17 Best Types of Bromeliads to Grow at Home

The bromeliad family of plants (Bromeliaceae) contains thousands of species of plants. Among these are the popular pineapple plant and hundreds that are well-loved for their showy, attractive blossoms and foliage. Although they have had a reputation for being “fancy” or “exotic” and challenging to grow, they’re pretty easy to keep and bring to full bloom with the right growing conditions. Here, I’ll run through 17 of my favorite types of bromeliads to grow at home, plus essential care tips for each.

Best Types of Bromeliads to Grow at Home

1. Portea Bromeliad (Portea spp.)

Portea Bromeliad (Portea spp.)

About:

Portea is a genus containing nine species of particularly striking bromeliads that are native to Brazil’s Atlantic coast. These types of bromeliads produce sharp foliage and extraordinarily beautiful blooms in vibrant shades of hot pink, blue, and violet that lend these plants an otherworldly mystique.

General Care:Low-maintenance
Soil:Well-draining, porous, and rich potting mix
Light:Full sun
Temp & Humidity:Frost sensitive, but can survive winter temperatures down to about 30°F. Prefers about 60% humidity.
Watering:Drought-tolerant. Water when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry, and do not let the plant sit in standing water.
Feeding:Fertilize once a year by applying a water-soluble fertilizer to the soil.
Growth:Slow growing. Mature plants can reach nearly 4 feet in height.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

2. Sapphire Tower Bromeliad (Puya alpestris)

Sapphire Tower Bromeliad (Puya alpestris)

About:  

Another striking beauty from the bromeliad plant family, the Puya alpestris or sapphire tower bromeliad features three to four-foot-tall blossoming stalks that last about one to two months. Native to central and southern Chile, these types of bromeliads look like they come from another planet with their metallic, teal-colored, 2-inch blossoms that feature bright-orange anthers in their centers.

General Care:Low-maintenance
Soil:Well-draining
Light:Full to partial sun
Temp & Humidity:This plant is cold-tolerant and can be grown outdoors in climates that get down to 15°F to 20°F in winter. Aim for summer temperatures above 70°F and low to moderate humidity.
Watering:Water once a week in summer and once a month in winter.
Feeding:Spring only, fertilize with a water-soluble succulent food at half strength.
Growth:Mature plants reach about 4 feet in height.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

3. Air Plants (Tillandsia spp.)

Air Plants (Tillandsia spp.)

About:

Tillandsia is a genus in the bromeliad plant family containing about 650 species of bromeliads, commonly called air plants. Air plants have lightweight seeds and special, water-absorbing cells on their leaves that enable them to thrive anywhere (telephone wires, tree branches, rocks, fridge magnets, or cute soilless planters).

General Care:Easy to grow and extremely low-maintenance
Soil:Never plant in the soil
Light:Bright, filtered sunlight
Temp & Humidity:Prefers moderate humidity and average indoor temperatures.
Watering:In an arid environment, bathe/submerge air plants weekly for 2 to 3 hours. In a cool or humid home, mist completely once or twice a week in summer and once a month in winter.
Feeding:Once in spring, only add a pinch of bromeliad or orchid fertilizer to your bath or misting water.
Growth:Very slow growing. Reaches 6 to 8 inches in diameter at maturity.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

4. Hechtia Bromeliad (Hechtia spp.)

Hechtia Bromeliad (Hechtia spp.)

About:

Hechtia is a genus of about 75 species of terrestrial bromeliads. These types of bromeliads thrive in arid environments and tend to grow in rocky outcroppings or sandy soil alongside other cacti and succulents. Like other bromeliads, hechtia plants have a central rosette of lance-shaped leaves. Unlike other bromeliads, these leaves are generally thick and spiny, similar to those of other desert succulents.

General Care:Low-maintenance with careful moisture management
Soil:Well-draining, sandy soil
Light:Full sun to partial shade. Less sunlight will slow growth.
Temp & Humidity:Average indoor temperatures and moderate humidity.
Watering:In spring and summer, water regularly when the top 2 two inches of soil feel dry. Reduce watering in fall and winter.
Feeding:Feeding is not generally needed. Feed once in spring to promote growth with a cactus or succulent fertilizer.
Growth:Mature plants achieve an 18-inch diameter.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

5. Aechmea Bromeliad (Aechmea spp.)

Aechmea Bromeliad (Aechmea spp.)

