Creating a living Bromeliad tree

Title: Creating a living Bromeliad tree
Episode: 11
Broadcast Date: 11/05/14
Presenter: Trevor

Trevor shows us some beautiful bromeliads this week. Whilst you can find them in a garden, you are much more likely to find them growing on an old log or in the fork of a tree trunk in the wild. They are one of the great survivors – millions of years old they’ve evolved to grow steadily capturing rainwater in the well in their heart and using it sustain themselves through dry times. Here is how you can get a beautiful looking bromeliad in your home this weekend.

  • Most bromeliads are purchased in pots, these are more terrestrial forms, in other words, happier to grow in the ground, but the vast majority love being grown on a tree branch.
  • Grab an old paperbark tree branch-their flaky bark are the perfect host. Next, cement it into a large pot and bury it where you want to create the effect.
  • The next stage is tying the plants to the trees bark. There’s no adding potting mix here, it’s not necessary, these plants will use the moisture and organics from the bark to sustain them initially. As they cling on, however, it is a good idea to add some seaweed extract to sustain their growth.
  • There are many different forms of Bromeliad, so many colours in the foliage and occasionally flowers too that are quite stunning with some forms. The trick for creating a display like this lies in great variety and Trevor selected some from Collectors Corner.
  • The terrestrial forms go into the ground around the base of the tree, plant them into orchid mix as they love open free draining bark soil mediums.
  • The trick is making sure these plants get at least one to two drinks a week. Not a lot of moisture, just enough to encourage growth and provide moisture to the well in the heart of the plant. A mister or two placed above is more than enough. The tree effect is stunning and it creates its own micro eco system.
  • The bromeliad tree concept will always work better if its placed in a southern facing aspect protected from strong winds, ideally under 30 to 50% shade all day and an atrium is a great place to put one.
  • Bromeliads are a source of moisture for all sorts of animals from insects to frogs who prey on them as a food source and then lay eggs in the well for breeding.