Everything You Need to Know About Bromeliad Plant Soil Requirements

When planting a bromeliad, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the number of choices when it comes time to select a potting mix or even create your own potting mix at home. Choosing the right bromeliad soil mix can make or break your bromeliad plant’s health, so it’s essential to select one that will meet the needs of your species of bromeliad. Join us as we help you choose the best soil mix for your beloved Bromeliad plants.

The Best Soil Mix for Bromeliad Plants — The Essentials

Pot bromeliads in a well-draining, coarse, porous potting mix (pH of 5 to 6). Saxicolous, epiphytic, and terrestrial bromeliads’ soil needs vary. Saxicolous and epiphytic plants require less soil, and terrestrial bromeliads rely on more traditional root systems, requiring a higher nutrient content.

The Role Soil Plays in Plant Health and Growth

The Role Soil Plays in Plant Health and Growth

Except for air plants (bromeliad genus Tillandsia), potting soil comprises the bottom half of most bromeliad plants’ artificial environments. It provides nutrients, holds moisture, and supports a plant’s root system helping to keep the plant in an upright position.

Why Using the Correct Type of Soil Is Important

There are countless varieties of potting soil and potting mixes available to purchase and endless possibilities when mixing your own. However, you must select the right type of soil for your bromeliad plant because:

  • Soil compromises a large part of your plant’s environment.
  • Different pH levels have different effects on plants’ root systems.
  • Potting mix affects the level of moisture to which your plant is exposed.
  • It affects a plant’s ability to take up nutrients and which nutrients are available.
  • Potting mix affects a plant’s ability to take up water and convert carbon dioxide and sunlight into energy.

Choosing the wrong potting mix will negatively impact your plant’s health and growth.

Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Bromeliad Plants

Common Signs You're Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Bromeliad Plants

Root and stem rot the two most common soil-related problems for bromeliad plants. Having too much moisture in your plant’s potting mix will lead to bacterial growth, rotting a bromeliad plant’s root system and its stem.

Signs of root and/or stem rot include:

  • Foul-smelling plant
  • Wet or boggy-feeling potting soil
  • Brown or soggy leaves at the base of the plant

Although these problems can be caused by overwatering plants, they can also be a result of your potting mix not draining well and holding too much moisture.

The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Bromeliad Plants

The Best Soil Mix for house plants

All three types of bromeliad plants (saxicolous, epiphytic, and terrestrial) are highly sensitive to the amount of moisture around their roots and susceptible to root rot. As a result, bromeliad plants must have a well-draining potting soil that will keep your bromeliad’s roots pleasantly humid but never soggy.

For a well-draining potting mix that’s suited to bromeliads, either purchase or create a mix that includes ingredients like perlite, sand, and bark. These well-draining ingredients should comprise the largest portion of your potting mix.

For saxicolous and epiphytic bromeliad plants, aim for about 1/4 of your potting mix to be actual soil. For terrestrial bromeliad plants, soil content can be slightly higher at about 1/2 of your potting mix.

4 More Considerations for Choosing a Bromeliad Potting Mix

Considerations for Choosing a Bromeliad Potting Mix

1. Bromeliad Plant Size

Bromeliad plants can range from a couple of inches tall to a few feet tall. Consider the size of your plant before selecting a potting mix.

The potting mix you select for your plant will anchor the bromeliad’s root system and support the plant’s structure. The taller your bromeliad plant is or will be at maturity, the heavier your potting mix should be. Choosing too light of a potting mix could result in your plant toppling over and breaking.

2. Environmental Humidity

The level of humidity in your plant’s indoor environment will also affect the type of potting mix you choose for your bromeliad. If your plant will be in a low-humidity or arid environment, you’ll want to select a potting mix that holds slightly more moisture while still draining easily.

Consider replacing the perlite in your potting mix with bark which will take up some moisture and increase the humidity around your plant without exposing your bromeliad’s roots to excessively soggy moisture.