About:

This genus contains about 250 flowering plant species in the bromeliad family. They grow natively throughout the Caribbean and from Mexico through South America, and they are some of the most popular houseplant bromeliads. The genus Aechmea comes from the Greek word for spear tip, referring to these plants’ rosettes of pointed spear-shaped leaves. In bloom, aechmea bromeliads have a bulbous, spiked central flower head.

General Care:Easy and low-maintenance
Soil:Any supportive soil mix will do.
Light:Indirect sunlight to partial shade
Temp & Humidity:Temperatures above 55°F and moderate humidity
Watering:Ensure the plant’s central cup is always filled with water. Change water frequently to prevent bacterial growth.
Feeding:Once during the growing season, feed a water-soluble or liquid fertilizer.
Growth:Slow-growing. Reaches about 2 feet tall and wide at maturity.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

6. Quesnelia Bromeliad (Quesnelia spp.)

Quesnelia Bromeliad (Quesnelia spp.)

About:

This genus of bromeliads native to eastern Brazil contains 22 species of flowering plants. Most species of quesnelia bromeliads feature pineapple-shaped blossoms in vibrant red, pink, yellow, or purple shades. Like several other genera of bromeliads, Quesnelia contains all epiphytes, meaning they grow from trees in their natural habitat and don’t do well in overly moist soils.

General Care:Low-maintenance
Soil:Sturdy, well-draining soil
Light:Bright, filtered sunlight
Temp & Humidity:Average indoor temperatures and moderate humidity
Watering:Water once or twice a week, ensuring the plant’s central cup always has water in it.
Feeding:Add water-soluble orchid or bromeliad fertilizer to its water once or twice during the growing season.
Growth:Slow-growing
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

7. Pineapple Bromeliad (Ananas comosus)

Pineapple Bromeliad (Ananas comosus)

About:

Native to South America, the pineapple is probably one of the most popular types of bromeliads worldwide – not for growing as a houseplant, but for eating, of course! With a rosette of leaves like other bromeliads, the pineapple plant bears its familiar tropical fruit from its central inflorescence.

General Care:Low-maintenance but more challenging to grow in northern climates.
Soil:Well-draining, nutrient-rich soil
Light:Bright, direct sunlight for 8 hours each day to produce fruit
Temp & Humidity:65°F to 95°F and moderate to high humidity
Watering:Keep soil moist but not soggy by watering once a week when the soil feels dry.
Feeding:Feed your pineapple plant a balanced fertilizer once every two months and once every two weeks once its flower has formed.
Growth:Mature plants reach 3 to 5 feet tall.
Toxicity:Immature pineapple fruit is poisonous for pets and people, and other parts of the plant can be toxic to pets.

8. Earth Star Bromeliad (Cryptanthus spp.)

Earth Star Bromeliad (Cryptanthus spp.)

About:

The Cryptanthus genus contains about 1,200 species of bromeliads. Commonly called earth stars, these types of bromeliads have rosettes of attractive foliage ranging in color (and combinations of colors) from green to pink. Their foliage can be solid in color, but sometimes, it also features widely varied patterns with stripes, splotches, bands, and spots.

General Care:Easy to grow and low-maintenance
Soil:Well-draining, coarse, acidic soil
Light:Bright, indirect, or filtered sunlight
Temp & Humidity:60°F to 85°F and moderate to high humidity
Watering:Can tolerate short periods of drought, but try to keep soil evenly moist and never soggy by watering when the top inch or two of soil is dry.
Feeding:Fertilize every three weeks with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength.
Growth:Reaches between 3 and 36 inches within a 3-year lifespan, depending on the species
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

9. Canistropsis Bromeliad (Canistropis spp.)

Canistropsis Bromeliad (Canistropis spp.)

About:

The Canistropisis genus contains 11 species of bromeliads that are native to the Atlantic forests of southeastern Brazil. Canistropisis bromeliads feature a rosette of lance-shaped leaves and a brightly colored central blossom in bright yellow, orange, pink, or red.

