The bromeliad family includes more than 1,500 species that grow in the United States. These plants offer gardeners a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors to work with. Many bromeliads adapt to the growing conditions imposed upon them by their environments.
Large bromeliad species, such as Aechmea conifera, can grow up to 10 feet tall and wide. Dyckia maritima reaches 6 1/2 feet. The Hechtia melanocarpa, a Mexican native, develops a 5-foot rosette and shoots flowers 8 feet into the air.
Moderate-sized bromeliads satisfy the needs of most gardeners. These plants grow well as container plants and occupy only a few feet of space. Billbergia amoena reaches 3 feet and offers growers a showy but short-lived flower. Cryptanthus bahianus or fosterianus both spread to approximately 2 feet wide.
Bromeliad growers who require small bromeliads confine their growth by providing the plants with its full light requirement while limiting fertilization and water. Small bromeliads include the Aechmea comata, which grows up to 20 inches tall, and the tiny 2-inch specimen Aechmea recurvata var. benrathii.