12 Bromeliad Varieties That Grow in Full Sun

Bromeliads are beautiful tropical plants. Which varieties can grow in full sun?

Bromeliads are tropical plants with thick foliage and colorful rosettes that can provide a unique look to your yard. Are you uncertain which ones can withstand direct sunlight? Full-sun exposure can be beneficial to some types while hazardous to others. 

In this article, we will look at the sun-tolerant cultivars. If you’re planning a garden, go over this list to figure out which will work best for your garden

Bromeliad Optimal Growing Conditions

Most bromeliads thrive in the shadow of a tree canopy. This means they don’t typically do well when exposed to full sun. Many bromeliads will burn and lose their color if exposed to direct sunlight.

Certain bromeliads, though, can tolerate full sun. Here are some varieties that will grow in a sunny kitchen window or in an exposed spot in your garden.

1. Aechmea blanchetiana

USDA Zone: 10b to 11

Aechmea blanchetiana‘s most noticeable trait is its bright orange foliage. The leaves are hard and clustered in a tight rosette, with small spines on the edges. Flower stalks emerge from the rosette’s compact core and are branched and erect. This variety produces numerous blooms and gorgeous crimson bracts.

It grows best in well-draining soil. Only water when the soil is completely dry. 

aechmea lemon orange flower stalks

2. Acanthostachys strobilacea

USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Acanthostachys strobilacea, or Pinecone bromeliads, are epiphytic plants with long, dangling leaves that are thin, succulent, and grooved. This variety has an inflorescence on reed-like stalks with a red pine-cone-like fruit that is about 2.5 cm long and resembles a small pineapple.

This plant droops attractively from hanging pots but be mindful that the edges have sharp teeth. Because of its drought tolerance, this clumping plant is wonderful for hanging baskets and is an excellent xeriscaping alternative.

blooming pinecone bromeliad flowers

3. Neoregelia ‘Apricot Beauty’

USDA Zone: 10a to 11

Apricot Beauty grows into a medium-sized rosette of apricot and rust-red leaves with green splotches. As the plant grows and begins to bloom, the core of the rosette turns scarlet. It’s a tough plant that can grow in shade to direct sunlight.

It is a hardy plant that can tolerate light frost. Neoregelias are excellent ground cover plants in landscaping.

Shining leaves of a bromeliad neoregelia ornamental plant under the sun

4. Alcantarea imperialis

USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Alcantarea imperialis are massive bromeliads native to Brazil that are found at an elevation of about 1,500 meters in the mountains around Rio de Janeiro.

It has a broad base and a dense rosette of broad strap-like, corrugated leaves with a smooth edge that can grow to be 1.5 meters wide. Flowering might take anywhere between 8 and 20 years.

When this happens, it produces a 3-meter-tall flower spike with red bracts along the stem and racemes of tiny, scented creamy yellow flowers growing from each bract. The blooming spike can last for up to a year.

Full grown alcantarea imperialis in the garden

5. Ananas ananassoides

USDA Zone: 9b to 11

Ananas ananassoides is a species of the pineapple genus. It is the most common wild pineapple and the botanical type with the most genetic variation. It is the likely origin of cultivated pineapples.

The plants can grow to be about 3 feet tall. Some dwarf cultivars have recently become popular as ornamentals.

A decorative dwarf pineapple plant in the garden

6. Neoregelia ‘Fireball’

USDA Zone: 9b to 11

Neoregelia Fireball’s leaves turn a deep red when grown in full sunlight. Little blue blooms appear in the center of mature rosettes. A single plant can quickly grow a spectacular cluster of multiple rosettes by producing a high number of stolons (or runners).

The small rosette of this bromeliad is composed of a radial bouquet of concave, sword-like leaves with no spines. In the center of the rosette is a water-holding cup. Mature specimens grow pin-cushion-like flower structures that are partially immersed in the water that accumulates in the cup. Small white to lavender blossoms rise slightly above the surface of the water.

Bright red neoregelia fireball plant under the sun

7. Quesnelia lateralis

USDA Zone: 9 to 11

Quesnelia lateralis has a straight or slightly arched inflorescence that is bright red and blue. In early January, the spike is about the same height as the leaves. Flowering appears to be highest when at least 4 to 5 plants are clumped together. Over the course of a week or two, the blue blooms arise one after the other, with the red component of the inflorescence lasting a little longer. These hues will last approximately three weeks.

The plant grows upright and can reach a height of around 1.5 feet. The top surface of the leave is pure green, but the underside contains some irregular trichome banding patterns. The leaf edges are covered in little spines.

8. Ananas comosus

USDA Zone: 9 to 11

Ananas comosus, often known as pineapple, was discovered in the tropical areas of South America. The pineapple is a shallow-rooted tropical fruit grown in frost-free climates with temperatures ranging from 65 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It grows best in acidic, loose, sandy, organically rich, well-drained soils.

Indoor plants require consistently moist soil, bright sunlight, high humidity, and an air temperature of at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Fruits may not appear on indoor plants for several years. Indoor fruits are frequently small and tasteless, yet they are highly appealing.

Big pineapple plant under the sun

9. Aechmea mulfordii

USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Aechmea mulfordii has green, purple, and burgundy-colored leaves that are stiff and edged with small spines. Tall and straight flower stalks with several little blooms and yellow bracts emerge from the center of the rosette.

Plants grow best in well-drained soil in full sun or moderate shade, with full sun giving the most burgundy color.

a mulfordii plant with green and purple pine leaves

10. Tillandsia ionatha

USDA Zone: 9b to 11

Tillandsia ionantha, often known as the Blushing Bride or air plant, is a tiny and lovely evergreen epiphyte with compact rosettes of silvery arching leaves like a pineapple top.

When the plant blooms, the leaves in the heart of the plant, which are ordinarily grey-green, turn a vivid crimson, luring hummingbirds to pollinate it. When the plant blooms, it frequently turns scarlet just before the violet flower clusters appear. This plant grows to a height of 8 to 12 cm and produces thick masses.

11. Aechmea orlandiana

USDA Zone: 9b to 11

In 1939, Mullford and Racine Foster discovered this species in Espirito Santo, Brazil. The orange bracts and white blossoms were called after Foster’s adoptive birthplace of Orlando, Florida. With almost 20 cultivars known, the plant is extremely diverse.

This Brazilian plant has yellow-green leaves with dark brown crossbands that grow in a rosette.

White knight flower with some red small pine-like lieaves

12. Vriesea corcovadensis

USDA Zone: 9 to 10

This is a Tillandsia-like stoloniferous Vriesea with a bulbous base and upright growth of stiff striated leaves. Leaves come in a range of colors, the most prevalent of which are green and cream. Vibrant crimson blossoms bloom on towering stalks.

Carley Miller
Carley Miller is a horticultural expert at Bustling Nest. She previously owned a landscaping business for 25 years and worked at a local garden center for 10 years.
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