The epiphytic habitat is assumed to be nutrient deficient, although this generally held notion is based almost completely on circumstantial evidence (Zotz & Hietz 2001). Most studies on the nutrient relations of vascular epiphytes focus on nitrogen (Bergstrom & Tweedie 1998, Hietz & Wanek 2003, Stewart et al. 1995). Although nitrogen plays a key role in limiting plant growth worldwide, there is an on-going discussion whether nitrogen or rather phosphorus are more limiting in many tropical forests (Grubb 1989, Harrington et al. 2001, Vitousek & Howarth 1991). To identify which nutritional factor is most limiting for plant growth, nutrient ratios have been proposed as a very useful tool (Koerselman & Meuleman 1996). These authors stated that N:P ratios exceeding 16 are indicative of P limitation, while an N:P ratio <14 suggests N limitation. Some reports of such ratios in the epiphyte literature indicate that phosphorus may indeed be limiting for epiphytes in tropical forests. For example, the N:P ratio of two field-grown bromeliads (Tillandsia circinnata and T. usneoides) decreased dramatically from 23.6 and 40.4, respectively, to 3.6 and 3.4, respectively, when fertilized with both N and P in the laboratory (Benzing & Renfrow 1974a). On the other hand, however, the average N:P ratios of mature leaves of 41 epiphyte species compiled from a number of papers did not appear particularly high (12.1±10.5, cf. Zotz & Hietz 2001).