Your shopping cart is empty.

Bromeliads fertilizer ratio or what kind to use

September 27, 2015

Hi. My brom is a guzmania and I need advice on fertilizing it. All I can find is indoor plant, blooming plant, orchids and cactus food. So...

Can I use one of these? Which one?

What does the ratio need to be?

Is there an inexpensive bromeliads specific food? What's the name? Where can I get it?

Thanks in advance.

Comments (20)
  • splinter1804

    Hi everyone.

    Rhonda - I'm probably not much help to you as I live in Australia and the fertilisers available here would be different to what's available where you live. Generally speaking I use orchid food or rose food as there isn't a bromeliad specific fertiliser available where I live.

    I have found that with bromeliads I get my best results from a fertiliser that's higher in Potassium than Nitrogen and the one I use at re-potting time is a granular Rose Food with an N.P.K. of 8.0 : 3.7 : 10.0. If I want to use a foliar fertiliser I use one called Manutec Bloom Booster which has an N.P.K. of 6.9.: 14.6.: 16.8.

    I have found that if I use fertilisers that are higher in Nitrogen than Potassium, I get much better growth but at the expense of colour.

    Basically the high Nitrogen will encourage growth and the high Potassium will encourage foliage colour and flower production.

    I can only tell you what I use and hope it helps you in some way.

    All the best, Nev.

  • Ronda

    That helps a lot. There's not a huge selection of fertilizer at the stores around here. I looked online if I could your orchids food, which was a zero on info. So, now I know I can. Your breakdown of the nitro and potassium ratio amounts and what each does is very helpful. It's more than I've learned after weeks of searching. I like vivid color, so I think I'll go with high potassium. I have now been well educated. Thanks for all info and for commenting on my post.

  • Ronda

    Looking for Splinter1804. I noticed that you've commented on all my posts. Obviously, your well informed and have a lot to offer a beginner like me. I hope you don't mInd, I started following you. Do you accept messages? If so, how would I do that?

  • debbyabq

    check at:




    for what a bromeliad (and Tillandsia) fertilizer should and should not contain (buy if you want, but you'll know what to look for). I got something similar from a Tillandsia seller (I think it was CTS) a few years ago but haven't used it (it's waiting in a sealed jar). I use fresh-water aquarium water for my Tillandsias, so they get some fish & snail urine. However, I'm reading more (downloaded hundreds of free bromeliad society newsletters from all over) and it seems like a good idea if I actively do a little more fertilizing.

  • splinter1804

    Hi everyone.

    Rhonda - You say in your comment to me, "Obviously, you're well informed and have a lot to offer a beginner like me"; let me say I still have a lot to learn and I get a lot of help from the various bromeliad forums I regularly visit.

    Much of what I have learnt along the way is from making mistakes and working out what I did wrong and how to rectify them. What I do like though is seeing new growers asking questions and if I can give an answer to prevent them making the same mistakes I made then I answer; if not I leave it to someone more qualified to provide an answer.

    To expand a bit more on the question of fertilising, let me just add that there are probably as many different preferences in fertilisers as there are growers and consequently it's largely a case of trial and error.

    Watering is another very important factor which comes into the equation also as the water quality all over the world varies so much. I'm very fortunate here that our water is of a very high quality and equally suitable for drinking as it is for watering brom's. This isn't the case in other countries and often the ph. has to be adjusted to suit bromeliads

    Anther little tip I've learned along the way are the benefits of using seaweed supplements to boost your plants. I use a product called "Seasol" which is made in Australia and exported all over the world so you may be able to get it in your area, if not I imagine there are many similar products available.

    Seasol is not really a fertiliser, it's more of a "tonic" which helps your plants build up strength to ward off disease and to resist the damage from extremes of temperature. It's a product you can apply to the whole garden all through the year, and when diluted as per the instructions, can be applied to even the "finest of maiden hair ferns". I find it a good product and certainly worth a try in my opinion.

    See: http://www.seasol.com.au/

    debbybaq - They're a handy couple of links you've posted, unfortunately there isn't much in the way of brom specific fertilisers here where I live but you're lucky to have access to such products.

    Another fertiliser that a (late) lady grower in our society used to make up herself was based on the age old liquid fowl manure idea which the vegie gardeners have used for centuries. She made hers from poultry manure pellets called "Dynamic Lifter" here in Australia but I imagine there are other similar products available in your country as well.

    She would get a plastic garbage bin (with a lid) and put in about 5kg of poultry manure pellets and fill the bin with water. Leave for a week or so stirring occasionally until the pellets started to break down. This gave her the base concentrate which she then diluted with water until it was the colour of weak tea. This could then be watered onto the potting mix with a watering can or sprayed on as a foliar feed and the plants seemed to love it because she grew the most beautiful brom's which she often won prizes with in the brom shows.

    She always claimed she was just emulating nature because in habitat, bits of debris and small animal and bird dropping find their way into the central cup of bromeliads as does water. The two then mix and break down to provide a constant source of weak "natural" liquid manure for the plants, so you see there are other ways of providing fertiliser than just using what's available on the shelf of your local super market.