General Care:Low-maintenance and easy-to-grow
Soil:Peaty, well-draining, acidic potting mix
Light:Partial sunlight
Temp & Humidity:45°F (nighttime low) to 95°F (daytime high) and moderate to high humidity
Watering:Keep soil constantly moist but never soggy with frequent watering and misting.
Feeding:Spring and summer only, feed a balanced fertilizer diluted to half-strength once or twice a month.
Growth:Indoors, mature plants reach about 8 inches tall.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

10. Tufted Air Plant (Guzmania spp.)

Guzmania Bromeliad Flower

About:

When you see a bromeliad in a garden center, the chances are high that you’re looking at some of the more than 120 species from the Guzmania genus. Commonly called tufted air plants, some varieties of guzmania bromeliads feature small, white tufts that appear among their brightly colored central bracts. Popular types feature fiery colors like pink, purple, orange, red, and yellow.

General Care:Low-maintenance and easy-to-grow
Soil:Plant in a well-draining, porous, and coarse orchid soil in a pot weighed down with stones.
Light:Filtered sunlight or partial shade
Temp & Humidity:Temperatures no lower than 55°F and high humidity
Watering:Keep the plant’s central cup filled with filtered or distilled water and change the water frequently to prevent bacterial growth.
Feeding:Spring and summer only, add a balanced fertilizer to the plant’s water every two weeks.
Growth:Can reach up to 2-feet tall, depending on the species
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

11. Pitcairnia Bromeliad (Pitcairnia spp.)

Pitcairnia Bromeliad (Pitcairnia spp.)

About:

After the air plants, Pitcairnia is the second-largest genus in the bromeliad family, with just under 400 species. While most species from this genus are native to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, one species grows natively in West Africa, and it’s the only type of bromeliad that is not native to the Americas. Several species feature prominent bracts and flower blossoms.

General Care:Easy to grow and low-maintenance
Soil:Well-draining, porous potting mix (half perlite and half soil)
Light :Full, filtered sunlight to partial shade
Temp & Humidity:70°F to 80°F and high humidity
Watering :It prefers moist soil that’s never soggy. Water when the top inch or two of soil feels dry.
Feeding:Feed a balanced fertilizer monthly in spring and summer only.
Growth:Mature plants can reach 2 to 5 feet in diameter, depending on the species.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

12. Billbergia Bromeliad (Billbergia spp.)

Billbergia Bromeliad (Billbergia spp.)

About:

The Billbergia genus of bromeliads contains about 60 species. While there is quite a bit of variation among them regarding their appearance and natural environment, some species grow naturally at a reasonably high altitude, making them good choices for growing outdoors in more moderate climates.

General Care:Easy to grow and low-maintenance
Soil:Well-draining, porous, slightly acidic potting mix
Light :Bright, indirect sunlight
Temp & Humidity:Prefer average indoor temperatures around 70°F, but can tolerate a range from 26°F to 100°F—high humidity with well-circulated air.
Watering:It prefers moist soil that is never soggy. Water when the soil has dried completely and keep the plant’s central cup filled with filtered water.
Feeding:Do not fertilize, as over-feeding can prevent blossoming.
Growth:Mature plants reach 8 to 36 inches in height, depending on the species.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

13. Dyckia Bromeliad (Dyckia spp.)

Dyckia Bromeliad (Dyckia spp.)

About:

Dyckia is a genus of bromeliads that are popular for xeriscaping in moderate to temperate climates. Thanks to their thick, waxy leaves, they can withstand periods without moisture. Species of dyckia bromeliads vary, but several resemble small octopi or squids with tentacle-like leaves that have edges lined with spines or spikes.

General Care:Low-maintenance, but it’s slightly challenging to mimic natural moisture conditions
Soil:Well-draining potting mix formulated for succulents
Light:Full sun
Temp & Humidity:70F to 90F and moderate humidity
Watering:In spring and summer, keep the soil evenly moist with frequent watering. Reduce watering in fall and winter.
Feeding:Do not fertilize.
Growth:8 inches to several feet wide, depending on the species
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

14. Nidularium (Nidularium spp.)

Nidularium (Nidularium spp.)

About:

The Nidularium genus contains about 25 species of plants in the bromeliad family. The genus name is the Latin word meaning “little nest” and describes the nest-like look of the plant’s central inflorescence, which rests just above its surrounding green foliage. These types of bromeliads feature brightly colored bracts and white, purple, or red flowers.

