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How Do Bromeliads Survive in the Rainforest? (Explained)

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Bromeliads are found in over 2,700 species. The pineapple is among the most well-known bromeliads. Bromeliads are usually orange, red, blue, or purple and may grow in a variety of ways: terrestrial (on the ground); saxicolous (on rocks); or epiphytic (on other plants and trees).

Bromeliads are indigenous to the Neotropical region. One species, which is believed to have been inadvertently transported into western Africa, is currently thriving there. So let’s find out how bromeliads survive in the rainforest.

How do bromeliads survive in the rainforest?

Bromeliads are tropical plants that are accustomed to the rainforest ecosystem. Certain bromeliads are vibrant epiphytes that grow on the branches and trunks of rainforest trees and they have an ingenious method of obtaining water and food which allows them to survive in the rainforest.

Bromeliads have adapted to the tropical rainforest by changing their roots, leaves, and the way they function. Every species on this earth when taken to harsh environments either adapt or get lost in the mix.

In the case of the bromeliads they’ve managed to adapt to the ecosystem and quite frankly they are starting to thrive.

Their dense, wax-like leaves create a cup shape in the center, which serves as a catchment area for rainfall. Several liters of water may be held by certain bromeliads, which act as tiny ecosystems in their own right.

Providing homes for a variety of animals such as frogs and their larvae, salamanders, and their tadpoles, beetles, and mosquito larvae, among others.

 Those that perish disintegrate and provide nutrients to the plant in their place. A bromeliad was discovered to be home to numerous tiny beetles, crane flies, earwigs, a frog, spiders, a millipede, a scorpion, fly larvae, woodlice, and an earthworm, among other creatures

Numerous flora in the Congo rain forest, such as the Bromeliads, have evolved to have bent leaves that enable them to absorb water. Bromeliads feature rigid, long leaves that serve as a water conduit, collecting raindrops and supplying nutrients to the plant.

 Leaves and other things fall into the Bromeliads’ leaf channels, assisting algae and other creatures in their growth, which in turn assists insects and other species in their feeding. Bromeliads act as their habitat since they are home to creatures such as tree frogs. 

Where do bromeliads live?

Bromeliads live in Central and South America, the Caribbean, and West Africa.

They are a kind of orchid. They may be found growing in deserts, mountains, and woodland environments. The pineapple is the most well-known species of bromeliad, yet it is just one of more than 3000 distinct kinds that exist.

The tropical region is home to a variety of bromeliads. To be even more precise the bromeliads live in tropical rainforests of Central America namely the Amazon rainforest. This plant is also found in the Congo rainforest.

Apart from the wild bromeliads with adaptation, they have been introduced as indoor plants almost all over the world. So, now they are living in almost every continent.

Where do bromeliads grow in the rainforest?

Bromeliads grow in the canopy layer of the rainforest. The thick leaves and the structure of the bromeliads allow them to position themselves in the rainforest canopy.

The canopy layer contains about 90 percent of the overall of all tropical rainforest life. Plants in the canopy layer create a cover of leaves and plant matter that spans the top of the layer.

Because the emergent layer blocks the majority of light, the canopy layer is densely packed with plants frantically attempting to reach the light that seeps down, resulting in branches covered with flowers, branches, plants, and other creatures.

Bromeliads are an epiphyte species. They spend their entire lives inside the rainforest canopy, never touching the earth with their roots. These waxy, thick-leaved cousins of the pineapple have a bowl shape.

Bromeliads save water and often provide a habitat for aquatic and semi-aquatic canopy animals such as salamanders, frogs, mosquitoes, snails, mosquito larvae, and beetles.

Where do bromeliads grow best?

Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, bromeliads thrive in bright, indirect light. Avoid placing them in an area where the afternoon light will shine directly on their leaves. The direct light can cause them to burn, but also avoid placing them in a dark corner.

 Bromeliads that get insufficient light will develop floppy, long, green leaves that lack their signature color. But if you see the leaves become floppy and lose color, simply move them to the lighted area to increase their exposure to light and the color will return.

Once nighttime temperatures in your region regularly exceed 60 degrees, it is safe to transfer an indoor bromeliad outside for the summer.

Keep them in a covered, protected location for a few days—this is referred to as “hardening off” and will assist the plants in adjusting to their new habitat.

