How to Repot a Bromeliad


Bromeliads are pineapple (Bromeliaceae) family plants native to deserts and rain forests. Some bromeliads are epiphyitic. They grow from root systems attached to trees or rocks, surviving on air-borne moisture and nutrients trapped in their cup-like floral spikes. Others grow in soil. Most bromeliads, can adapt to life as soil-rooted or air-supported plants. These striking landscape additions in mild climates make equally striking indoor plants elsewhere. They're popular for bright, color-changing foliage and long-lasting, vividly bracted flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • Bromeliad potting medium
  • Peat or sphagnum moss
  • Coarse sand
  • Tree bark
  • Newspaper sheets
  • Plastic or clay plant pot
  • Pruning shears or scissors
  • Wooden stick
  • Prepare a well-draining planting mix from equal parts of peat or sphagnum moss, coarse sand and tree bark. Pre-made potting mixtures for bromeliads are also available at gardening centers.

  • Cover your repotting area's surface with the sheets of newspaper to catch loose potting medium.

  • Fill a pot one size larger then the bromeliad's nursery pot between half and three-quarters full with your bromeliad potting mix.

  • Pick up the bromeliad in its old pot with one hand. Slip the fingers of your other hand fingers gently down the stem of the plant until that hand rests on the edges of the pot, covering the soil.

  • Invert the potted plant over the newspaper. Tap the bottom of the pot gently to loosen the plant. Use the hand supporting its stem to carefully guide the plant from the pot.

  • Turn the plant right-side-up. Only if you are repotting a large, rootbound plant, trim the lower and side roots of the root ball with the pruning shears or scissors. Use the wooden stick to loosen the soil of the remaining root ball. This encourages new roots to grow down into the soil of the new pot.

  • Set the plant into the new pot so that its stem is at the same depth as it was in the original. Spread the roots evenly across the top of the soil.

  • Cover the roots with enough potting mix to secure the plant. Tamp down with enough pressure to remove air pockets without compacting the soil.

  • Water the repotted bromeliad until the water drains from the bottom of the pot. Return it to its regular location. Resume your normal care regimen.

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