    I hope this information helps in some small way.

    All the best, Nev.

  • debbyabq

    Thanks for explaining "Seasol". I saw a YouTube video over the weekend where the presenter, a Brit(? maybe Aussie) said to use -- I thought -- "sea salt" on plants. In the comments under the video, I wrote "sea salt!?!"Just proves that enunciation and explanations are very important, particularly when one might be addressing an international audience!

    The woman making a weak tea from poultry manure pellets was making what organic growers often call "manure tea" (using horse, cow, chicken, etc. droppings) or sometimes they'll use aged compost to make the "tea", and the compost can contain manure, too. It's great stuff but for broms and tillies, a very weak solution might be best at first. Also, the makings of this tea can be found in raked-up fall leaves, horse and cow pastures, compostable kitchen waste, and more, and one can break it down further using an old kitchen blender. And recall that in the wild, broms collect water and forest litter in their cups, and even frogs will live in the cups and use the cup as a toilet as well... :)

    Ronda thanked debbyabq
  • gonzer_gw

    I stopped fertilizing my Tillandsias last year and for my other terrrestrial genera I use only liquid kelp.

    Ronda thanked gonzer_gw
  • Ronda

    Sorry debbyabq. I didn't receive notification of your comment. Thank you so much for the info. I'll definitely look into further. Thanks, again.

  • debbyabq

    Liquid kelp is cool as long as it's not radioactive or otherwise full of toxins from what humans have dumped into the sea :( Seems compost or manure tea might be a little bit more natural, as in liquid from rain + rotting vegetation/bird-frog-etc poop is what a Tillandsia or brom is more likely to experience in the wild. As long as whatever one uses seems to work, it's great to report here!

  • Ronda

    Thanks, debbyabq. You've definitely given me a lot to look into. Hopefully whatever I choose or can find will work fine. Thanks again for all your advice.

  • PRO

    Is there an inexpensive bromeliads specific food? Yes, it's called dead leaves. Seriously. Rake up some dead leaves and mix them into your well drained, highly textured guzmania soil. Or sprinkle a few tablespoons of yard waste compost (concentrated dead leaves) into the pot every month or so.

    Guzmania can easily survive on leaf mold alone as a fertilizer. You really don't need an additional fertilizer at all. They will decay in the soil and feed your bromeliad. Set it and forget it. These plants don't like a lot of fertilizer. Feeding them synthetic fertilizers can do more harm than good.

    If you really want to kick things into high gear, try some highly diluted compost tea once a month as a foliar feeding. Liquid kelp is good, as is blackstrap molasses in low concentrations.

    Ronda thanked littlegatorfarm
  • Ronda

    Thank you. I don't mean to ignorant. What is and how do you make compost tea?

  • cynthia halford

    Does anyone make comments here anymore??? Not seeing anything recent, last ones back awhile. My bromeliads are in pots but sit under my oak tree. Leaf's are cram packed! Not sure how to get them out! So far down in there I can't even pull them out and even if doing that, there are just way to many to do. Any suggestions??

  • tsugajunkie z5 SE WI ♱

    It would be best to start your own post as your question is not related to this old post. Include pictures and your location in your new post.


  • splinter1804

    Hi everyone.

    Cynthia - Re. your comment, "Does anyone make comments here anymore???" Yes we do, and I personally have commented several times last month as have others, however we don't all comment on all posts, only if we feel we can contribute some useful information.

    You must realise this post was started back in Sept 2015 so it's getting pretty old now. As stated above, it would be best to start off a new post
    outlining your problem. Also include some pictures if at all possible as this
    makes it much easier for us to cleanly understand your problem and comment

    I'll be looking out for a new post from you so I can try and provide some helpful advice.

    All the best, Nev.

  • Jayvee Chun (Manila Philippines, Tropics)

    Hi Ronda.

    Fertilizers aren't made equal and it is great that you're researching.

    In all fertilizers, they list three numbers--Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus. The first element is used for foliage. The last two for flowers which turn to fruit.

    So balanced is always nice to start with but if the goal is blooms, then a higher 2nd and 3rd number versus the 1st would be great.

    Also, certain fertilizers need bacteria from the soil to make the nutrient available to the plant. Urea and other compost types are as such.

    However, given bromeliads largely do NOT consumer majority of nutrition from the soil given they are epiphytes, you should stick to the fertilizers recommended for orchids--another type of epiphyte.

    Hope this helps.

  • PRO

    Compost tea is easy to make in a 5 gallon bucket. There's lots of different methods and youtube tutorials about it.

  • Ronda
    I want to thank everyone for all the advice. The plants didn't make it but I'll definitely be trying your suggestions when I purchase one or two this season.
  • PRO

    If the plant died it's more likely due to overwatering, light issues. Bromeliads do not need fertilizer to survive.

  • Ronda
    I did not know that. Thanks

Need help with a Houzz order? Call us at 1-800-368-4268 (Mon-Sun)