Bromeliad bonsai trees are considered to be especially durable due to a complex root system characteristic of most terrestrial bromeliad species. Leaf coloration on these particular bonsai trees ranges from maroon through shades of gold and green. Other trees in this species may display spots of cream, red or purple. The resulting foliage can be broad and flat or symmetrical and irregular. It’s these characteristics, along with the deep root system that better absorbs nutrients and water, which make bromeliad bonsai trees stand out from other types of bonsai trees.
|Description||This plant has a complex and extensive root system that facilitates the absorption of water and nutrients. This also makes the plant particularly durable. The color of bromelide leaves can be green, gold or maroon. The foliage of the plant is varied. The plant may be more floral than tree-like when it is grown as a bonsai, and the flowers can be highly fragrant.|
|Position||Give the plant plenty of light, and make sure there is excellent air circulation. When the plant is grown outdoors, keep it in a sheltered location.|
|Watering||Water the plant regularly to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged.|
|Feeding||With regular re-potting, sufficient nutrients may be obtained from the soil mix. When additional nutrients are required, feed with a fertilizer for bromeliads.|
|Leaf and Branch Pruning||Use clean, sharp cutting tools to prune as needed.|
|Re-potting & Growing Medium||Re-pot frequently when the tree is young and vigorous. Bromelide bonsai plants have very particular needs where soil is concerned. Use a commercially-available bonsai soil or make it at home. To make the soil at home: Combine one-fifth loam, two-fifths granite grit and two-fifths sphagnum peat moss. Mix them together very well. This mixture makes a soil that remains loose, and does not get compacted easily.|
|Wiring||Use wire to create the desired shape.|
|Notes||The environment in which the plant is kept will ultimately dictate the soil requirements of the plant. It may be a matter of trial and error to find the right soil for a particular plant.|
Bromeliad bonsai trees differ from traditional bonsai trees in several ways. The first noticeable difference is that they have more of flower appearance, as opposed to the typical tree appearance of a common Chinese or Japanese bonsai plant. Most bromeliad bonsai trees are small in stature, a trait they share with traditional bonsai trees, but they are more plant-like than tree-like due to large flowers characteristic of bromeliads. These miniature trees originated in China and eventually made it to the United States where they are commonly used to enhance Asian-inspired landscapes.
Some of the flowers on bromeliad bonsai trees produce a strong, pleasant scent. While these trees can be grown in pots, it is generally recommended that they should be transplanted due to their complex root system. Bromeliads have three growing habits:
Epiphytic – Refers to trees that grow on other trees (usually trees)
Terrestrial – Refers to trees that grow in the ground
Saxicolous – Refers to trees that grow on rocks
When planting bromeliad bonsai trees, special care needs to be taken by creating a special potting mix to provide proper support and allow for sufficient drainage. Some of the flower spikes on these trees can reach 10 meters in height. Depending on the specific variation, these flowers can retain their color from a few weeks up to 10-12 months. In some variations, the flowers remain unseen. Wild bonsai trees typically grow 5 meters or taller, while those kept in pots rarely exceed half that size.
When selecting the soil, you’ll have two options: homemade soil and pre-made soil. Homemade bonsai soil should be:
- One part loam
- Two parts sphagnum peat moss
- Two parts granite grit
You’ll eventually need to add additional nutrients as your bromeliad bonsai plant grows, but this is a good starting soil.
Pre-made soil for this type of bonsai plant can be found at just about any garden center. You’ll want soil that properly retains water long enough for the bonsai to absorb nutrients. You’ll also want soil that drains water quickly to avoid root rot. Bonsai, regardless of species, have vulnerable root systems when they first start growing. Common pre-made soils for this type of bonsai plant include:
There really isn’t a “best” soil for this type of bonsai plant. The general recommendation is to experiment and see what works with your plant. The soil choice also depends on the environment where the plant is located. If you are keeping the plant in a container near the window, for example, you’ll need a soil that isn’t especially sensitive to light.
Like any type of bonsai plant, bromeliad bonsai trees require special care. This is especially true if you are keeping them in a potted plant. Bromeliads, part of the pineapple family, are able to thrive in several different environmental conditions due to their many adaptations. While bonsai trees by nature are highly adaptable and durable, certain requirements are necessary to maintain the nutritional and environmental needs of the plant. Specific care of bromeliad bonsai trees should include:
- Watering should be at regular intervals. Like most bonsai species, bromeliad bonsai trees prefer a moist soil.
- Avoid over-watering, this will drown the roots and cause discoloration of the leaves.
- These trees must be re-potted at regular intervals, especially when the trees are young and experiencing a more vigorous growth.
- Use specialized tools when caring for these trees, especially when pruning them.
- Soil should be loose and fast-draining.
Bromeliad bonsai trees can survive inside of a house, but they need plenty of light and circulation. They tend to do better in window boxes or outside on porches.
Keeping Bromeliad Bonsai Trees Healthy
If you notice that your bonsai is not growing properly are the flower is not blooming, it may be necessary to take certain measures to keep it healthy. Bonsai trees, by nature, need regular care. If you are doing everything else right such as watering properly and using the correct soil, the problem may be the physical location of the plant. First, try moving the plant to a new location and see if it does better. If that doesn’t do anything, try spraying a very mild solution of warm water and liquid dish soap on the plant. If this still doesn’t do the trick, inspect the soil for insects. If nothing turns up, then try changing the soil. If this doesn’t help, it is best to contact a botanist for diagnosis of the problem.
Cutting is the most common method used to grow new trees from an existing bonsai plant, regardless of species. You’ll want to make a smooth cut from a branch below the flowering part of the plant. Cuttings are easy to replant. You simply stick the stem in the soil. The key issue is whether roots will grow out after the branch or stem is inserted. The soil should be prepared in advance. This includes:
- Using new soil. The soil should be the same kind that you use for the parent plant. It should be rinsed well to make sure it doesn’t contain too much organic material that may make a new plant rot.
- Watering the new soil ahead of time before inserting the branch or stem.
Cutting the stem or branch with sharp scissors to ensure that the piece cut is smooth. The cut should actually be two cuts making a V-shape.
- Pruning excess leaves from the cut portion. The new cut portion absorbs less water once inserted into the soil. Cutting the leaves reduces the dissipation of water through the leaves. The leaves will grow back once the bonsai takes hold and starts to develop.
- Soaking the pruned branch or stem in water for about an hour. This allows the cut portion to absorb enough water to sustain itself until it fully takes hold in the new soil.
Bromeliad bonsai trees tend to be incredibly durable once they reach full maturity. This makes them ideal trees for indoor and outdoor environments. Although, proper care is still required to keep any type of bonsai plant alive. Soil should be kept moist, but not soaked. The soil can be either custom or purchased at a local garden supply store. Regardless of how you prepare the soil, you will likely have to do some experimenting to find the right soil for your plant. The survival of any type of bonsai plant depends on where you keep it and how you care for it. Properly cared for, bromeliad bonsai trees can be an attractive addition to your indoor or outdoor decor.