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Bromeliads in bloom

I UNDERSTAND that you are an expert bromeliad grower, so I'm hoping you can tell me what to do with mine. They have large cups in the middle with small flowers that just peek out of the top of the water. The older rosettes are starting to die back and I can see young pups around the base. My question is: should I remove the pups and replant them or am I forced to watch the big ones die slowly? I want to dig them out because they look ugly.


YOU have two choices when it comes to dealing with your young bromeliad pups and the old rosette. You could simply remove the dying leaves as they brown off - cut them off or pull so they tear away from the base. You may have to wear gloves as some bromeliads have sharp thorns along the leaf edges. If you remove the odd bit of dead foliage as it appears and leave the pups to grow, they'll form an attractive clump of foliage which gradually expands as more pups are produced.

Alternatively, you could remove the pups to propagate more plants. Ideally, wait until they are about one third of the size of the "mother" plant then cut through the connecting rhizome with a knife or secateurs. The pup may already have its own roots but, if not, it will soon grow some if you plant it in a pot or directly into the garden. You could throw out the original plant, but if it still has some healthy leaves there's a good chance it will produce a few more pups later in the season.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 134, 2003, Page 30

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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