much light as possible without burning them. In cooler zones Neoregelia can be exposed to longer periods of light/gentle sun - than those in more tropical zones.

One can relate this almost with our own human skin – the burning point of a Neoregelia & our own skin in the sun.

Once plants are hardened & adjusted to higher levels of light, they tend to happily grow on this way.  Do take care though, as if you have purchased very green plants, they will need to be adjusted slowly as the greener & softer the plant is the more easily they will burn. It is best to purchase plants that have been bred in a high light environment for a great start.

"My gourmet menu helps give nutrients too"..

Fertilizing Newly Acquired Plants.
Pups -

Newly cut pups get a great start when potted up with 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon of a 9 month slow release fertilizer, placed in the potting mix approx 1inch from base of the pot.
.A strong deep root system will develop quite quickly seeking out the goodies below
Osmocote for roses or Nutricote preferable high potash is ideal to give your new pup a great start.

Bromeliads with colorful foliage like Neoregelia - the basic idea is to give the plant a good kick start [even if it goes a tiny bit green] as the plant will gradually return to color once the fertilizer wears off. 
It is always good to add a date tag when feeding plants, so that when the fertilizer wears off- you can keep an eye on it to see if a top up is needed. Ideally at this stage most Bromeliads will also be ready for re-potting into a larger pot. Plants such as Vriesea, Aechmea & green leaf varieties will require extra fertilizer. Most types, other than those with colored foliage, can be safely given a level teaspoon of fertilizer mixed through your potting mix.

.Neoregelia & other plants with colorful foliage. 
Once your pup is rooted and happily growing they can now be potted up into a larger pot - without any additional fertilizer in many cases, especially small varieties. However, medium to larger growers will benefit from an additional 1/2 level teaspoon. Extra large growers EG: Neoregelia Gee Whiz hybrids, Neoregelia Maw caw hybrids and other very large growing plants can be potted in a larger pot and fed up to 1 level teaspoon at this stage. Be sure to choose the pot size that suits your plant.

If you have a lot of plants you can of course skip the initial pup potting and place your plant straight into the larger pot with fertilizer placed at the bottom as described earlier. You will need to keep a good eye on them though, to ensure they root before the mix in a larger pot becomes sour.

It is best to err on the side of caution as it is better to later give your plants a light liquid feed if needed as you cant take fertilizer away! 

Do keep in mind that if your plants are still tending to green with these applications after 9-12 months, this means they are not getting sufficient light. Many people do make the mistake of blaming the fertilizer however, in nearly all cases it is in fact lack of light
These ideas are general & designed as a guide, like with all gardening, there is no rule of thumb.
Individual plant varieties & various size plants need also to be taken into consideration when fertilizing.

**NB Many Neoregelia Albomarginata, and Neoregelia with very soft foliage when young often benefit from a tad extra fertilizer for a strong start. 
**Sulfate of potash helps strengthen foliage and is ideal for creating a natural resistance against fungal infection + the cold.
**Calcium- crushed eggshells - also helps with cold resistance by firming the foliage.

May these wonderful rewarding plants fill your world with color health & happiness.