Bromeliads as Living Wall Focal Point

Bromeliads are members of a plant family known as Bromeliaceae. The pineapple is one of the best known plants of this family and can be used both as houseplants and in the landscape. They are widely available, easy to grow, and underused by most gardeners.  Bromeliads are ideal for summer plantings in shade and over winter if kept in a warm location.

All bromeliads are composed of a spiral arrangement of leaves sometimes called a “rosette” which causes the plant to grow in a flattened configuration with its leaves lined up in a single plane: perfect for living wall planters.

The plants in the photo below are Neoregelia bromeliads surrounded by 8 white arrowhead plants on the front and 9 pilea around the edge of the planter, each from 4″ pots. The bromeliads came from one 6″ pot which, surprisingly, fit the center hole of the planter. You’ll want to knock the loose soil off the roots, soak the roots in water so they will slide right in. Because bromeliads are epiphytes (growing on trees in nature), they don’t require extensive room for their roots.

Light: Light, medium, or dense shade. Plants that are yellBromeliad Living Wall Planterowish may be receiving too much light, while plants that are dark green, or elongated, may be receiving too little light.

Season: Keep in temperatures higher than 45 degrees. This particular plant mix is an ideal candidate for most regions, and thrives well in high temperatures. Bromeliads themselves are generally tolerant of temperature changes but hotter conditions require more water.

Care: Easy. Trim the white arrowhead plant when it attempts to cover the bromeliad. Fertilize on planting day with a slow-release mix. Bromeliads are top feeders, meaning they collect their nutrients from the rain water in their centers so slow release fertilizer will work best.

Water: Water thoroughly when the potting mix feels dry to the touch. Use a gentle spray and apply it slowly to the top of the planter. Keep the water moving along the top until you can see the potting mix is saturated and the water is dripping out of the bottom of the planter. Bromeliads have tiny scales on their leaves called trichomes. These scales serve as a very efficient absorption system and help the plant to reduce water loss and shield them from solar radiation.

Troubleshooting: Don’t over-water this planter! Since it is placed in a shady location, it won’t need water more than once or twice a week. Never use copper watering cans. The copper is toxic to bromeliads and will kill the plants.

Planter: Pamela Crawford’s Living Wall Planter from Kinsman Company. Click here for more info.