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Neoregelia ampullacea - mounted on PungaFrom the time the mother plant starts flowering, to when it finally dies, it may produce between 1 to 10 pups, with most species producing 3 to 5 pups. There are a few species, fortunately not many, which don't pup at all. These are produced from seed.

Most Bromeliads produce their pups from the base of the mother plant, or from within the lower leaves. Some Bromeliads, such as Billbergia amoena 'Red', Cryptanthus 'Cascade' and Bromelia balansae, produce a proportion of their pups on long stolons (otherwise called suckers). In the case of Bromelia balansae, these suckers grow under the ground. There are also a few, such as Tillandsia secunda, which produce pups on the flower stem, resulting in 30 or more pups.

Pups which grow on stolons are the easiest to propagate, as they can simply be snapped off and transplanted. Pups which develop from the base are also usually fairly easy, as they come away with a sideways and downwards pull. Pups which develop in the leaves are usually much harder to remove without breaking them and often need a sharp knife to separate from the mother plant. In this case it is usually better to remove the leaf immediately below the pup, for access.

Pups can be left on or removed, depending on circumstances and personal preference. If they are left on, less pups will be produced and the mother plant will die earlier, but the pups will mature and flower quicker. If they are removed, they will take longer to mature and flower, but more pups will be produced. Sometimes, some species look better as a clump, in other cases, as single plant is more dramatic.

Depending on the species and whether the pup is removed, it takes between 1-5 years for a pup to produce a mature flowering plant. The pup can be planted straight into the new location, unless it has a fleshy base (as do many of the larger Vriesea species), in which case it is better to dry the pup off for a week in a cool dark place. This helps prevent rotting. A free draining potting mix is usually the best.

For further information see our book:


This sumptuous book has been written for all gardeners who love gardening with Bromeliads. Masses of information on landscaping with Bromeliads, in shady or sunny gardens, as epiphytes on trees or rocks, as greenhouse plants or in pots. Glorious photos of garden scenes complement the text.

More book information HERE