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Why Do Bromeliads Not Need Soil to Grow? (Complete Guide)

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Bromeliads are interesting plants because they bloom once a year and they are quite easy to take care of. 

You might be wondering if they even require soil to grow or if they are able to grow on different mediums which is why it is important to look further into it to take better care of your plant. 

Why do bromeliads not need soil to grow?

Bromeliads do not have any complex rooting system and their lifespan is quite short too. They do not have many requirements from soil hence why soil is not necessary for their growth. There are other ways to stimulate growth such as growing them on trees.

Bromeliads are capable of growing on a variety of different objects meaning they do not always require soil. Only some bromeliads require soil for growth. 

Simple root system:

Some plants have a complex root system that requires them to have active roots to require all their nutrients and minerals. bromeliads, however, do not have such a complex system. 

This is why they are not heavily reliant on the soil to extract the nutrients and minerals from their respective roots. 


Amongst all the bromeliads that exist, most of them are known as epiphytes. This ultimately means that they are capable of growing on things that are made of actual wood or trees. This also means that they do not require soil to grow at all. 

They only use the roots to settle themselves well on the trees or pieces of the wood stump so that they can grow properly on it. 

Leaves play a vital function:

If roots do not play a complex role in bromeliads then there has to be something else filling in the spot for it. For bromeliads, it is their leaves that play an important role. 

The minerals, water, and nutrients needed are taken in through their leaves and distributed to the rest of the plant. They have a small cup-like structure made by the leaves in the center which stores in the water for them.  

Do bromeliads need soil to grow?

For most bromeliads, the soil is not a requirement. However, do keep in mind that it is easier to grow the plant with soil as you constantly will not have to worry if the plant is getting enough water, nutrients, and minerals. 

Growing them without soil requires extra effort but it is not very difficult if you are able to do it correctly. 

Can bromeliads grow without soil?

Yes, it is possible for most bromeliads to grow without soil. They are epiphytes meaning they do not have a very complex soil system and can grow on wood. 

You just have to ensure that you are providing them with all the right nutrients, minerals, and water that is needed for them to thrive and grow properly. They absorb these through their leaves and distribute them throughout the plant which helps them grow. 

The roots are present to anchor them and settle them properly onto the wood so the soil is not really necessary for growth as long as you are taking proper care of your plant and providing ideal conditions. 

Do you plant bromeliads in soil?

Most bromeliads end up planting in soil because it is easier to take care of. Not only is it easier to track their nutrient and mineral measurements, but it is also easier to track their water intake. As a result, it is better, in the long run, to take care of them. 

However, it is not necessary as you can also grow bromeliads on trees. Their roots are strong enough to anchor on trees or wooden stumps and their leaves take in the necessary nutrients and water needed for the plant. 

It is a bit difficult to move around which you will have to keep in mind. 

If you do not want to put in too much effort you can also plant bromeliads in containers. You just have to ensure that the pot has a very good drainage system and is not too large in size. You will also require soil that is well-drained but is also able to retain some moisture. 

Where does bromeliad grow?

You can grow your bromeliad on wood or soil whichever one is more suitable for you. 


Arguably this is the best place to grow bromeliads because they are native to a tropical environment and growing on trees. 

Their roots are capable of keeping them steady on a tree from where they can extract their nutrients and minerals through their leaves to help them thrive. 


This can include wood stumps or wood slabs where they are also quite capable of growing. It is a little more difficult than growing your bromeliad on trees as you will have to put in more effort to ensure that they are getting enough nutrients and minerals. 

You can also hang your bromeliads as it is a very popular way of growing them. 


There are also bromeliads present that are capable of growing on rocks. They anchor their roots to the rock and have small hairs present on their leaves through which they are able to collect water and nutrients from the surrounding hair and grow. 

Containers or Pots:

This is the most common way of growing bromeliads and the easiest to. These are easier to move around and you can detect any changes your plant is going through more easily. This will also help you cater better to your plant. 

You will need to have a pot with very good drainage as well as well-drained soil that can remain moist. Bromeliads cannot stand too much water. 

Can bromeliads grow on rocks?

There are some types of bromeliads that can indeed grow on rocks. These are known as saxicolous bromeliads and they also use their leaves to absorb water and nutrients. 

They have small hairs known as trichomes that allow them to collect the water and all the required nutrients from the air around them.

Do bromeliads like acidic soil?

Yes, bromeliads actually thrive in acidic soil. They are native to tropical climates and acidic soil is one of the factors that really allow them to thrive. You must ensure that the soil is not way too acidic as it can end up harming them. 

They work the best if you provide them with a well-drained light and slightly acidic soil. The soil must also be able to retain some moisture. 

Do bromeliads like coffee grounds?

Coffee grounds do not really help bromeliads as much as actual fertilizer would. However, coffee grounds are great to help keep away ants, slugs, and snails from your plant. 

These little pests can end up harming the beautiful leaves of your plant therefore some amounts of coffee grounds can be used as great preventative measures as long as the soil is not clogging your drainage pot and soil. 

Also, keep in mind to not use it as a fertilizer because coffee grounds are not as effective as one. 

Best soil for bromeliads?

Bromeliads thrive in soil that is quick draining because waterlogged soil can cause too much stress to your plant. They also require soil that retains some moisture and does not dry out way too quickly. They also thrive in soil that is slightly acidic so the pH level should be around five.

The most common soil used for bromeliads orchid mixes and sometimes even charcoal is also used. 

How much soil do bromeliads need?

It depends completely on the size of your bromeliad. You should not use a pot or container that is way too big for your bromeliad. 

It should not be slightly bigger than your plant and you must ensure that it has a very good drainage system so that the excess water is able to leave the system quickly. After finding the right potting mix you are supposed to fill one-third of the pot and then plant your bromeliad in. 

Where is the best place to plant bromeliads?

Bromeliads are best to plant inside a pot or container as it is easier to move around and take better care of. You must be sure to provide the ideal conditions for a bromeliad and that includes giving it bright filtered sunlight. 

It must also have 60% of humidity levels around it and a fairly warm environment. Keeping it inside a pot makes it easier to detect any changes in your plant and accordingly take care of its needs. It is also far easier to keep track of its water and nutrient demands. 

Final Thoughts:

Growing bromeliads in the soil might make it easier to take care of it, you can also grow it on trees as it mimics their natural growing conditions. As long as you are able to provide it with sufficient sunlight, water, and humidity levels it will do just well whether in a pot or on a piece of wood.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Long Can Bromeliads Live?

Can Bromeliads Grow in Sun or Shade?

How Do Bromeliads Survive in the Rainforest?

Will Deer Eat Bromeliad?

Why Is My Bromeliad Losing Color?

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