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Hardy houseplants are the bromeliads

One of the most fascinating groups of houseplants are bromeliads, cousins of the pineapple. Many members of the bromeliad family were brought to the US from Central and South America by the French botanist Plumier around 1700. There are around 2, 000 species of bromeliads known today and they get their name from Olaf Bromel, a Swedish physician, who was interested in these plants.

There are two main groups: terrestrial, the kind that grow on the ground; and epyphytic, the kind that thrive in trees.

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Bromeliads are tough houseplans and are ideal in the greenhouse or sun porch where they can be used in pots or hanging baskets.

They prefer a temperature of anywhere from 65 to 80 degrees F. during the day and around 55 to 60 at night. Few insects trouble them but if scales get on them, a mixture of nicotine sulfate and soap will eliminate them.

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