Bromeliads are a type of plant that is called an epiphyte.
An epiphyte draws moisture from the air and does not need soil to live. It collects its nutrients through the tank in the flower and the leaf axils.
This means that while their roots do draw some moisture and nutrients, they are more typically an anchor for the plant.
In the wild, Bromeliads naturally attach themselves to tree branches and other wild landscape debris.
A growing trend is to create driftwood and Bromeliad décor by attaching Bromeliad plants to driftwood, trees, or even cork or bark.
These can be used to cover unsightly areas in the garden or add accents to an outdoor area. If you use cork, you can even create a living wall out of Bromeliads.
Attaching Bromeliads to surfaces is easy. First, you must make sure the driftwood you are using is free from salt, so if it was collected by the beach, it needs to be thoroughly soaked or washed with clean water. Bromeliads will not attach to any surface that is salty.
Choose the Bromeliads you want to attach. Pick medium-sized ones that are not top-heavy. If they are too big, the roots won’t attach properly, and the plant will fall over.
Remove any dead leaves from the plant and trim the roots back as much as you can. This will allow the plant to spend its energy growing new roots.
Bromeliads cannot attach to anything if they are moving. A breezy area, for example, will prevent the plant from attaching.
When you attach a Bromeliad, find a divot or nook in the wood or an area where the plant sits nicely without moving.
Wrap it with your preferred attachment, being careful not to wrap so tight that you damage the stem. It needs to be tight enough to hold it in place. Don’t wrap around the leaves. This will not hold the plant in place.
When you attach the Bromeliad, you have a few options. You can use twine to attach it. An organic twine will decompose on its own and is good for the environment.
I use it when I am attaching to bark or wood indoors or in a well-secluded area that won’t get wet if it rains. If twine gets too wet, it may decompose too quickly, and the Bromeliad will fall off.
Electric staples are one of the best ways to attach a Bromeliad to a tree outside
They come in a variety of sizes and will not rot if you attach the plant during a rainy season. I only use 2 or 3 max when I am attaching a Bromeliad and they last long enough for the roots to take ahold. They are small and well hidden from a distance.
Silicone glue is another method of attaching a Bromeliad to a surface. I have used this one a few times with success.
The biggest problem with it is the roots must grow around the glue and that can take longer for the plant to attach.
It isn’t the best-looking method either, but it can do in a pinch if it’s the option you have available. Don’t ever use a hot glue gun to attach a Bromeliad. It will injure or kill the plant.
The other option I have tried for mounting a Bromeliad is by using a non-copper wire. Don’t use copper wire as it will damage the plant.
It is not the easiest to get tight around the plant though and it doesn’t stretch so you run the risk of cutting the stem accidentally with the wire. I have also seen fish line used but it has the same issues that wire does.
My favorite way to attach a Bromeliad is by using cut strips of nylon
I would only use this method indoors or in a secluded area where there isn’t a risk of heavy wind or rain.
Cut strips from a pair of old nylons and secure the plant with those. You can tie tight without running the risk of damaging the stem and they stretch which allows for a good, tight grip. They are natural and easy to come by.
It can take anywhere from one to six months for a Bromeliad to attach. It depends on the weather conditions and the size of the plant.
Make sure the center of the plant remains free from debris and I always fertilize it every month with a liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength.
I do this with a spray bottle. I also water regularly with a spray bottle making sure to not move the plant as I do. It is good to let some water collect in the tank of the plant as this is where it will get its nutrients from.
Tips and Tricks for attaching a Bromeliad
- Cover the roots with some natural moss. It hides the attachments, and it makes it look a lot more natural. It also protects the roots a little bit. Use Spanish moss or sphagnum moss.
- If you are mounting on driftwood or another nonliving material, you can drill holes in it to loop the string or wire through to better secure the Bromeliad. It hides the mounting material as it prevents you from having to wrap it all the way around.
- Only secure a Bromeliad by the stem. If it won’t attach, then the Bromeliad is likely too big. You can try wrapping the twine or panty hose around the top of the plant but there is a good chance that the roots will not remain secure when you remove the attachment.
- Make sure your mounted Bromeliad gets a fair amount of light. I put mine in bright, indirect sunlight.
These versatile and hearty plants make decorative and interesting scenery They are great for hiding unsightly areas of the landscape and for being accents both to gardens and patios. With these simple tricks, you can have your very own Bromeliad garden in very little time.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.