How to Grow Bromeliads Outdoors

Bromeliads are stunning low maintenance plants that can be planted outdoors in frost free climates.

Caring for outdoor bromeliads is fairly straightforward, as long as the temperature and conditions are suitable.

In this article I’ll share my tips for growing bromeliads outdoors in your garden.

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bromeliads growing outdoors

How to grow bromeliad plants outdoors

Climate 

Bromeliads grow best outdoors in warm climates with a temperature range of 70 ⁰F to 90 ⁰F (21 ⁰C to 32 ⁰C).

If you live in USDA zones 9 to 12 you can grow bromeliad plants outdoors in your garden year round.

Bromeliads aren’t frost tolerant, so if you live in a cool climate you can plant your bromeliads in pots and keep them outdoors during spring and summer and move them indoors when the temperature starts to cool down.

Place the pots on a plant stand with wheels to make it easier to move them around.

Bromeliads also grow well in greenhouses with bright, indirect light.

Location

Bromeliads can be planted outdoors in a spot that receives morning sun or dappled light during the day.

Try to keep them out of the hot afternoon sun because it will scorch the leaves.

Large bromeliads can be used as an attractive focal point in the garden, while lower growing varieties are excellent for ground covers underneath trees.

outdoor bromeliad plant

Moving an indoor bromeliad outdoors

Indoor bromeliads can be moved outside once the temperature has warmed up and there is no risk of frost.

You can gently ease the transition from indoors to outdoors by placing the plant outside in a spot with dappled light for a few hours at a time. 

It’s best to do this in the morning before the temperature gets too hot.

Gradually increase your bromeliads outdoor time until it gets used to the new conditions.

Be careful of sudden cold snaps and if the temperature falls below 50 ⁰F (10 ⁰C) you’ll need to bring the plant back indoors until the temperature warms up again. 

Planting bromeliads outdoors

Choose a sheltered spot in the garden that receives dappled or morning sunlight.

Bromeliads like soil that drains easily, so if you have heavy clay soil you’ll need to amend the soil with compost before planting. 

Dig a hole that is large enough to comfortably fit the roots and place the plant in the bottom of the hole.

Cover the roots with soil and give the plant a deep watering.

If you’re planting multiple bromeliads, space them out at least one foot (30 cm) apart for smaller varieties or up to 3 feet (90 cm) apart for larger varieties.

growing bromeliads outside

Water

Bromeliads grow best in soil that is evenly moist but not waterlogged.

Avoid letting the soil become too soggy because it will cause the roots to rot.

Also, avoid filling the center of the plants with water to reduce the risk of crown rot.

Give the plant a deep watering every two weeks and check the soil with your finger to make sure that it’s dried out slightly before watering again.

Fertilizer

Bromeliads growing in the garden generally don’t need a lot of fertilizer but you can use a weak liquid fertilizer during spring and summer while the plants are actively growing.

Dividing bromeliads

Bromeliads produce small baby plants known as pups or offsets at the base of the plant once they’ve finished flowering.

These offsets can be separated from the mother plant and repotted or planted elsewhere in the garden.

It’s best to wait until the offset is about one-third of the size of the mother plant before dividing.

Pests 

Outdoor bromeliads can be affected by a number of different pests.

Spider mites are one of the most common bromeliad pests.

They look like yellow or brown spots on the leaves.

Mealybugs are small, white fuzzy insects that damage the leaves by sucking the juices from the plant.

Scale are small insects that look like little brown lumps or spots on the leaves.

If you spot an infestation on your bromeliads you’ll need to take action quickly to get it under control.

Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove as many of the insects as possible and then spray the leaves with a neem oil spray or insecticidal soap once a week to get rid of the rest of the pests.

Spray the plants in the evening when the temperature is cooler to avoid burning the leaves.

Bromeliad plant

How tall do bromeliads grow outdoors?

Most bromeliads grow 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) tall but there are many different varieties of bromeliad ranging in height from as small as one inch (2.5 cm) up to 10 feet (3 metres) tall. [1]

Aechmea conifera is one of the largest bromeliad varieties, growing up to 10 feet tall and wide.

Can bromeliads tolerate full sun?

Bromeliads originated in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America so their preferred location is underneath the canopy of other trees.

Try to avoid planting bromeliads in a spot that receives full sun because the leaves will scorch, especially in the hot summer months.

Are bromeliads frost tolerant?

Bromeliads can’t tolerate freezing weather or frosty conditions, so if you live in a cool climate area you’ll need to plant your bromeliads in pots and move them inside in fall when the temperature starts to cool down.

So there are my tips for growing and caring for bromeliads outdoors.

If you live in an area with warm temperatures you can enjoy these stunning plants in your garden year round, otherwise plant them in pots and enjoy them indoors while the weather is cold outside.

Have you had success growing bromeliad plants outdoors? Let me know in the comments below.

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growing bromeliads outdoors

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin. I'm passionate about gardening and horticulture and I love growing just about everything including herbs, vegetables, flowers, succulents and indoor plants. I've been gardening most of my life and I created this blog to inspire beginner gardeners to create their own urban garden. Read more

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