Fertilizer for Bromeliads

gardenbear1(6 Ma.)November 3, 2010

I have a few noid Bromeliads that I'm not sure what to feed them, there growing like crazy just no blooms in the 3 years I've had them, there about 18 inches tall, I ask at the garden center and was told not to feed them and a another place told me use house plant food, I've been giving them the house plant food but now I'm not sure what to do PLEASE help


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Hi Bear,

This is a very comprehensive topic and if you type "fertilizing bromeliads" in the search engine at the top of the page you will see there have been pages and pages of discussion about this very topic in the past.

In my experience, it's true they will grow without any fertilizer but like any plant, I find they will do better if fed the correct fertilizer at the correct rate.

As a general rule if you give most bromeliads any fertilizer that is very high in nitrogen, you will usually get great growth at the expense of flowers.

The amount of nitrogen in fertilizers is shown as a N.P.K. ratio on the container with the N = Nitrogen, P = Phosporous and K = Potassium

What each of these three chemicals does is basically:
Nitrogen promotes growth above the ground ie leaves etc.
Phosphorus promotes growth below the ground ie good roots
Potassium benefits the whole plant, especially flower and fruit production.

I find when looking for a fertilizer which promotes flowers rather than excessive growth, if you look for one which is marketed as blossum booster or bloom booster you will generally find that it will be low in nitrogen and high in potassium.

If you look at the NPK ratio on the container of the house plant food you have been feeding them, you will probably find it is the other way around, i.e. the Nitrogen % is greater than the Potassium %, hence the excessive growth.

This fertilizer will continue to feed at this rate until it is all used up, so you would be better to take the plant/s out of the pot, wash off any existing mix from the roots and re-pot in a new fertilizer-free mix.

Personally I would just give the plant a sea weed conditioner (which isn't a fertilizer) at the recommended rate until the plant is re-established.

Once established, look for and use a suitable low nitrogen high potassium food at half the recommended rate and this will probably solve your problem.

On the other hand, some bromeliads are naturally very shy to flower and if this is the case, try moving it to an area with higher light (not direct full on sun.)

All growers have their own methods of fertilizing and the above is just the way I would do it. Personally I have found in the end it's all really trial and error and once you find something that works, don't change it!

Al the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 2:01AM
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