You have a wonderful bromeliad in your home that provides an atmosphere of vibrancy and vitality, adding a little extra life and color to your space.
But lately, you’ve noticed that the leaves appear to be splitting.
It’s actually a common problem that many bromeliad owners face and in this article, we’ll try to get to the bottom of why it’s happening.
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Why Are My Bromeliad Leaves Splitting?
A bromeliad’s leaves usually only split due to dryness when there is not enough humidity in its environment or it has been underwatered.
All bromeliads like humidity to varying degrees but some species like to be kept very humid while others can tolerate conditions that are a lot dryer.
Bromeliads can handle being underwatered a lot better than they can be overwatered so this type of problem is usually easy to reverse.
Let’s look a bit closer at what causes your bromeliad’s leaves to start splitting and what you can do about it.
Related Article: Why Is My Bromeliad Losing Its Color? (And What To Do)
Identify Its Species
Your first step should be to identify the type of bromeliad you have.
The species you have will determine the level of humidity it needs.
For example, Neorogelias like to be kept very humid while Dyckias can tolerate a much dryer environment.
If your home is very dry, Neorogelias may need to be misted 2 or 3 times per week while Dyckias usually won’t need misting at all.
Once you find out the specific species of bromeliad you own, you can find out its exact needs for moisture.
Mimic Your Plant’s Native Habitat
As mentioned, it’s important to note the kind of bromeliad you have.
These are a hugely diverse family and the causes for leaf splitting in one variety may not be exactly the same for another type.
When you understand the type of bromeliad, then you can start inspecting its condition and environment to ensure it mimics its native habitat.
Bromeliads hail from the tropical areas of the Americas and most need massive amounts of moisture and humidity followed by long, dry periods.
Also, many varieties require partial shade from being on forest and jungle floors where they’re covered by a canopy of trees.
If your bromeliad receives too much light or air, it can split the leaves to compensate and adjust to its environment.
Watering And Humidity
In general, bromeliads are quite drought-resistant.
These plants have a central cup that can hold onto water so they can slowly absorb it.
In a typical indoor environment, it’s not usually necessary to keep this cup continually filled with water.
But if it’s the height of summer and your bromeliad is being exposed to more light and heat than it’s used to, you can keep its central cup topped up with water.
Just make sure to flush it out and refill it every now and then to get rid of any stagnant water or build-ups of salt.
Under normal conditions, it’s usually enough to water bromeliads through the soil about once a week during the summer and a little less during the winter.
Any bromeliads that you have growing as air plants (plants without soil) will need to be watered more regularly.
Give them a good drenching every day and once a week, submerge them in water and give them a good soak.
Because bromeliads are tropical plants, they need a heavy amount of moisture in their surrounding environment.
Unlike most other plants, they absorb sustenance through their leaves more than their roots.
This is because their native environment has massive downpours of rain followed by long dry spells.
If it appears dry and thirsty along with the splitting, then it needs more moisture.
Invest in a humidifier or try keeping it in the bathroom where there is more humidity than in other rooms.
Also, spray the leaves with a little water every couple of days, if your species of bromeliad requires it.
Temperatures that are too hot for your bromeliad may also cause its leaves to split and dry out.
These plants like temperatures that range between 55 and 80 degrees F.
Although some cold-hardy types of bromeliad can briefly tolerate temperatures as low as 20 F.
But unless you’re sure that your plant is cold-hardy, I wouldn’t chance exposing it to temperatures below 40 F.
What Is The Best Soil For Your Bromeliad
Most often, when your bromeliad starts splitting leaves it indicates a problem or something it doesn’t like in its growing conditions.
More often than not, it will be from lack of moisture but you should still ensure other elements of your bromeliad’s needs are being met so it can grow to its full potential.
Check the soil and ensure it’s the proper blend.
You cannot give it the same kind of soil as you would a rose.
It is important that the soil be very acidic, light and well-draining.
Very little moisture should remain in the pot after watering.
This may also mean mounting the pot rather than having a drainage dish.
And yet there are some species that don’t like being in a pot at all.
Unfortunately, bromeliads can easily become infected with root rot if even the slightest amount of water remains.
You have a couple of options for the soil.
You can use potting soil developed for orchids, which is more than adequate, or you can create your own mix.
If making your own, be sure your soil mix incorporates one part of each of the following components:
- Peat moss.
- Perlite or sand.
- Decomposed tree bark or pine needles.
Pests And Infestations
If you notice splitting leaves on your bromeliad but they’re green and lush, it could be a pest problem.
Inspect the undersides of the leaves for aphids, spider mites, and other usual culprits.
Pick these off and follow up with an insecticidal spray to make sure you get them all, including any eggs.
Once a week, spray good-quality neem oil on the leaves to prevent any further infestations.
Also, check the roots for insects.
If you notice things like slugs or other little beady creatures nibbling away, rinse the roots in warm water and replant them in a fresh pot with new soil.
Bromeliads Have A Short Life Span
These plants only survive for one growing season, which is about four to six months.
So, this could also be a factor when you see leaves beginning to split.
Bromeliads are beautiful plants that provide beauty and help reduce in-house pollution.
Their big, bright, and beautiful blooms and leaves can provide a delicacy and elegance to any room.
The most common cause of leaves splitting on your bromeliad is a lack of moisture.
But other environmental factors can also contribute to the problem.
The most important thing is that you try to recreate the conditions your plant enjoys by identifying the species your specific bromeliad is.