3. Type of Bromeliad Plant

Types of Bromeliad Plants and Their Soil Requirements

Three types of bromeliads grow in different locations in their natural environments:

  • Saxicolous bromeliads grow in rock crevices and outcroppings.
  • Epiphytic bromeliads grow from the bark of trees.
  • Terrestrial bromeliads grow in the ground usually in sandy soil.

The type of bromeliad plant you’re growing also affects the type of potting mix you choose. You should select or create a potting mix that’s most appropriate for your bromeliad and most closely resembles its natural environment.

Saxicolous and epiphytic bromeliad plants have special cells on their leaves designed to absorb moisture and nutrients. Their potting mix needs are most similar, requiring a well-draining potting mix that doesn’t actually need to contain any soil.

Terrestrial bromeliads take up nutrients and moisture through their root systems and require a potting mix with a slightly higher soil content than their saxicolous and epiphytic counterparts.

4. The pH Levels Suited to Bromeliad Plants

Bromeliad plants generally prefer a slightly acidic potting mix with a pH ranging from 5 to 6.

The Ultimate Bromeliad Plant Potting Mix Recipe

How Soil Affects Plant Health and Growth + Why It's Important to Use the Right Type

While there are plenty of ready-made, pre-mixed bromeliad potting mix options available to purchase, you can also create your own at home by mixing a few common potting mix ingredients. Making your own is not only less expensive, but it also allows you to tailor the potting mix to your unique plant’s needs.

Saxicolous and Epiphytic Bromeliad Plant Soil Mixes:

To create the perfect potting mix for saxicolous bromeliads or epiphytic bromeliads, mix:

  • 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite, and 1 part bark
  • 1 part perlite, 1 part bark, and 1 part soilless potting mix

When potting an epiphytic bromeliad, you can also use a potting mix that’s formulated for orchids in a pinch. Terrestrial bromeliad plants can also do well potted in a mix formulated for cacti and succulents.

Terrestrial Bromeliad Plant Soil Mix:

To create the perfect potting mix for terrestrial bromeliads, mix:

  • 2 parts soil, 1 part bark, and 1 part perlite

What Potting Soil Should You Use When Repotting a Bromeliad Plant?

When repotting a bromeliad, it’s best to use a potting mix that’s very similar to the plant’s current soil mix. Selecting a soil with too different a composition or pH level could shock your plant, stunting its growth and damaging its health.

Have Fun and Enjoy Your Beautiful Bromeliad Plants!

All concerns about proper potting mix aside, when growing bromeliad plants indoors, the most important thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy your plants! Don’t be afraid to experiment with soilless mixes and even mounting – not potting – your epiphytic bromeliads to bark, wood, or rocks.

If you’re looking for your next bromeliad plant to add to your collection, see our guide to the best plant shops delivering bromeliads nationwide.

Bromeliad Plant Soil FAQ:

Bromeliad plants do best in soil with a slightly acidic pH. Remember that a neutral pH is 7.0, and any number below this is considered acidic. Bromeliad plants do best in a mix with a pH between 5.0-6.0.

Cacti or succulent soil mixes tend to have similar beneficial characteristics (such as slight acidity and good drainage) which is suitable for Bromeliad plants.

Always switch out your soil when you repot your Bromeliad plants in order to remove any issue with compaction and diseases.

To make the Bromeliad soil mix, add all the ingredients to a large container then add water until just moist. Thoroughly mix the ingredients together and then fill your Bromeliad pots.

Bromeliad plants do best in a potting mix that holds moisture yet also drains well. Ensure your potting vessel has a drainage system so excess water can disperse during watering cycles.

More Bromeliad Plant Care Guides from Petal Republic:


I’ve long been fascinated with the world of flowers, plants, and floral design. I come from a family of horticulturists and growers and spent much of my childhood in amongst the fields of flowering blooms and greenhouses filled with tropical plants, cacti, and succulents from all over the world. Today, my passion has led me to further explore the world of horticulture, botany, and floristry and I'm always excited to meet and collaborate with fellow enthusiasts and professionals from across the globe. I hold a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and have trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris.

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