Bromeliads are an alluring and exotic bunch of tropical plants. Plant parents worldwide prize them for their striking blooms and blade-like leaves. Despite having a reputation as fussy plants, bromeliads are also surprisingly easy to grow.
Bromeliad plants can also yield some remarkable benefits, such as purifying the air and combating allergies. Some studies have shown that plants like bromeliads may even help to reduce your stress levels.
In this article, we’ll outline and explore some of the best physical, mental, and aesthetic benefits of growing bromeliad back by leading research studies from around the world.
- About Bromeliad Plants
- The Benefits of Bromeliad Plants
- 1. Bromeliads Can Purify the Air
- 2. Bromeliads Can be Striking Ornamental Statements
- 3. Bromeliad Plants May Reduce Stress Levels
- 4. Bromeliads Can Boost Productivity
- 5. Bromeliad Plants May Help You Sleep
- 6. Bromeliads Are Easy to Care For
- 7. Propagating Bromeliads is Pretty Simple
- 8. Bromeliad Plants Can Thrive in Most Lighting Situations
- 9. Bromeliads May Boost Your Mental Health
- 10. Bromeliad Plants May Counteract Allergies
- 11. Bromeliads Are Fabulous for Feng Shui
- 12. Bromeliad Plants Can Improve Smell & Sound
- Wrapping Up
About Bromeliad Plants
The Bromeliad family, known scientifically as the Bromeliaceae, contains more than 3500 species of plants. Most bromeliads hail from the tropics, thriving on the humid, shady floor of the rainforest. The family is made up of both epiphytes and ground-dwelling species.
The majority of bromeliads have a rosette structure of overlapping leaves. The center of the rosette acts like a water tank, storing rainwater that is gradually distributed throughout the plant. Some bromeliads produce vibrant, long-lasting blooms as houseplants when given ideal conditions.
Some members of the bromeliad family are well-known, like the pineapple tree. Others might surprise you, such as Spanish moss. The most commonly-kept bromeliads include the Earth Star (Cryptanthus spp.) and the Scarlet Star (Guzmania lingulata).
Bromeliads are also relatively easy to grow at home. Ensure you’re using an appropriate soil base, provide sufficient light exposure, prune and fertilize a little during spring and summer, and water every 7 to 10 days or so.
The Benefits of Bromeliad Plants
1. Bromeliads Can Purify the Air
One of the more well-known benefits of cultivating houseplants is their ability to purify the air. NASA first investigated the purifying properties of plants in a landmark 1989 study. Recent scientific studies show that bromeliads can also perform this fantastic feat.
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) lurk in the air all around us, especially indoors. These harmful chemicals and pollutants are often found in carpets, cleaning and cosmetic products, and paints. VOCs have been linked to an increased risk of diseases like cancer.
A recent experiment by a New York University found that bromeliads are extremely effective at removing VOCs from the air. The study shows that bromeliads can remove up to 80% of chemicals such as acetone and benzene.
But unlike many air-purifying plants, bromeliads actually perform this process at night rather than during the day. So place a bromeliad on your bedside table to ensure a good night’s sleep.
2. Bromeliads Can be Striking Ornamental Statements
Bromeliads come in a spectacular array of colors, shapes, and sizes. This incredible variety makes them ideal centerpieces for any houseplant collection. Like a Scarlet Star (Guzmania lingulata), a well-placed bromeliad can be a showstopping ornamental statement.
Many bromeliads will produce brightly-colored “flowers” known as bracts in the right conditions. These bracts are actually specialized leaves, not true flowers. Bracts are a vital part of the bromeliad’s reproductive system.
Thanks to their vivid colors, bracts attract pollinators such as insects. The true flower, hidden within the bract, is then fertilized by the pollinators. These bracts can last for several months, bringing a beautiful burst of color to your home.
3. Bromeliad Plants May Reduce Stress Levels
Our modern world is a constant assault of notifications, Zoom meetings, and general worry. But studies have shown that cultivating houseplants is a great way to bring down your stress levels.
A Japanese study surveyed how the presence of houseplants affected the stress levels of 63 office workers. The scientists examined the psychological stress levels of the participants during two periods. One period involved the participants working with a houseplant on their desk, while the other period saw the plant removed.
The results showed that anxiety levels decreased significantly while the plants were present. So sprucing up your home or office desk with a bromeliad buddy could help you feel less stressed.
4. Bromeliads Can Boost Productivity
There’s nothing worse than suffering through the 9-to-5 cycle in a soulless, stripped-down office. CEOs might think that a spartan environment will eliminate distractions and boost productivity, but science shows that this is actually counter-productive.
A 2014 experiment carried out in offices in the UK, and the Netherlands suggests that plants can boost productivity. Researchers examined the productivity output of office workers in an environment devoid of plants and one where plants were present. The data recorded a 15% increase in productivity when plants were added to the office.
Are you struggling with the monotony of the workweek? Bring in a bromeliad to help boost your productivity.
5. Bromeliad Plants May Help You Sleep
Are you tossing and turning all night without dozing off? Not getting enough sleep can heavily impact your life and health. But plants like bromeliads can actually help you drift off.
