Getting Your Bromeliads to Bloom (Apple Bag Trick)

Bromeliad before and after blooms

Bromeliads are in the same family as pineapples, and are grown for their attractive foliage and brightly colored flower stalks.

These interesting plants can take over a year before they produce flowers, which leaves many bromeliad owners searching for tips on how to force their plants to bloom.

While it can be frustrating waiting for the plant to bloom, there are some tricks that may induce flowering on this tropical plant.

Before Trying to Force a Bromeliad to Bloom

Keep in mind, however, that bromeliads generally only bloom once. While these blooms do last a long time, some may last for several months or even a year, when they start to brown and lose petals, it’s a sign that the blooming cycle has come to an end.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do to save the bloom once it browns and fades. Use a clean pair of pruning shears to cut the spent flower stalk.

Just because the plant is no longer in bloom doesn’t mean you have to get rid of it.

You can continue to care for the Bromeliad and after awhile, the plant will produce “pup” plants. These are new baby bromeliads that stay on the parent plant until they are about 1/3rd the size of the parent.

Once they reach this size, the younger bromeliad can be potted in their own pot. The younger plant will continue to grow and eventually bloom on its own.

Proper Care

The very first thing you should consider when trying to force the bromeliads to bloom is if the plant is receiving proper care. Providing the incorrect amount of light, wrong fertilizer, too much or too little water, can all interfere with the plant’s ability to bloom.


Bromeliads thrive in bright but indirect sunlight. Placing them in direct sunlight could burn the plant. A sunny window that has a sheer curtain will provide the right amount of filtered light for this plant.

Water and Humidity

They also need watering whenever the top 2 inches of their soil starts to feel dry. Avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot, which will quickly kill the plant. In addition, make sure you are providing them with a 60-percent humidity level.


The best soil for bromeliads is fast-draining that also holds moisture. Create your own mixture by combining 1/3rd sand with 2/3rds peat-based soil. Another option is to use soil-less potting mix or potting mix designed for orchids.


For fertilizer, an all-purpose 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer works well when fed to the bromeliad at ½ strength every month. Keep in mind to only add fertilizer during the plant’s growing season.

Apple in a Bag Trick

The apple in a bag trick uses the ethylene gas that the apple naturally produces as it decomposes to induce the bromeliad to flower.

This method requires a ripe apple sliced and a clear plastic bag that doesn’t have any holes and is large enough to cover the entire plant and its container. Make sure there isn’t any water sitting on the bromeliad, such as on the plant itself or on top of the soil, as well as no water sitting inside the pot.

Place the entire plant and the apple slice inside the bag. Tie the bag closed tightly, ensuring there are no gaps or openings.

Then sit the bag-covered plant in a dark area where it won’t be disturbed. Wait for 10 days before removing the bromeliad from the bag.

apple in a bag trick bromeliad

Continue caring for the plant as you normally would. After about 6 to 14 weeks, the bromeliad will begin showing signs of flowering.