October 21, 2016

Learn about Bromeliads

One of the most beautiful foliage types we grow in our private collection are Bromeliads. There are 1000’s of species in the Bromeliad family growing throughout North and South America. Some species have become popular as houseplants and others are being used extensively in landscaped gardens in tropical climates. The size of the plants in Hawaiian gardens vary from 6″ to 5′ in diameter.

Most Bromeliads are “air plants” or  “epiphytes” and are nourished by the rain and air. Many varieties are drought-tolerant and have adapted to conserving water. They can grow without soil in branches of trees or on volcanic rocks in Hawaii. The Bromeliad varieties growing in tropical gardens here in Kauai are known for the beauty of their dramatic foliage and flower spikes.

Probably the most well-known Bromeliad is the Pineapple, which has been hybridized and is grown in great quantities. The pineapple was given the name “Pina” (pine cone) by Spanish explorers visiting South America. The Hawaiians call it “Hala Kahiki”. The fibers of some bromeliads, including pineapple, are made into thread, fabric, and rope.

Pineapple was the major crop grown on Kauai before sugar cane. The Ahukini Railway was a narrow gauge railroad, which began operating in 1920 along the east coast of Kauai from Anahola to Lihue, transporting pineapples and sugar cane to ships in Hanamaulu Harbor. Now the old railroad right-of-way is now part of our multi-use Kauai Path.

We hope you enjoy these pictures from our bromeliad garden: