A bromeliad (Bromeliaceae) is one of the few plants that usually bloom once. If it fades, the bromeliad will dry up and die. It cannot be saved and cutting off the flower does not prolong life either. With the right measures, however, a new copy can emerge from it, provided you act quickly. You can read about what these are below.

Cut off faded flowers?

When bromeliads begin to wilt, many home gardeners and plant lovers believe they can prolong the life of the plant by cutting off the flowers. Sounds logical, because many plants supply even withered flowers with energy and nutrients that are then lacking elsewhere – not so with a Bromeliaceae. On the contrary, because only as long as the withered flower is still there is there a chance of a child (offshoot) growing. This allows a new plant to be brought to life when the existing one is about to die.

Some also believe that if you remove the faded flower, you can get a bromeliad to bloom a second time. This is not correct either. Cutting the flower does not favor this. Therefore: do not reach for the scissors and cut off the flowers directly when the bromeliad has faded, but use them for propagation.

From wilting flowers

Once the wilting of Bromeliaceae flowers is in an advanced stage, small offshoots will form at the base of the plant. Cutting off the withered flower would stop development immediately. Since this is not wanted in the case of a desired propagation, the withered flower remains on the plant until the offshoot has grown to about half the size of the mother plant. This takes about two to four weeks. During this time, the pineapple plant requires careful care.

Water and fertilize

The bromeliad still needs enough water after it has withered , so that it can easily supply the growing offshoot. Watering is done after wilting has started – at the latest when the offshoot can be seen. The irrigation water is supplied to the plant exclusively via the calyx. The soil can be kept minimally moist. Spraying is more advisable here than watering. Lime-free water is to be used and this should be at room temperature. It should be refilled as soon as the water level in the cup has dropped.

Fertilize in the usual rhythm, as before and during flowering.

detach offshoots

If the offshoot is at least ten centimeters long, has a strong rosette of leaves and has its own roots, you can separate it from the mother plant. To do this, use a sharp knife that has been disinfected beforehand so that no bacteria, viruses or other harmful pathogens are transmitted.

Tip: It is advisable to wear gloves when separating the child/an offshoot. While the plant is not poisonous, it has prickly leaf edges that can cause painful and inflammatory injuries.

After the separation of children

If you have successfully separated an offshoot from the mother plant, you can cut off the withered flower of the Bromeliaceae. In some cases, with proper care, the leaves will remain green for a few weeks before the whole plant dies. If individual leaves turn brown, they should be plucked off rather than cut off. Plucking it off is relatively easy if you wait until the leaf has easily detached itself from the stalk.

Plant offshoots

It is best to prepare a planter for the offshoot before separating the children. The following is required and done for this:

  • Use lime-free soil
  • Special bromeliad substrate or alternatively orchid soil is ideal
  • Fill soil/substrate into a suitable planter
  • Plant cuttings in the ground so that the roots are well covered
  • Pour over the funnel and only lightly wet the soil
  • Place in a warm, bright spot out of direct sunlight and/or hot midday sun
  • Do not fertilize in the first year of life
  • From the second year of life care like an adult plant
Tip: A young Bromeliaceae can take a long time to flower. A little trick can ideally ensure flowering after just a few months: after planting the offshoot, place a well-ripened apple directly on the offshoot for three weeks and cover the plant with a translucent film.

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