Information & resources about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld



Family: Bromeliaceae

Bromeliads provide interesting foliage form and colour and/or flowers. Some types make dramatic accent plants, others are more suitable for massing planting. Wide variety on the market, some nurseries specialise in them.

Even though bromeliads originate in the Americas, they can be used very effectively in the "Balinese" garden styles, as well as tropical gardens more generally.

Epiphytic origins mean most broms require very little, if any, soil. This makes them great for many difficult situations, particularly the heavy root competition under trees. They can essentially live in the mulch without having to compete with tree roots.

They're also useful on and around shaded patios, in courtyards or other small garden areas. If there's no space of the ground, grow them in containers or actually as epiphytes on trees. They would be candidates for vertical gardens.

Bromeliads require very little water. Supplement in dry periods with light watering.

Most bromeliads prefer shade or semi shade, but some can tolerate full sun and are useful for landscaping in more exposed locations. Aechmea blanchettiana is a common one, often seen planted en masse as a type of tall groundcover. It has golden-orange foliage and also produces tall orange flower spikes.

Alcantarea imperialis is an unusually large, sun tolerant bromeliad, suitable as an accent. 'Rubra', 'Purpurea' and 'Peter Tristram' are varieties. Alcantarea glazouiana and Alcantarea vinicolor and some Neoregelia are also sun tolerant. Check the label or try them out and move if they show signs of scorching. (NB all plants should be gradually hardened off before planting out in sun if they have been grown under shadecloth.)

There are a number of ornamental relatives of the pineapple (Ananas species). These are also bromeliads. The spiky foliage in various colours is the main feature, plus the occasional production of miniature pineapples.

Once you've grown one bromeliad, you'll want to grow more! Join your local Bromeliad society for information, shows, displays, meetings, outings and plant sales. Or check out one of the specialist bromeliad nurseries on this page.

Where to buy Bromeliads in Qld

Most garden centres in areas where bromeliads grow are likely to stock some. However, if you're seeking a greater range of varieties or unusal species etc, you may need to seek out a specialist nursery.

Also, look for plant expos and the shows by tropical plant societies (Queensland Gardening Events Diary).

More Online Information

The following are for general information, research and ideas - some species or cultivars referred to in links may be unavailable in Australia or unsuitable for Queensland conditions
Bromeliad Society International A good website for general information, plus plenty of links to other bromeliad sites
Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies Extensive information here. A must-visit for the Bromeliad enthusiast
What is a Bromeliad? Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida
Bromeliads - The Sub Families Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida
Understanding and Producing Bromeliads Overview of Bromeliad biology, culture and propagation. Clemson University, South Carolina (PDF)
Bromeliad Fact Sheet Smithsonian Gardens, Washington DC
Bromeliad Culture Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida
How-to Make a Bromeliad "Tree" Hoe and Shovel blog, Florida
True full-sun bromeliads Article at the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies website
Blazing Sun Bromeliads Pinecrest Plant Guy blog, Miami
Bromeliads and Mosquitos by Rob Smythe, Townsville. Discusses his observations and potential threats. At the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies
More on Mosquitos by Derek Butcher Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies


Probably the most popular and easily-recognised type of bromeliad in Qld gardens at the moment. Typically, they form low-growing rosettes. The flowers, embedded in the central shallow vase are not spectacular, but the leaves come in an almost endless variety of colour and pattern combinations. They usually prefer light shade, although some are sun-tolerant.

Neoregelia Bromeliad Society/Houston
Neoregelia University of Vermont
Neoregelia cultivar in a shaded rockery
Rainwater is conserved in the central "vase".


Many popular members of this group tend to have longer leaves than the Neoregelias, giving a more vase-like form to the plant. Their tendancy to multiply into clumps makes them useful for mass planting in tropical bedding displays. Their flower spikes are an added attraction. Aechmea gamosepala is commonly encountered but the variegated leaf form 'Lucky Stripes' is more colourful. Aechmea blanchetiana is bigger and bolder and comes in yellow, orange and red-leaved forms. It has the advantage of being sun tolerant. Aechmea fasciata, with grey-pattered leaves and a beautiful pink flower, is often available, too.

bromeliads in the landscape
Mass-plant for stunning landscape effects. Be sure to plant sun-tolerant varieties if position requires. This is possibly the yellow form of Aechmea blanchetiana. Brisbane, August 2013
Aechmea Bromeliad Society/Houston
Aechmea Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Aechmea blanchetiana University of Florida (PDF)
Aechmea blanchetiana The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Aechmea gamosepala Match Stick Plant, Gamos Bromeliad. Flowers of India
Aechmea gamosepala "Botany Photo of the Day", University of British Columbia Botanical Garden & Centre for Plant Research
Aechmea fasciata Silver Vase Bromeliad. University of Florida (PDF)
Aechmea fasciata Silver Vase Bromeliad, Urn Plant. Flowers of India
Aechmea distichantha Brazilian vaseplant, vase plant. Flowers of India
Aechmea distichantha University of Florida (PDF)


Alcantarea imperialis (syn. Vriesea imperialis) is a very large, sun-tolerant bromeliad popular as an accent plants

Alcantarea (not "Alcanterea") (A. imperialis, A. odorata) Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Alcantarea imperialis A collection of detailed information on this species at the Bromeliads in Australia website
Alcantarea imperialis rubra Photos at the Bromeliad Society of New South Wales Inc. website
Alcantarea glazouiana Sun Hardy Bromeliad The Florez Nursery blog, NSW


Billbergia Bromeliad Society/Houston
Billbergia pyramidalis Grower Jim, Florida
Red (and Purple) Surprises Again Discusses mass flowering of Billbergia pyramidalis. Talking Plants (blog)

Billbergia pyramidalisBrisbane, March 2014


This genus includes the grey-leaved "air plants"
Epiphytic Tillandsias Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida
First Month Fever - How the Love for Airplants Started (Article about Tillandsia) Green Culture Singapore
Ball Moss ~ Texas Tribbles Blog post about Tillandsia recurvata, which is found growing on trees in Texas


Guzmania - The Beginner's Bromeliad Green Culture Singapore


This genus includes the familiar edible pineapples, but there are other species grown primarily for ornamental use
Ananas comosus University of Florida (PDF)
Ananas comosus 'Variegatus' University of Florida (PDF)
Ananas comosus 'Smooth Cayenne' University of Florida (PDF)
The Biology of Ananus comosus var comosus (Pineapple) An overview of history, biology and cultivation. Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, Australian Governernment
Ananas bracteatus Garden Adventures blog, Florida
Breeding Ananas for the cut-flower and garden markets Abstract of a paper from Proceedings of the Sixth International Pineapple Symposium


Dyckia Bromeliad Society/Houston
Cryptanthus Bromeliad Society/Houston
Bromelia balansae University of Florida (PDF)
Andean Botanical Information System (ABIS) a variety of information about flora from various habitats in Chile and Peru, including Bromeliaceae
Puya berteroniana Mount Tomah Botanic Garden Blooming Calendar (November)

Possible misspellings: bromelades, broms, bromiliads, bromiliades



About     Advertising & Promotion     Privacy, Terms     Contact