How to care for a bromeliad after it blooms

Bromeliads often have both striking foliage as well as flowers. However, a bromeliad will only bloom once throughout its lifespan. Though that seems like a bummer, especially if you bought the bromeliad for its blooms, the flowers actually last for a good portion of time—generally 3 to 6 months. Plus, once it's finished blooming, it signals that its "pups"—or little bromeliad suckers—are on their way.

Once the flower finishes blooming, you'll want to remove them. This tells the bromeliad to begin focusing more energy on its pups. My Aechmea below had finished blooming come late October, but I hadn't removed its flowers until December. Still, there are new pups being produced by the bromeliad. You'll still want to water the bromeliad, as you had previously. I give it filtered water in its central cup and also along the edges in the soil. My plant seems to be growing well, just set slightly back from a south-facing window. I've learned that the bromeliads with stiffer, thicker leaves prefer brighter light conditions whereas the softer leaf varieties can tolerate some more dappled-light conditions.

My Aechmea sp. bromeliad began blooming in July and started to wane in late October. 

My Aechmea sp. bromeliad began blooming in July and started to wane in late October. 

A look at the bromeliad come December. The blooms were clearly past their prime and ready for snipping. You can see the leaves are still going strong, but post-bloom means that my bromeliad is nearing the end of its life.

A look at the bromeliad come December. The blooms were clearly past their prime and ready for snipping. You can see the leaves are still going strong, but post-bloom means that my bromeliad is nearing the end of its life.

Take a pair of sharp scissors or shears and snip the flower head as close to the base of the stem as possible. 

Take a pair of sharp scissors or shears and snip the flower head as close to the base of the stem as possible. 

By now you should see some pups developing, which basically look like little miniature versions of your original plant. I'll be keeping my pups on the parent plant until they are between 1/3 - 1/2 the size of the original plant or when the bromeliad starts to die back. I actually don't know how long it will take for my bromeliad to truly die back, but I'd imagine it would be at least two years—maybe up to four. I'll keep you posted! 🌿