A mixture of terrestrial bromeliads
Terrestrial bromeliads (Photo by GardenGates)

The large family of bromeliads include ornamental house plants, garden plants and even the edible pineapple. Many of the members of this family naturally grow attached to branches high up in trees. These are epiphytes. The rest naturally grow in the earth and are called terrestrial. Here are some suggestions on how to successfully grow the terrestrial bromeliads.

Most bromeliads grow in frost free environments. If you live in a warm climate, you can grow them outdoors. Otherwise most bromeliads make good house plants. They do well with some humidity, rich soil with plenty of organics, and good light. Some varieties can even take full sun.

The Dyckia and Hechtia both look like spiny succulents that you'd expect to see in a cactus garden, but though they can take temperatures that flirt with frost and bright sun, they still prefer good, rich soil and plenty of water.

Crptanthus bromeliads are known as the Earth Stars. Most are relatively small and spread their colorful leaves open on the earth like decorative stars. These bromeliads do particularly well in terrariums where they can enjoy high humidity and good soil.

The Ananas group of bromeliad includes the edible pineapple. Ananas can grow several feet tall and you can grow one in your home from the top of a commercial pineapple. Since growing conditions will not be optimum don't expect to grow a quality fruit. But the plant is attractive and fun to grow indoors.

The Puya has some varieties that handle light frosts and can grow very colorful, biaarre flower spikes. This odd plant is certain to be a conversation piece in the garden.

Many terrestrial bromeliads are grown for their decorative foliage and some for their ornamental flowers. The pineapple is the only member of the family widely grown as a commercial crop. You can grow terrestrial bromeliads indoors or outdoors in mild gardens. They are beautiful, unusual and fun to grow. Just give them good, moist -not wet - soil with plenty of humus. Most prefer indirect sun or dappled shade.