I get lots of questions about bromeliads both here and on Youtube because they’re such a popular blooming houseplant. Neoregelias (my favorites) are grown for their foliage but the other types are grown for their colorful flower spikes. Are you confused about when and how to prune off bromeliad flowers? Well then, please let me answer some questions for you.
When I worked in the interior plantscaping trade many moons ago we installed lots of different bromeliads into offices, building lobbies, malls and stores as rotational blooming plants. They are not only colorful but tough, long lasting and simple to maintain. I’ve done many posts and videos about bromeliad care but this one is specifically done in regards to how and when to cut the flower spikes off.
Yes, it’s the whole spike you’ll be pruning all the way off. The flowers themselves are small, white and appear off the spike. I bought a Guzmania Clare at The Plant Stand in Phoenix this past summer when I was driving from Flagstaff back to Tucson. The flower was pink for a couple of months and started to fade in October. You’ll see more of it in the video towards the end of this post.
It’s now the beginning of February and this bromeliad still holds a spot in the master bath. The spike has faded to greenish/pink (which you can see in the lead photo) and many of the tips are browning. The way it looks doesn’t bother me at all and that’s the point of this post.
You may feel differently above the faded spike and that’s the point of this post. I’m going to answer all the questions I’ve gotten regarding this below. I’m referring to the flower spike as the “flower” because that’s what most people think of it as and call it.
I didn’t take a picture of my Guzmania Claire in its hey day because I wasn’t planning on doing this post. Here you can see 2 of them – 1 is at the left front & the other towards the middle. This was before their flowers had stated to appear.
Note: These questions below pertain to all bromeliad types (aechmeas, tillandsia cyanea, vrieseas & neoregelias) not only the guzmania I’m referencing here.
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How long does a bromeliad flower last?
It depends on few factors: how open the flowers are when you buy the plant, how warm your home is & how bright your home is. In general bromeliad flower spikes look good for about 2 months before starting to fade.
How can I make my bromeliad flower last longer?
Buy a healthy plant & make sure the flowers aren’t fully open. Look carefully at the flower spike to determine this. I try & find a bromeliad with the flowers not yet or with just a few showing. Also, make sure your bromeliad is in a spot with bright, natural light so those flowers can open & the plant can stay looking good.
Why is my bromeliad flower changing color?
The flower stalk changes color (mine went from pink to greenish/pink) when it’s starting to die out. The actual flowers will die long before the stalk does.
Why is my bromeliad flower turning brown?
The bromeliad flower turns brown when the plant is in the advance stages of dying out. The tips of my Guzmania flower spike are turning brown but eventually the whole thing will follow suit.
Will my bromeliad flower again? How many times will it flower again?
No, your bromeliad (the mother plant) will never flower again. You’ll see pups (baby plants) appearing off the base of the mother plant & those will eventually flower if the environmental conditions are suitable.
Spots have appeared on a couple of the leaves of my Guzmania. This is part of dying out process too. Overall, my plant still looks good.
When do bromeliad flowers die?
The flower spikes start to die when the plant is starting to die.
When do I cut my bromeliad flower off?
This question & the one below are the meat of this post. When you cut the flower off depends on your taste. If the stalk changing color bothers you, then cut if off. I’m leaving mine on for as long as I can because that & a few brown tips don’t bug me at all.
How & where do I prune off my bromeliad flower?
You want to prune the whole stalk off as far into the cup as you can because this looks the best. You’ll see me illustrating this in the video below. Only the flower head could be cut off but that would look funny. The cup, urn or vase is the central part of the bromeliad from which the flower stalk forms & grows out off. It’s best to use pruners but scissors will do if you don’t have pruners. Just make sure your cutting tool is clean & sharp.
Will my plant last longer if I leave the flower stalk on until the very end?
No, I haven’t found that to be true. The plant is going to die either way. I’ve had bromeliads whose flower stalks have browned much faster than the Guzmania Claire I have now & I’ve cut them off after 2-3 months.
How do I care for my bromeliad after blooming?
You care for it the same way as when it’s flowering. I’ve done lots of posts on caring for & growing bromeliads which will help you out. If you’re aiming to grow those pups which have appeared off the base, then you’ll want to check them out.
Will my bromeliad die after it blooms?
Yes it will; it’s part of the life cycle of a bromeliad.
You’ll see more of my bromeliad & its flower stalk & pups here:
It doesn’t matter at what phase of the flower stalk dying out that you cut it off. I knew someone who would lightly spray paint the flower head to get the most bang for his buck. If you want to do that too, then go ahead. The plant is dying out and the pups will be just fine.
Either way, Bromeliad flowers are long lasting and I’ll be buying them for years to come. I just can’t resist!
You may also enjoy:
- Bromeliads 101
- How I Water My Bromeliads Plants Indoors
- Vriesea Plant Care Tips
- Aechmea Plant Care Tips
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Karen Torrance says
Your post on Bromeliads was perfect timing! My sister has just given me one and I knew nothing about them, until now. Thank you.
Nell Foster says
Oh great Karen! I’ve done lots of posts on bromeliads so be sure to check out the others. Nell