- Place of origin: Monocot family native to tropical Americas and West Africa. Easily adapted to various climates.
- Description: Over 3000 species exist with many hybrids including terrestrial, epiphytes and desert-dwelling succulents. Bromeliad foliage range from needle-thin to broad and flat, symmetrical to irregular, spiky to soft but generally grow in a rosette formation. Foliage also range in patterns and colors. Varieties may have different colors on the tops and bottoms of leaves. The foliage base typically gather water and food for the plant. Inflorescence are also diverse depending on the species. Root systems vary according to plant type. Terrestrial species have complex root systems to gather water and nutrients, while epiphytes grow hard, wiry roots to attach themselves to trees and rocks.
- Grow best: Need good drainage, air circulation, and support to thrive. A soil-less approach is the best with potting mix that may include peat moss, perlite, bark, sand, coconut shell. A six-inch container is the largest size your bromeliad will need. Re-pot after flowering. Watering depends on humidity and sunlight exposure. Allow to dry out between watering.
- Use: Only the pineapple variety (Ananas comosus) is a food crop. Bromelain is extracted from pineapple stems and used as a meat tenderizer. Most other bromeliads are ornamental plants for both shaded gardens and indoors.