Bromeliad leaves are very soft (weak)

ange2006August 10, 2014

The pup I detached from the mother is doing well, growing slowly. But, the leaves are very soft. The mother has very stiff leaves like most bromeliad. What can I do to strengthen those leaves?

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I am curious why you removed the pup?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 7:48PM
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Doesnt sound like a bromleiad. A photo would be helpful.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:27PM
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Everywhere I read that it's normal to detach the pup after it's gotten to be 1/2 the size of the mother - to be on its own and bloom. Also, the mother will grow more pups.

In the photo, the three places where it says "here", the leaves bend down forming almost a 90 degree angle. In the back, some of them are more upright. Even those 'upright' one can be easily bent forward, flip the other way 180 degrees. The leaves also look patchy yellow to me too. I did not fertilize since I bought it until the last four weeks which I did weekly. Could it be lacking some kind of mineral?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:28PM
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Not getting enough light will make leaves long and skinny, which might make them more susceptible to bending like in your picture. If that's the problem, fertilizer will make things worse.

On the other hand I see what looks like a sunburn spot on one of the other leaves. Generally direct sun should bea voided, especially if the plant is used to shade or has been living indoors. I can't tell what kind of bromeliad that is so it's hard to say how much light it wants.

This post was edited by gosalsk on Tue, Aug 12, 14 at 13:46

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:44PM
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Both mum and pup were indoors until about 3 months ago. I put them in the shade of a climbing rose. When the sun changed direction enough to hit that one leave directly, it got burned. They are now under a 2'x4' shade cloth frame. I have to keep repositing the plants to keep them complete under the shade. I'm planning in my head to build something permanent for all my precious shade loving plants.

It's the most common type of bromeliad as show in this photo.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:39PM
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If your plant is like those in the picture, it is a Guzmania and normally they like lower light than Aechmeas and Neoregelias. They will usually tolerate more feeding as well, but like all bromeliads, if fed with high Nitrogen fertilizers the growth will be fast and soft.

What was the N.P.K. reading on the packet of fertiliser you used? This will tell you the ratio of Nitrogen to Phosphorous and Potassium.

If your potting mix is retaining too much water, this could also result in soft weak growth which if not rectified could eventually be fatal to the plant. Just knock the pup and mix out of the pot and see how wet it is down toward the bottom of the plant.

It's also possible the shady location you have them in could be too shady, and that will also give you the type of leaves you describe.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:53PM
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splinter1804, I do not use commercial fertilizer so I don't have the NPK reading. I use diluted worm tea and EM. I'm probably watering too much since they're in the shade and the soil does not evaporate as fast the the other potted plants that are in the sun. I'll stop watering for a week or two. (It's also monsoon season right now.) Thank you for your advise.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:24PM
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