How To Cut A Bromeliad Flower Turning Brown

What do you do when the bromeliad flower on your plant begins to fade and die?

Question: My Guzmania bromeliad plant is done blooming. How should I care for it? Patricia, Georgia

Answer: Patricia, a few months have probably past since you got your Guzmania bromeliad.

The “flower” I’m sure was beautiful and added color in the right spot. Indoors, I get about 4, sometimes 5 months of color out of my guzmanias. It is one reason I like the giant tropical bromeliads for indoor color.

fading flower of a guzmania bromeliad

Your timing is perfect as I have a guzmania just about ready to “remove” its bloom.

Is your bromeliad flower turning brown?

You’ve held on as long as you could and now, the flower is fading. In fact, it is getting ugly and some of the tips of the foliage could be starting to turn brown. So let’s answer your question: “The guzmania bloom is gone, what do I do now with the plant?”

Let’s first add some additional Questions You Need Answers To:

  • Do I Cut The Flower Off?
  • Will The Bromeliad Die
  • Will The Bromeliad Bloom Again?

Do I Cut The Bromeliad Flower Off

The answer is Yes. The plant has finished its course and no matter what you try:

  • Moving the plant to bright light or a location with high humidity
  • Applying liquid fertilizer
  • Repotting in a well-drained soil
  • Placing the plant where it receives better air circulation

… you are not going to be able to make the flower spike “hang on.” The bromeliad varieties we specifically are focused on are the “tank bromeliads” –  Aechmeas, Guzmanias and Vrieseas.

This is one part of bromeliad house plant care which makes people nervous!

Take a sharp knife or a pair of your favorite pruning shears – we like these –  and cut off the bloom or flower stalk as far down as you can in the central cup. You may not have any color but you can keep growing your bromeliad plant.

guzmania-flower-exposed

Leaves and flower removed from the plant, allows the new “pups” to develop on the mother plant.

guzmania-flower-removed

With the flower spike removed along with some of the leaves the rosette of this “urn plant” looks rather deformed and ugly but be patient! This allows the new pups to develop.

Will The Bromeliad Die: Bromeliads Plants Care

Make no changes to your bromeliad care. Keep growing your bromeliad plant just as you have in the past. It probably is a good time to give the leaves a cleaning with some clean water and a soft cloth.

guzmania-new-pup

The plant over time will begin to put out new plants or what we call “pups” from the base. These pups should remain on the mother plant until they reach approximately 1/3 the size of the parent – I like to leave mine longer.

Now is also a good time to move the plant into some brighter light if possible.

Video: How To Harvest Bromeliad Pups

Video: How To Plant Bromeliad Pups

Will The Bromeliad Bloom Again?

The plant will never bloom again for the original plant. The new “pups” will grow up and they can flower if given enough care and light. They plant in the pictures bloomed once on the original and twice from pups. The plant and its roots are still in the same soil – 3 years later.

Remember, most of the bromeliads produced today never grow to their full size. When the plants reach about 3/4 their full size they are “treated” or forced to flower and shipped out.

The treating is simply a gas such as ethylene (which is given off by ripening fruit) that will force the plant to induce a bloom.

In the Bromeliad family, you will find many wonderful plants for indoor use that can add color to any interior. Sooner or later as B.B. King sang “The Thrill is Gone” and the bromeliad flowers must go, but the plants can still live on and provide you with indoor green.

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