Everyday Gardeners

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'Raphael' blushing bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae)

'Raphael' blushing bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae)

Blushing bromeliads are low-maintenance tropicals that make colorful, easy-care houseplants. The plants have serrated straplike leaves which create a cup in the center of the rosette that they form. To water the plant, simply pour water into the cup. (Note the standing water in the cup of ‘Raphael’ at left.) Immature foliage is green, often striped with white or chartreuse, but when the plant is about to flower, the leaves develop a rosy hue, giving rise to the common name. Small purple flowers develop in the cup, but they’re secondary to the colorful leaves.

The photos in this post show some of the varieties of blushing bromeliad available. While ‘Raphael’ has deep green leaves with a narrow white margin, ‘Ardie’, below, is the reverse: white leaves with a narrow green band along the edge of the leaf. New foliage on ‘Cookie’ emerges green and creamy white, but quickly develops a pink cast. And ‘Green Apple’ glows with its magenta pink leaves merging to an apple green base.

'Ardie' blushing bromeliad

'Ardie' blushing bromeliad

'Cookie' blushing bromeliad

'Cookie' blushing bromeliad

'Green Apple' blushing bromeliad

'Green Apple' blushing bromeliad

My blushing bromeliad has been going strong for the past 4 years. The original central plant died back after it bloomed, but two side shoots or “pups” quickly took its place, and now are developing their own flush of color. The only care the plant gets is bright light and occasional water in the cup. I could use more houseplants like it that thrive on neglect, yet always look great.




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