The Neoregelia genus belongs to the bromeliad family and includes both epiphytic and terrestrial plants. In the wild, they thrive in the humid tropical forests of Eastern Colombia, Eastern Peru, Brazil, and even in the marshy areas of Ecuador.
This herbaceous, perennial, rosette-forming plant has strap-like, broadly linear leaves whose edges are either heavily serrated or have many small spikes. The center of the leaf rosette often displays a pale white or pale lavender hue.
The inner part of the leaf rosette or the leaf tips often turns a vivid red when the inflorescence appears. This emerges from the leaf axil in a panicle form. It’s teeming with flowers that nestle in the bract axils.
Here’s a brief guide on how to grow these plants:
- Temperature: You can keep the plant at 68 – 80.6°F (20 – 27°C) throughout the year.
- Lighting: The plant should be shielded from direct sunlight during the day. However, it’ll enjoy soaking in the sun for 3 – 4 hours every morning and evening.
- Watering and humidity: Regularly water directly into the center of the leaf rosette during spring and summer. As autumn approaches or during bud formation, allow the rosette to dry a little. These plants thrive in high humidity.
- Pruning: Perform sanitary pruning by removing old, dying leaves and wilted flowers.
- Soil: The plant prefers well-drained soil, rich in nutrients.
- Fertilizing: During spring and summer, feed the plant once a month with mineral fertilizers suitable for bromeliads. Apply the nutrient solution directly to the leaves of the Neoregelia.
- Propagation: Most commonly, propagation is done by separating the offshoot rosettes.
- Caring for Neoregelia at Home
- Types of Neoregelia with Photos and Names
Caring for Neoregelia at Home
Your plant will appreciate bright, diffused light. During the summer, you should shield it from direct sunlight.
Even in the winter, it needs plenty of light, so consider supplementing natural light with daylight lamps. Remember to air out the room regularly but avoid drafts.
Neoregelia grows and develops well in spring and summer at temperatures from 68 to 80.6°F (20 to 27°C).
I recommend placing the plant in a cooler location in winter, around 60.8°F (16°C). It can bloom much longer in these conditions, specifically for about six months.
Neoregelia needs high air humidity, not less than 60 percent. Therefore, it’s suggested to grow it in greenhouses or terrariums.
When keeping it indoors, place expanded clay into the tray and add a little water (make sure the pot bottom doesn’t touch the water). Regularly mist the plant. For hygienic purposes, wipe the leaves with a damp cloth.
When the temperature falls below 50°F (10°C), water your plants generously once a week in the morning to enhance their cold resistance and prevent leggy growth. Ensure you don’t store water in the tank part of your plants.
To avoid temperatures dropping below 50°F (10°C), bring them indoors or keep them warm in a greenhouse using a fan heater or similar heating device. If you’re using heating appliances, please be careful of fire hazards.
Regardless of the type of Neoregelia plant you’re caring for, it’s ideal to keep them hydrated for 2-3 hours and ensure a steady supply of water stored in their tanks.
During seasons when the lowest temperature is above 50°F (10°C), water your Neoregelia every day or every 2-3 days, ideally in the cooler evening to nighttime hours.
Outdoors, there’s no concern about plants getting too stuffy, so you don’t need to turn them upside down after watering. If it rained in the morning, you can skip watering that day.
In seasons when the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C), it’s best to water your plants once a week in the morning.
If you water them in the evening or night when the temperature drops, they might freeze and wilt in the worst-case scenario.
When the lowest temperature is above 50°F (10°C), water your Neoregelia every 2-3 days. After watering, avoid placing them in poorly ventilated areas to prevent rot and wilting.
Turn the plant upside down to drain the water from the tank, and use a fan or air circulator to blow air on them.
In seasons when the temperature falls below 50°F (10°C), water them once a week in the morning to enhance their cold resistance and prevent leggy growth.
Like with outdoor plants, watering them in the evening or at night when the temperature drops might result in freezing and, at worst, wilting.
If the room gets dry in the winter and the humidity drastically drops, use a humidifier to prevent excessive drying or use a mist sprayer to increase the humidity around the Neoregelia area.
Feed the plant from May to September once every three or four weeks. Use a bromeliad fertilizer dissolved in water, then water the plant with this mixture.
