These Tropical Flowers Are What Your Decor Is Missing

close up flower head of bromeliaceae
The Best Bromeliad Flowers to Growwulingyun - Getty Images

Need some color in your home? We suggest buying a bromeliad flower or two. You might not have heard the name before, but chances are you'll know these pineapple-like tropical plants when you see them. (Pineapples are actually one type of bromeliad.) Even though they're native to Central and South America, they can grow in almost any climate, from grasslands to rainforests and even your apartment, and there are lots of different bromeliad types to choose from.

A bromeliad's distinctive shape and color make it the perfect funky accent for your living room or bedroom, but it's more than just a pretty accessory. Like many indoor plants, bromeliads can have a range of health benefits, including air purification and stress reduction. Plus, they don't require much effort on your part to thrive. Like orchids, many bromeliad types are epiphytes or air plants, meaning they grow on the surfaces of other plants or trees and source their nutrients from the air and water around them. All bromeliads need is some moisturizing potting soil and indirect sunlight. Water them sparingly with a spray bottle every week, and that's it! Naturally, the maintenance depends on the type of flower.

Speaking of which, there are more than 3,000 species of bromeliad flowers. Not all of them take to the indoors, some require more upkeep than others, and some can take a couple of years to bloom. Luckily, there are plenty of easy-to-grow bromeliad types, whether your goal is add color to your houseplant collection or to brighten up your landscaping. Below, we've gathered the best types of bromeliads that are equally beautiful and low maintenance.

Guzmania Bromeliad

The most popular species of bromeliad, guzmania flowers are stunning epiphytes with lush green leaves and vibrant flowers that come in reds, purples, yellows, and white. Guzmanias have a longish bloom cycle, holding up for two to four months, and can grow up to two feet tall.

close up of a red flower
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Aechmea Bromeliad

Aechmea is another bromeliad type known for its silvery-green foliage, vibrant colored flowerheads, and spiky rosette shape. Often called the urn plant, an aechemea is low-maintenance, requiring very little except water to grow. Just note that most aechmeas don't reach maturity for two to five years. If you want flowers, you'll need to be patient.

cylinder bromeliad

Tillandsia Bromeliad

Tillandsias are the largest subgroup of bromeliads, consisting of around 5,000 different species. Like guzmanias, they're air plants or epiphytes. Popular tillandsia plants include the Pink Quill (shown here), a small bromeliad with a quill-like shape and pink and purple flowers.

a bromeliad tillandsia flowering in the coastal rainforest
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Vriesea Bromeliad

If you want a small houseplant for a centerpiece, look no further than the striking vriesea bromeliad. More on the small and medium size, it has a swordlike shape with short, blunt leaves and bright red flowers. Most vrieseas are epiphytes (i.e., air plants) and can thrive indoors or outdoors.

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Neoregelia Bromeliad

Neoregelias are many plant lovers’ favorite bromeliads because they're so low maintenance. It also helps that they're one of the most stunning members of the bromeliad family. Unlike other bromeliad types, the neoregelia is known for its foliage as well as its flowers: Its leaves come in pinks, blues, reds, and other bright hues. A neoregelia plant is what you want if you're looking for color.

neoregelia carolinae blushing bromeliad
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Dyckia Bromeliad

Calling all succulent lovers! Check out the dyckia, a spiky, rosette-shaped houseplant that's native to Brazil. Dyckias aren't technically succulents, but they often get lumped in with them because of their similar thick, waxy foliage. These stubborn plants won't die if you forget to water them for a week…or longer.

flower stems with buds of a dyckia d encholirioides a bromeliad native to south america
Galumphing Galah - Getty Images

Billbergia Bromeliad

While most bromeliads are easy to maintain, billbergia plants are the most beginner friendly. In fact, they're often described as foolproof since they're so cold tolerant, which makes them optimal for gardeners living in colder climates. They don't have as many leaves as other bromeliad types (and thus aren't the most beautiful in our opinion), but they grow fast, which is a fine trade-off. They also have a less-funky shape: They grow straight up.

billbergia nutans
Jordi Boixareu - Getty Images

Cryptanthus Bromeliad

A cryptanthus is a great outdoor plant for gardeners in humid environments like Florida or Louisiana. They're absolutely prolific, with more than 12,000 types to choose from. Most have a rosette shape and low stature, but they come in a variety of colors and patterns, from pale pink to red with spots, stripes, and bands. Unfortunately, cryptanthus plants don't have a long shelf life—they bloom only once and die shortly afterward—but they make pretty seasonal decorations for your patio or porch.

top view of cryptanthus bivittatus also known as earth star or pink starfis
marie martin - Getty Images

Ananas Bromeliad

Looking to kick-start your gardening journey? We suggest starting with an ananas bromeliad, aka pineapple bromeliad. A subspecies of bromeliad, the ananas is a small houseplant that actually grows edible pineapples. It's fairly easy to care for since it can thrive in indirect or direct light and needs only weekly watering and regular commercial soil with minimal fertilizer. Don't expect it to blossom overnight, though. On average, it takes a couple of years for an ananas plant to bloom—and even longer to bear fruit.

growing pineapple
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Puya Bromeliad

Native to Costa Rica, Argentina, and other parts of South America, the puya is one of the largest bromeliad genera with more than 200 subspecies. This plant is known for its enormous size—it can grow up to 30 feet fall and nine feet long—and its spiky rosette shape that looks like a yuca or agave plant. Unlike the other bromeliads on this list, puyas are grown terrestrially (i.e., in the ground) and can survive in dry, harsh climates. They're not the best indoor houseplants because of their large size, but they make excellent additions to an outdoor garden. Not only are they stunning, but they're also protocarnivorous, meaning they'll catch, eat, and decompose small critters for nutrition.

puya raimondi cordillera blanca huaraz ancash peru south america
REDA&CO - Getty Images

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