Apartment plants



Bromeliads are plants of tropical origin, there are hundreds of species, many of which are widespread in cultivation as houseplants, as they are very decorative, and are often well suited to be grown at home. All bromeliads produce thick rosettes of fleshy and rigid leaves, coriaceous, ribbon-shaped, arched, often with a sharp apex; some species have foliage covered by a thin layer of bloom, which makes them greyish. Among the leaves produce inflorescences of various kinds, round and flattened, or elongated and thin, panicle, fan-shaped; the inflorescences are often subtended by numerous vividly colored papyrus bracts and produce many small white or lilac flowers. The bromeliads they produce a small root system, so they are often grown in very small containers; they do not have many cultivation requirements, although to obtain leaves that are always luxuriant and a new inflorescence it is necessary to follow some simple precautions, otherwise our bromeliad is destined to wither slowly.

How they are cultivated

The bromeliads they are native to South America, where they live in the most varied places, in the rainforests, in the deserts, in the Andean mountain areas; therefore there are different types of bromeliads, with the most diverse cultivation requirements. In the apartment the botanical varieties originating from the rainforests or hybrids of the latter are generally cultivated, and therefore the varieties of tillandsia, vriesea, billbergia or acmea that we find in the nursery have more or less similar cultural needs. These plants have adapted to draw the water they need to live directly from precipitation, rather than using their roots, and in fact produce a decidedly reduced root system; in nature these plants collect water from the rains, storing it in the cup that is formed in the center of the rosette of leaves. So when we water our bromeliad it is advisable to fill the rosette with leaves, rather than to wet the soil; This is because these plants generally need good environmental humidity, but they do not like water stagnation, which quickly spoils the roots, and later the whole plant. In addition to watering the plants in this way, every day we spray the foliage with demineralized water, especially in the summer, and in the periods in which the heating or the air conditioner is turned on in the house, which tend to excessively dry the air.

Exposure and flowering

Let's place our plant in a bright place, but not directly exposed to sunlight and let's enjoy the weeks of flowering. These plants love temperatures close to 20 ° C, but they can easily survive and vegetate with temperatures close to 8-12 ° C, so they can also find a place in an unheated stairwell. When all the flowers have withered the inflorescence tends to dry out slowly, and then it dries up the entire plant; when this happens we need not worry, we suspend the watering and wait; generally the roots begin to produce new shoots in this phase, which use the nutrients produced by the mother plant to develop. Over the weeks, as our plant deteriorates, we should notice the development of one or more new rosettes of leaves, which will gradually become more and more luxuriant and large. If desired we can move them to another container, completely detaching them from the deteriorating parent plant; as soon as the plant is moved we start to water and vaporize again. Over the months the new plants should begin to produce new inflorescences, to then die and give light to new leaf rosettes. In principle, all bromeliads develop in this way, although sometimes the vegetative cycle of a single rosette lasts a few years, while at other times it lasts only a few months.

Bromeliads: Special bromeliads

As mentioned before, not all of them originate from the rainforests; many develop in desert or arid places, and therefore have a development similar to that of succulent plants and often produce less showy inflorescences than tropical species. In nurseries we often find some specimens of tillandsia species originating from the deserts; these are plants with greyish foliage, which do not require soil or watering, but simply capture atmospheric water through the foliage.
Another particular and very widespread bromeliad, even if not as a houseplant, is the pineapple: above the inflorescence Pineapple develops, after flowering, the large infructescence that we all know. The pineapple develops a good root system, which needs rich soil to develop well; an adult specimen can reach and exceed one meter in height and width.