Androlepis skinneri and Aechmea blachetiana growing in full sun
Bromeliads consist of a large family of plants native to temperate North, Central and South America. These plants are quite unique in the fact that they can be found growing in numerous habitat types such as forest, savannah or even the desert. They can be found growing on trees, on scrub, on rocks or in the soil. This amazing life process gives these plants the ability to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions but if the grower has a general understanding of the needs of individual species or hybrids or even just a groups with similar requirements, a plant can reach its full potential of size, form, color and general appearance. This can be done by doing a little research on the individual plant or contacting your seller or the internet for more information.
Lighting is one of the key success factors in caring for your bromeliads. The key success factors are:
The natural habitats of bromeliads range from full sun all day, to filtered sun, to full shade. When buying or receiving one, you may be uncertain if your bromeliad thrives in the shade of the forest, or prefers to bask in a full day of sunlight.
Each plant is different based on where it originated. Bromeliads will range from 0%-85% in preference to shade. A good rule of thumb is looking at the bromeliad leaves. A hard, thick, grayish-green bromeliad prefers more light and can withstand a full day in high sun. At Bromeliad Paradise, we offer Aechmea blanchetianas which are great for a garden receiving a lot of sun.
Full Sun Bromeliads usually originate in desert climates and can often resemble succulents. Bromeliad species that prefer full sun are: Dyckia, Puyas, Hechtias and Annanas. Other Bromeliads that can be adapted to full or partial sun are some the hard-leaved species in Aechmea, Billbergia, Neoregelia, Alcantarea, Tillandsia and Androlepis. If you would like to learn more, read this article we dedicated to full sun bromeliads.
Filtered sun bromeliads can be seen as the dappled light provided by overhead trees or shrubs, the manufactured filtering of a shade cloth covering a shade house, or in some cases, the white wash covering of a green house. Shade cloth generally ranges from 85% to 30%. The higher numbers are generally for more southern latitudes and exposures, the lower numbers are for the more northern latitudes or exposures.
Shade loving bromeliads that prefer low light, usually are the softer, greener and more delicate varieties. These prefer the lower amounts of light and are perfect under dense canopy or a eastern or western section of your house or garden that will be basked in shade during all or most of the day.
The best way to determine if your bromeliad is receiving too much or too little shade or sun is simply by monitoring its leaves. There’s usually a relationship between more light and more color so if your bromeliad is meant to be colorful but it appears to be too green, slowly give it more light and less shade. Don’t immediately thrust your bromeliad into too much sun, gradually introduce it into more sunlight as it would naturally in a forest.
If your bromeliad’s receiving too much sun, its leaves will begin to sunburn and appear yellow or bleached, or even have completely dead leaf spots. Eventually the leaves will start to brown and die. Move your plant to more filtered light or shade if this occurs.