7- Transplanting Neoregelia:
Only repot when necessary, ensuring the plant’s neck isn’t buried in the loose soil. For terrestrial species, a suitable mixture consists of compost, leaf soil, sand, and peat in a ratio of 1:2:0.5:1.
Epiphytic plants need a mixture containing sphagnum moss, pine bark, compost, leaf soil, and peat (proportion 1:3:0.5:1:1). The drainage layer of pebbles should fill about a third of the pot.
8- Propagating Neoregelia
You can propagate Neoregelia using seeds or offshoots called “pups.” After the plant finishes blooming, a wealth of these pups will emerge. When the pup has 3 or 4 leaves, you can separate it and place it in a separate pot.
Then, keep it warm between 77 and 82 °F (25-28 °C). Cover the pot with a plastic bag or glass and ensure you ventilate the soil daily. As the young plants grow stronger, they gradually become accustomed to the same care as the adult plants.
Before sowing, immerse the seeds in a weak solution of potassium permanganate and then let them dry for a while.
Sow the seeds on finely ground sphagnum moss, then cover them with glass and place them in a warm spot (77 °F or 25 °C). Mist and ventilate them daily.
They should germinate in about 2 or 3 weeks. Once the seedlings are 2-3 months old, transplant them into individual pots using bromeliad soil. Expect the Neoregelia to bloom for the first time when it’s about 3-4 years old.
The plant can be invaded by pests such as mealybugs, aphids, scale insects, or spider mites.
When infested with bromeliad scale, the pests can be seen on both sides of the leaves, which turn yellow and drop.
You can fight this off with the application of neem oil. You can spray this solution on the plant or use a sponge to wipe down the leaves.
If the plant is infected with mealybugs, the leaves will suffer. These bugs leave sugary secretions on which sooty mold then forms.
The plant’s growth slows down, the leaves turn yellow, and the plant gradually dies. To combat these pests, you can use rubbing alcohol or dish soap. Apply it to a cloth and wipe down the entire plant.
Red spider mites can settle on both sides of the leaf. They wrap the leaf in their web, and it turns yellow and falls off. To eliminate this pest, wipe the leaves with soapy water.
Aphids can settle on the outer part of the leaves and suck their sap. The leaves turn yellow and drop off.
To get rid of aphids, treat the plant with a solution of neem oil and insecticidal soap with 1 gallon of water.
The plant can be affected by fusarium, a fungus that causes the bottom part of the plant to rot, leading to its death. This usually happens due to overwatering.
Types of Neoregelia with Photos and Names
This perennial epiphytic plant has a broad, funnel-shaped rosette of leaves that can reach up to 16-20 inches (40-50 cm) in diameter.
The shiny, bright green leaves are tongue-shaped with a pointed tip and have numerous spines along their edges.
Before the plant begins to bloom, the top part of the leaf rosette acquires a deep red hue. The simple, many-flowered, head-like inflorescence is deep in the leaf rosette.
The elongated white-green bracts are either pointed or rounded. They can be bare or covered with numerous scales.
The flowers, about 1.6 inches (4 cm) long, are colored a light lavender. The slightly fused, greenish sepals are round with a pointed tip. Some varieties have longitudinal stripes in pink, white, or green.
2- Neoregelia Marmorata
This terrestrial perennial plant has a broad, dense, funnel-shaped rosette of leaves. The strap-like leaves can grow up to 24 inches (60 cm) long, with pointed tips and broadly serrated edges.
They’re covered with numerous light scales and have a green color with reddish spots.
The simple, many-flowered, head-like inflorescence is deep within the leaf rosette. The linear bracts are half as long as the sepals and are slightly pointed. The flowers, about 1.5 inch (4 cm) long, are pinkish or white in color.
3- Neoregelia Tristis
This is another perennial epiphytic plant. The narrow leaf rosette, consisting of 10-12 leaves, has a funnel shape.
The green, tongue-shaped leaves can reach 24 inches (60 cm) long, with round ends and a short sharp tip.
The front side is bare, while the back side – having dark wide stripes – is covered with small, light, dense scales.
The inflorescence immersed deep in the leaf rosette is head-like and many-flowered. The elongated, thin-film bracts are colored dark red and have rounded and slightly pointed ends.
Their edges are entire and half the length of the sepals. The bare sepals have an asymmetric shape. They are fused at the base and are about an inch (2 cm) long.
