Most bromeliads are one time bloomers. When a bromeliad plant reaches maturity it will stop producing leaves and the flower will bloom into a beautiful, unique formation. At this point, the healthy bromeliad will produce offshoot plants from the base called pups. Pups are exact clones of the mother plant and are her way of continuing her legacy. So proper harvesting of these so called pups can lead to endless beautiful bromeliads for your enjoyment.
You will be able to identify the cup forming as it grows upward from the base of the mother, this is the pup. It is possible to for the mother plant to have multiple offsets growing at the same time. When these pups reach a certain size they can be harvested, planted, and cared for on their own. The mother will continue to thrive and produce additional offsets for the next year or two.
Bromeliad pups can be safely removed when they are 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the mother plant. Another good indicator that the offsets can survive on their own is the presence of roots. Root formation is not necessary for a pup to survive so don’t be alarmed if they don’t exist yet.
Use a sharp, sterilized knife or scissors to remove your new plant, cutting as close to the mother plant as possible without injuring it. Sometimes there will be an outer leaf shielding the base of the pup. You can gently peel this leaf away to reveal the entire base.
After the pup has been harvested from the mother, dip the cut ends in a fungicide and rooting hormone before potting it individually. Prepare a small 4″ plant pot with a light, well-draining medium. Because a pup’s root system is limited or non-existent, you may find the plant to be a little top heavy with nothing to anchor it down. When placing your new plant in within the pot take care not to set it too deeply in the potting mix in an effort to support its weight. Instead, use wood sticks or stakes to hold the plant up until it produces a root system that is able to withstand its own weight.