General Care:Easy to grow
Soil:Well-draining, fertile soil
Light:Bright, indirect, or filtered sunlight
Temp & Humidity:65°F to 80°F and humidity of at least 60% to 70%
Watering:Water about once a week in summer. Reduce watering in winter to prevent overly moist soil. Use filtered or soft water.
Feeding:Add a water-soluble, diluted, balanced fertilizer to the plant’s central cup once a month in spring and summer.
Growth:Grows slowly. Mature plants grow to between 15 and 50 inches, depending on species.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

15. Hohenbergia stellata

Hohenbergia stellata

About:

In Latin, stellata means “set with stars,” which perfectly describes the Hohenbergia stellata’s flowers. These types of bromeliads feature vibrant green foliage and a central blooming spire reaching up to about 40 inches in height. In bloom, this spire is covered with clustered bursts of spiky, purplish-red blossoms.

General Care:Low-maintenance
Soil :Well-draining, porous soil
Light:Bright to medium filtered or indirect sunlight
Temp & Humidity:65°F to 80°F and moderate humidity
Watering:Prefers lightly moist (never soggy) soil. Keep the central cup filled with filtered water and change frequently to prevent bacterial growth.
Feeding:In spring and summer, feed with a balanced fertilizer in the central cup’s water every other week. Reduce fertilization to once a month in fall and winter.
Growth:This bromeliad can reach 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide in its natural habitat.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

16. Neoregelia (Neoregelia spp.)

Neoregelia (Neoregelia spp.)

About:

Neoregelia is a genus of about 90 epiphytic plants in the bromeliad family. This type of bromeliad has an inflorescence that blossoms in the plant’s central cup, which is usually filled with water, and the foliage surrounding the central cup is typically brightly colored with shades of pink or red. Several species and hybrids from this genus are commonly cultivated as houseplants for their beautiful foliage.

General Care:Low-maintenance and easy-to-grow
Soil:Use a supportive soil mixture that drains quickly and does not hold much moisture.
Light:Indirect or filtered sunlight to partial shade
Temp & Humidity:55F or higher and moderate to high humidity
Watering:Keep filtered or soft water in the plant’s central cup at all times and change it frequently to prevent bacterial growth.
Feeding:During the growing season, add a highly diluted amount of balanced liquid fertilizer to the plant’s central cup once a month. Too much fertilizer will turn the plant’s foliage into a deep-green color.
Growth:Mature plants range from 2 to 12 inches in height, depending on the species.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

17. Flaming Sword Bromeliad (Vriesea spp.)

Flaming Sword Bromeliad (Vriesea spp.)

About:

Vriesea is a genus of bromeliads commonly called flaming sword plants for their showy, fiery-colored, sword-shaped inflorescence spikes. Species of this genus have no roots. Instead, they have unique parts that anchor them to the bark of trees called holdfasts. These types of bromeliads take in water and nutrients solely through their central cups.

General Care:Low-maintenance and easy-to-grow
Soil:It can be grown without soil attached to bark or wood. When using soil, create a sturdy potting mix that’s half soil and half perlite or bark.
Light:Bright, indirect sunlight
Temp & Humidity:60F to 80F and at least 50% humidity
Watering:Use filtered or soft water to keep the plant’s central cup filled. Change water frequently to prevent bacterial growth.
Feeding:During spring and summer, fertilize once a month with a diluted, water-soluble fertilizer applied in the central cup.
Growth:Mature plants reach about 18 inches in height.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and pets

Bromeliad Plants FAQs: 

Do bromeliads only flower once?

Most bromeliad species will only bloom once during their lifespan. The flower produced will typically last anywhere up to 6 months before it starts to decline.

How long do bromeliad plants live?

With due care and attention, most bromeliad plants can live anywhere up to 5 years.

Are bromeliads good indoor plants?

Bromeliad plants make great indoor plants to add to your houseplant collection. These plants are very tolerant of a range of low to medium, indirect light conditions, making them suitable for lots of different living and office spaces. Once set up, they’re generally very low maintenance to care for and are well regarded for their ability to purify the air and remove harmful toxins.

Are bromeliads poisonous?

Bromeliad plants are non-toxic to both humans and animals.

What do bromeliad plants symbolize?

The Incas, Aztecs, and the Mayans used the bromeliad plant extensively for practical and ceremonial purposes. Today, the bromeliad plant is symbolic of protection and sanctuary.

Whether you choose to grow a portea for its brilliant blossom, a guzmania for its vibrant inflorescence, or make an attempt at growing your own pineapple, you’ll find that many types of bromeliads are a joy to cultivate indoors and outdoors with little work or specialized care.

Further reading: Bromeliad plant care at home.

Editorial Director | andrew@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

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.

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