The petals of the flowers are narrow, and their tips are pointed; at the top, they are colored bluish. The petals are fused with the stamens.
4- Neoregelia Spectabilis
This is an epiphytic perennial plant boasting a fairly wide rosette of leaves. Its tongue-shaped leaflets are strongly recurved, reaching a length of about 16 inches (40 centimeters).
The underside of the leaves flaunts a red-green color with gray stripes of scales, while the front side is green with a vibrant red spot at the top.
Its capitate inflorescence is deeply embedded in the leaf rosette. The elliptical bracts have a pointed tip and are almost the same length as the sepals. The top of these bracts are covered with brown scales that are markedly curved.
The small flowers, placed on pedicels, can reach a length of 1.5 to 2 inches (4 to 5 centimeters).
The elliptical sepals, asymmetrically shaped and slightly fused at the base, are covered with brownish-red fuzz. The cute blue flowers have recurved petals of a tongue-like shape.
5- Neoregelia Pauciflora
This epiphyte is a perennial plant. It has a narrow leaf rosette of a funnel-like shape. The tongue-shaped leaflets have a rounded top with a pointed tip.
Their fine serrated edges are covered with millimeter-long spikes of a dark shade. The leaf surface has many small scales, and the front side displays wavy whitish stripes.
The inflorescence, located on a short flower stem, has a spindle-shaped form and is few-flowered. The oval thin-bracted involucres with pointed edges are shorter than the pedicels.
The narrow-lanceolate sepals with a pointed tip, asymmetrically shaped, are slightly fused at the base. They can reach a length of about an inch (2 centimeters).
The long petals, approximately 2 inches (5 centimeters) long, are colored white.
6- Neoregelia Sarmentosa
This terrestrial plant is a perennial with a thin, dense, funnel-shaped leaf rosette. And, on its elongated stems, you’ll find stolons (offshoots or daughter rosettes).
Its tongue-shaped leaflets have a rounded top with a pointed tip. The edges of these leaflets are finely serrated, colored green, with a small red spot on the upper part. The back of the leaves is dark green, densely covered with tiny light scales.
This plant has a many-flowered inflorescence. Entire-margined, thin-bracted involucres have a round-elongated shape. They are colored in a light shade, with their top a vibrant raspberry color. A layer of scales sits on their surface.
The flowers, placed on pedicels, reach a length of an inch (2-3 centimeters). The naked, green sepals are round and slightly fused at the asymmetric base. Partially fused petals of bluish or white hue have pointed tips.
7- Neoregelia Ampullacea
This epiphyte is a perennial with an incredibly dense leaf rosette. The recurved, linear leaflets are colored green and feature narrow red stripes and tiny brown scales. They have pointed tips and broad-serrated edges.
The few-flowered inflorescence is deeply seated in the leaf rosette. Entire-margined, thin-bracted involucres have an elongated shape with pointed tips. They are larger than the sepals.
The pointed, narrow-lanceolate sepals are colored green with a white edge and are slightly fused at the base. The petals are also slightly fused at the base, with blue edges and a pointed top.
8- Neoregelia Cyanea
This perennial epiphyte has a narrow, dense leaf rosette with many leaflets. The leathery pointed leaflets of a tongue-like shape are either broadly serrated or entire-margined. They are monochromatic, with many whitish scales on the underside.
The many-flowered inflorescence sits deep within the leaf rosette. The dense linear bracts are blunt-ended and the same size as the sepals.
The naked, broad-pointed sepals, slightly fused at the base, are asymmetric. The short-fused lanceolate petals are either bluish or red.
9- Neoregelia Tigrina, or the Tiger Neoregelia
This perennial epiphyte boasts a round, dense leaf rosette. Its tongue-shaped leaflets feature rounded tops with sharp tips; you’ll find short brownish spines along the edges.
The leaves showcase a greenish-yellow color, adorned with irregularly shaped brown stripes. At the base, they’re dusted with tiny scales.
The inflorescence is many-flowered and simple. Thin-bracted involucres of a spade-like shape have pointed tips and red tops and are asymmetric in their structure.
The leathery, naked light-green sepals have an oval shape with a pointed tip. They’re fused at the base, and their tops display charming red spots. The petals are fused into a tube at the base, exhibiting a lovely light-violet color.