With over 3,500 species of blossoming plants, bromeliads are a charming choice for decorating any home or office interior. Plus, bromeliads offer a host of benefits including being easy to care for and don’t require too much pruning throughout their lifetimes. As a result, they make the perfect choice for anyone who’s looking for a houseplant that makes a big impact with minimal effort. Here we’ll take you through our essential tips for when and how to prune Bromeliad plants at home.
- Pruning Bromeliad Plants — The Essentials
- The Role of Pruning in Plant Health, Growth, Maintenance, and Care
- Growth Expectations — How Fast, Tall, and Expansive Will Bromeliad Plants Grow Indoors?
- What Are the Essential Tools for Pruning Bromeliad Plants?
- What’s the Best Time of Year to Prune Bromeliad Plants?
- When Pruning Bromeliads, Do I Need to Plan to Prune Both the Flowers and the Foliage?
- How, When, and Where Should I Cut a Bromeliad Flower off the Plant?
- Pruning and Cutting Back Brown Bromeliad Leaves
- Caring for Your Post-Pruned Bromeliad Plant
- Pruning Bromeliad Plants FAQ
- More Bromeliad Plant Care Guides from Petal Republic:
Pruning Bromeliad Plants — The Essentials
Although bromeliads do not require regular pruning, remove unhealthy leaves with sharp, sterile pruning shears. A bromeliad only flowers once, producing offshoots (pups) after the blossom is spent. To encourage healthy pups, trim away the dead flower stalk as close to the central cup as possible.
The Role of Pruning in Plant Health, Growth, Maintenance, and Care
In general, pruning helps promote plant health and growth. Pruning removes dying, dead, or diseased parts of the plant. This helps preserve the plant’s energy for healthy growth in addition to preventing it from getting infected with pests or bacteria. Most plants will sprout in the direction that they are pruned.
With bromeliads, the benefits of pruning are a bit different. Brown, dead, or unhealthy leaves should be removed to prevent disease and keep your bromeliad healthy.
However, a bromeliad otherwise does not need to be pruned until after its blossom is spent. The bromeliad’s dead flower stalk should then be removed to redirect the plant’s energy to the pups it will now begin to develop.
Growth Expectations — How Fast, Tall, and Expansive Will Bromeliad Plants Grow Indoors?
Indoor bromeliads reach a variety of sizes, depending on the genus and species of plant. For example, the smallest air plants from the Tillandsia genus can be as small as 1 or 2 inches tall and wide at maturity, and the largest bromeliads from the Vriesa genus can reach up to 2 or 3 feet tall and wide at maturity.
How Long Does a Bromeliad Flower Typically Last?
Bromeliad flowers last an astonishingly long time — from 3 to 6 months!
What Are the Essential Tools for Pruning Bromeliad Plants?
To prune your bromeliad, you will need a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears. If you do not have these available, you can also use a sharp paring knife.
Whatever tool you choose to prune your bromeliad with, make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned and sterilized prior to cutting your plant. This will prevent you from introducing bacteria to your dying bromeliad that could affect the health of its pups.
What’s the Best Time of Year to Prune Bromeliad Plants?
Bromeliad plants have a single reproductive life cycle, meaning they grow, flower, and create pups once during their lifetimes. They do not have a set growing or blooming season.
This means that your bromeliad can be successfully pruned at any time of the year. Remove brown foliage whenever it appears, and snip away the past-prime flower as soon as it has died or turned brown.
When Pruning Bromeliads, Do I Need to Plan to Prune Both the Flowers and the Foliage?
When pruning a bromeliad, you do not need to plan on pruning both foliage and flowers. In fact, a healthy, undamaged bromeliad plant’s foliage won’t need to be pruned at all. Simply plan to prune your bromeliad’s past-prime flower once it has turned brown and the original plant has begun producing pups.
How, When, and Where Should I Cut a Bromeliad Flower off the Plant?
Once a bromeliad’s flower has turned brown and/or once the mother plant has started producing pups, you can remove its spent bloom.
- Sterilize your scissors or pruning shears.
- Cut away the past-prime flower at its base. You can either trim the blossom away at the bottom of its brown stalk or just below the green foliage where the flower is still attached.
- Discard the spent blossom.
- Continue caring for your bromeliad until its foliage begins to turn brown.
- Remove and repot the mother plant’s pups.
Pruning and Cutting Back Brown Bromeliad Leaves
If a bromeliad develops a brown or broken leaf, it can be pruned away. Additionally, brown leaves can be removed as your plant dies to preserve its appearance and divert more energy to the developing pups.
- Sterilize your scissors or pruning shears.
- Trim the brown leaf away from the bromeliad by cutting it as close to the base of the plant as you can without damaging other healthy leaves.
- Continue caring for your bromeliad as usual.
Caring for Your Post-Pruned Bromeliad Plant
After your bromeliad flower has been removed, you can continue caring for the original plant as you would have before it blossomed to ensure it produces healthy pups.
Continue watering it on a similar schedule as before by adding filtered or distilled water to the plant’s central cup. During the spring and summer, you can also add a 1/2 or 1/4-strength, well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to the plant’s central cup every few weeks. Remember, bromeliads love warm and humid environments, so aim to find a suitable location in your home.
This will help your plant gather plenty of nutrients and energy for its offshoots.
Have Fun With Your Low-Maintenance, Easy to Grow Bromeliads
Although many people are disappointed to learn that their new bromeliad will only bloom once, many species of these lovely, low-maintenance plants can be enjoyed for years! With long-lasting blooms and little need for pruning, you’ll love having a collection of bromeliads to create a charming home or office atmosphere.
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.
Pruning Bromeliad Plants FAQ
Why Do Bromeliad Flowers Turn Brown?
Bromeliad flowers turn brown when the plant has reached the end of its lifecycle. The mother plant’s flower will turn brown, and it will begin to produce offshoots or pups.
Will a Bromeliad Plant Flower Again?
No, each bromeliad plant only blooms once in its lifetime. Depending on the species, your bromeliad could live from between 2 and 5 years.
When Should I Consider Cutting the Flower Off?
A bromeliad flower should be cut off once it begins to turn brown and once the mother plant begins producing offshoots.
Will the Bromeliad Plant Die After I’ve Cut the Flower Off?
Whether you remove a bromeliad’s flower or not, the plant has reached the end of its lifecycle and will die eventually. Removing the spent blossom will redirect nutrients to the mother plant’s pups, ensuring they’re as healthy as they can be.
More Bromeliad Plant Care Guides from Petal Republic:
- The 17 Best Types of Bromeliad Plants to Grow at Home
- When and How to Water Bromeliad Plants
- Feeding and Fertilizing Bromeliad Plants
- Bromeliad Plant Light Requirements
- The Best Soil and Potting Mix for Bromeliad Plants
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.