Low Light and Bromeliads: Can They Thrive in Dim Conditions?

Do you want to grow bromeliad but can’t provide it with intense light? Are you wondering if bromeliad can grow in low light? Don’t worry! We can help you answer these questions and many more.

Bromeliads can grow in low light, especially the variants that have soft green leaves. However, some types of bromeliads do not do well with low light. Generally, bromeliad variants that have complex and rigid leaves do not tolerate low light.

This article will give you a detailed guide on how to grow bromeliad under low light.

Let’s get started!

A Bromeliad in Low Light

Can Bromeliads Grow in Low Light?

Bromeliad variants with soft leaves can grow in low light without special care. Generally, these kinds of plants do not produce much energy to support the growth of leaves and stems. As a result, they will not need too much light.

The downside to this trait is that soft-leaved bromeliads tend to be more sensitive to environmental changes, so they don’t grow well when the weather is extremely hot or cold or in areas with fluctuating weather patterns.

Growing bromeliad under low light comes with its advantages and drawbacks. Let’s go over them one by one.

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What Are the Advantages of Growing Bromeliads Under Low Light?

Reduce the Risk of Sun Damage: Bromeliad variants with soft leaves are sensitive to sun damage. When you grow these plants under low light, you reduce the risk of damaging them, and they will be less likely to die.

More Control over the Plant Size: If you are not a fan of giant bromeliads, then low light will help you maintain the size of the plant under control. Generally, the more light you give to a plant, the more energy it will produce, encouraging more growth.

Growing small bromeliads would benefit people who like to grow plants in tiny spaces like offices, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Less Heat in Home: when you grow bromeliads indoors, they require an artificial light source. Generally, these artificial light sources increase the temperature inside the house significantly, making your home’s climate uncomfortable. By growing bromeliad under low light, you will not need an intense light source. Therefore, you will create less heat in your house.

Cost-efficiency: if you grow bromeliad under low light, you will use less energy, which means you will pay less for electricity. This cost reduction might be insignificant if you grow only one plant indoors. However, if you grow multiple plants and switch from high to low light, you will realize a significant decrease in your electricity bill.

Independence to One Location: when you grow bromeliad under low light, you are no longer forced to keep the plant near a window. You can put it wherever you want and set the artificial light source to low intensity.

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What Are the Drawbacks of Growing Bromeliad Under Low Light?

Few or No Flowering: Bromeliad requires a lot of energy during the blooming period. When this plant is grown under low light, it will not be able to produce enough power to make flowers.

Nutrient Deficiency: bromeliads use light to produce their food. In fact, all plants use water, light, and the soil’s organic matter to make their food. The plant will suffer from a nutrient deficiency if one of these elements is lacking. 

Yellow Leaves: bromeliad leaves can become yellow for a variety of reasons. But if you grow the plant under low light, the cause of yellow leaves is most probably the lack of light. Generally, when a plant does to get enough light, it will produce less chlorophyll which is the pigment responsible for the green colors of the leaves.

Leaning: when you grow bromeliads under low light, they will grow toward the closest light source. This will cause the plant to lean to one side over the other.

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How Much Light Does a Bromeliad Need?

Bromeliad needs between 5 and 12 hours of sunlight daily to grow healthy, beautiful foliage. It can grow quite large under ideal conditions but requires a lot of light. The amount of light needed by this plant will depend on which variety you are growing. Some types can do well when exposed to a few hours of light daily, while others require long hours to thrive.

To provide bromeliad with the light it needs, you should place it where it will receive more than 5 hours of medium to bright light. You can achieve this by placing the plant near a south-facing window. Try to put your bromeliad a few feet away from the window to avoid the risk of sunburn and heat stress.

If you live in an area without enough sunlight from the window, you can use grow light to keep your bromeliad alive. Try turning on the light source during the day and setting the intensity to around 750-foot candles. At night, keep the lights off, so the bromeliad doesn’t overheat and dry out.

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Can Bromeliads Grow Without Sunlight?

Bromeliads can grow without sunlight if you substitute natural light with grow/artificial light. But growing bromeliads or any other plant without light is impossible.

To grow your bromeliad without sunlight, you should choose between two main types of artificial lighting: fluorescent and LED. Fluorescent lighting is usually used for indoor plants that need low-light conditions. Therefore you can use it for bromeliad varieties that have soft green leaves. On the other hand, LED lights are suitable for bromeliad varieties with stiff, rigid leaves because it offers intense and high-light conditions.

Place your artificial light source above your bromeliad. The lamp should be positioned, so the light shines directly onto the pot and the plant.

The number of grow lights you need depends on the size of your pot and your plant. The more plants you have, the more lights you will need. You can purchase artificial light sources online or in any large retail garden store.

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How to Grow Bromeliads Under Low Light?

A group of Bromeliads Under Low Light

Bromeliads require four parameters to grow healthy. High humidity, good drainage, temperature between 60°F-80°, and medium to bright light. If you want to grow this plant under low light, you should focus on these three requirements only.
When you grow bromeliad under low light, it’s also recommended to lower the humidity. In fact, when the humidity is high, water drops accumulate on the leaves of the plant. The plant can quickly eliminate these drops by evaporation when the light intensity is high. However, when the light intensity is low, these water drops can turn into brown spots causing the bromeliad to look unhealthy.
Additionally, when the water that accumulates on the leaves because of high humidity does not evaporate quickly, it attracts pests to the plant. Pests such as aphids can suck fluids out of the plant, causing holes in them.
Growing bromeliad under low light also requires keeping the temperature around the plant slightly higher than usual. This will help compensate for the plant’s warmth under bright light.
You can increase the temperature around your plant using a heated propagator. It may seem a little pricey, but I use one for every plant that needs a high yet stable temperature, and it’s well worth the investment. It will increase the temperature of the compost in a relatively short period and keep it steady for as long as you want.
Finally, you should pay closer attention to drainage when you grow bromeliad under low light than when you grow it under intense light. In fact, when the light is low, the soil will take longer to dry. As a result, the risk of overwatering and root rot becomes higher.
To reduce the risk of overwatering and root rot when growing bromeliad under low light, try to add a lot of organic matter to the soil. Elements such as leaf litter, mulch, compost, or moss can help increase soil drainage without causing any harm to the plant.

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