You may then relocate them farther away from the home after a few days.

Types of bromeliads in the tropical rainforest: 

All Bromeliad species are classified asBromelioideae, Tillandsioideae,or Pitcairnioideae. These are the main three subgroups of the bromeliads.


Tillandsioideae is a subfamily of the Bromeliaceae bromeliad family. This subfamily includes the most species (1,277).

The majority are epiphytic or lithophytic, growing in trees or on rocks and absorbing water and nutrients from the surrounding environment.

Spanish moss is a well-known variant of the Tillandsia genus. Guzmania and Vriesea bromeliads are the most frequently grown representatives of this subfamily.


Bromeliaceae is a flowering plant family (order Poales) with over 3,000 species divided into 56 genera. Except for one species, all are indigenous to the tropical New World and West Indies.

The Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) and edible pineapple fruit (Ananas comosus) are the family’s primary commercial products.

But the fibrous leaves of certain species (e.g., Aechmea magdalenae and Neoglaziovia Variegata) are used in some areas to make rope, fabric, and netting.


This subfamily, which is found in dry and high-altitude areas, is believed to have the most ancient ancestry, matching grassy cousins more closely than the exotic novelties represented in the other two subfamilies.

They are found in tropical climates where deciduous forests are in abundance.

Why do bromeliads live in the rainforest? 

The entirety of the rainforests has such characteristics that make it an ideal place for the bromeliads to live. Let’s find out the details.

Air plants:

Epiphytic bromeliads can absorb nutrients and atmospheric moisture, thus they are often referred to as “air plants.” Hundreds of these plants may grow on tropical branches, which sometimes cause the branches to fall.


Bromeliads prefer hot and humid weather for their growth. Normally in tropical rainforests temperature always stays above 20 degrees Celsius. Plus the climate stays almost the same as there are no distinctive seasons in this part of the world.


In the tropical rainforests, annually almost 2000 mm of rainfall is recorded over the years. This shows a balanced environment for the bromeliads to thrive in. The water seeps through the canopy and allows the plants to absorb and continue their photosynthesis.


The diverse ecosystem of the rainforest houses a multitude of flora and fauna. Bromeliads growing on the tree branches have a symbiotic relationship with their surrounding environment.

Why are bromeliads important to the rainforest? 

The following reasons made bromeliads important to the rainforest –


All Bromeliads contain trichrome, which are very tiny scales that aid the plant in trapping and absorbing water. While the plant matures, new leaves continue to sprout from the plant’s core.


Before the end comes, pups, or young offtips, are formed. These pups feed on the parent plant until they reach the size necessary to develop their roots. They, too, will eventually develop and bloom.

Enhances the biodiversity:

Bromeliads have a diverse range of plant types ranging in size from tiny to gigantic. All Bromeliad species are classified as Tillandsioideae, Bromelioideae, or Pitcairnioideae. These subfamilies are further divided into hundreds of genus.

Builds canopy:

Bromeliad roots do not grow in the earth. Rather than that, they grow on the surface of objects such as trees and rocks and creates a canopy for the rainforest.

Food for animals:

Due to the form of their leaves, the majority of Bromeliads can withstand significant rains. Due to the continuous wetness, algae develop in a food chain, forming a tiny self-contained ecosystem.

Tree frogs, worms, snails, and other small invertebrates often spend their whole lives in Bromeliads.

Are bromeliads found in the Amazon rainforest?

Bromeliads can be found in the Amazon rainforest among all the other rainforests located in the tropical region of the earth.

What animals eat bromeliads in the rainforest? 

Arthropod herbivores including tree frogs, snails, worms, and other invertebrates eat leaves, stems, flowers, pollen, and roots. Certain herbivores consume nectar, and some of these and other arthropods pollinate and disperse seeds.

Final Thoughts:

To sum it up, Bromeliads have adopted in a way that it not only survives in rainforests, it also thrives. Some bromeliads are vibrant epiphytes growing on rainforest trees’ branches and trunks, and they have an ingenious way to get water and food which allows them to survive in the rainforest.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Long Does a Bromeliad Flower Last?

Do Bromeliads Live After Flowering? Do They Rebloom?

Do Bromeliads Like Humidity?

How Long Can Bromeliads Live?

Why Do Bromeliads Not Need Soil to Grow?

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