An experiment conducted by Chinese scientists in 2019 looked at the effect of plants on the sleep patterns of astronauts. The results showed that being able to look at or even smell plants helped regulate the nervous systems of the subjects. They also demonstrated reduced stress levels.
Bromeliads are one of the best plants for your bedroom. Not only can they reduce stress, but they also filter out harmful VOCs from the air during the night.
6. Bromeliads Are Easy to Care For
Contrary to popular belief, bromeliads aren’t complex plants to take care of. Although they need certain conditions to produce their bracts and flowers, their everyday needs are pretty simple. This means that even novice plant parents can enjoy bromeliads.
When growing bromeliads, the main things to keep in mind are the temperature and watering conditions. Most bromeliads are excellent at storing water during times of drought, so you don’t need to water them very often. Once a week is usually enough in the warmer months.
As for temperature, you’ll need to keep your bromeliads at around 70ºF (21ºC), especially during the summer if you want the bracts to emerge. The exact temperature needs for each species vary, so research the requirements of your particular bromeliad. Most bromeliads also need a relatively humid environment.
7. Propagating Bromeliads is Pretty Simple
Because they’re so easy to propagate, bromeliads can be enjoyed for many years. The easiest propagation method is to pot up the small baby plants that develop around the main rosette of the bromeliad.
These little offsets can be separated from the parent and used to produce more bract flowers. Once the parent plant has finished flowering, it won’t be able to produce any more bracts. The foliage will keep going for a few years before the plant perishes.
But growing the offsets produced by the main plant lets you bask in the beauty of bromeliad flowers over and over again.
8. Bromeliad Plants Can Thrive in Most Lighting Situations
As residents of the rainforest floor, most bromeliads can handle varying amounts of light. This makes them ideal houseplants for most homes. The exact light requirements vary between species, so it’s always best to check the needs of your plants.
Some epiphyte species can get up to eight hours of sunlight each day. Bromeliad species that live on the ground survive with less light. A good rule to follow is to place bromeliads with softer foliage in shadier spots.
Bromeliads with thicker leaves prefer bright, indirect light. South or west-facing windows are the best locations for bromeliad plants.
9. Bromeliads May Boost Your Mental Health
The sight of gorgeous green plants like bromeliads can have a profound effect on our mental well-being. Bringing the outside in might sound cliché, but studies have shown that feeling connected to nature improves our mood.
Other experiments show that this boost also extends to our relationships with others and cultivates a more positive outlook on life. Two separate studies conducted in New Zealand and the UK demonstrate that spending time in green spaces improves our mental health.
By bringing bromeliads into your home, you can create your own mental health oasis indoors. You might even feel more positive vibes in their presence.
10. Bromeliad Plants May Counteract Allergies
As mentioned earlier, plants like bromeliads can help purify the air in your home. But for plant parents who suffer from allergies like asthma, bromeliads can have even more benefits. Research shows that the VOCs floating around our homes may actually trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
Bromeliads can be highly effective at removing these VOCs from the air. In this study, the bromeliad could filter out six of the eight compounds tested, including benzene and acetone. Benzene, in particular, may have a role in asthma development in children.
If you have asthma or other allergic conditions, bromeliads could help reduce your risk of reactions.
11. Bromeliads Are Fabulous for Feng Shui
As our homes and lives become more busy and chaotic, cultivating balance and calm is more important than ever. Thankfully, some bromeliads make excellent feng shui plants to add to your home.
Air plants (Tillandsia spp.) are a collection of epiphytic bromeliads. Despite being attributed to the wood element, air plants actually symbolize the essence of feng shui. This ancient Chinese practice literally translates as “wind-water,” which also perfectly describes air plants.
These plants live without roots, surviving simply by sucking in water or nutrients through their foliage. As feng shui agents, air plants create balance, calm, and bring uplifting and refreshing vibes to your room.
12. Bromeliad Plants Can Improve Smell & Sound
When working from home or just relaxing in your own house, you want things to be as calm as possible. But unpleasant odors and distracting noises can disrupt your peace and quiet. Thankfully, plants like bromeliads can help reduce these nuisances.
As they filter VOCs and other harmful particles from the air, plants can also purify lingering odors or bad smells. This can help reduce the need for chemical air fresheners and other cleaning products, which can be major sources of VOCs.
Having houseplants like bromeliads scattered throughout your home can also limit unwanted noise. This 2005 experiment found that plants outperformed paper-based soundproofing across various frequencies.
Plants make surprisingly good soundproofing material because their foliage and stems absorb sound waves. The thicker and fuller the foliage is, the more effective they are at improving acoustics.
As we’ve seen, bromeliads can be brilliant additions to your home. These tropical treasures are much more than just a pretty plant. Bromeliad plants can help purify the air, banish unpleasant odors, and boost your feng shui game.
Bromeliads can be great for your brain as well, helping to reduce stress and boost productivity. They’re also pretty easy to grow and can thrive in various light and temperature conditions. So everyone can experience the breathtaking benefits of bromeliads.
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.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.