Wholesale Bromeliads of Australia

Newsletter No 14 - March 2013

by Wholesale Bromeliads 3. March 2013 06:22

Many thanks to all those who have been waiting many months for this Newsletter & updated Price List. 

Most bromeliads love a stable environment & that's exactly what we haven't had this Spring & Summer. First we had a dry Spring with many in our area buying in water to fill their water tanks. Fortunately we use bore water with a back up from a creek so we were ok.

Then came Australia's hottest summer with 40 degrees plus on many days which scorched a few neos which are usually ok (these included Charm, War Paint, Knockout, Red Gold & Home Fires)

Then along came Oswald late January with it's massive winds & heavy rain & it's rained every day since. We run outside to rejoice & the animals howl & the broms look so happy on the few occasions we have seen blue sky. We are, at the time of writing this newsletter, flooded in once again & I am organising an updated Price List under an umbrella to try to keep the paper work dry.

New Bromeliads on our Price list 

We have quite a few new additions to our price list this Autumn - Billbergias, Skotak Mini Neoregelias & Foliage Vrieseas in particular.

Guzmania 'Penny Wise'

This bromeliad is still being sold incorrectly as Guzmania pennellii. It was originally imported into Australia from Jeffery Kent (USA) as Guzmania pennellii however it had been incorrectly identified. It is unlikely that it will be formally described as a new species because there is no collecting data. So Peter Tristram decided to name it 'Penny Wise'. It's a beautiful guzmania which flowers to about 60cm high. We'll have some for sale soon - still building up stock.


Preparing Bromeliads for Competition

For those who love the challenge of showing bromeliads for competition, here are a few guidelines:

  • Use a pot that is undamaged, is the correct size for the particular bromeliad & is sparkling clean.
  • Make sure the pot is not overfull with potting mix (or too low)  & no weeds or rubbish.
  • Ensure the bromeliad is centred in the pot & growing straight / symmetrically. It needs to have been grown on a level surface &, if necessary, moved regularly if growing towards the sun.
  • The leaves should be unmarked & don't leave 'bits of leaf' showing if lower leaves have been removed. Don't overdo this removal.
  • The bromeliad must be perfectly clean & insect free.
  • Try to provide a stable growing environment so that the bromeliad has steady growth (not obvious different stages of growth) & good conformation (appearance) - not always easy. 
  • Provide the right amount of fertiliser & light so that the bromeliad is well grown, has good colour & markings, is healthy & is the right size for that particular bromeliad. If over fertilised, it may become long & lanky, lack colour or be too large for that variety. 
  • The inflorescence should be undamaged & clear, bright colours. Remove any spent blooms or bracts. 
  • It is best to show mature plants but not over mature ('past it').

Fertilising Green Leafed Neoregelias with Coloured Centres

Most neoregelias with green leaves & brightly coloured centres (eg Grant Groves hybrids - Magali; Michi; Puppy Love; Tangerine; Grace / carolinae) do better with more shade than other neos (75-80% in summer) & more fertiliser.

We use a generous teaspoon of controlled release fertiliser (N:P:K - 14:2:15) per 140mm pot.

We still don't foliar fertilise any of our neos - but have heard of one person who uses seasol (which is high in potassium) with good results & will give this a trial run (don't know the dose but will start with full strength & pull back if necessary).

* We still use 1/2 teaspoon of nine months high Potassium controlled release fertiliser on most other neos (administered only once). We don't use any on our marbled, species or mini neos.


This genus name is from the genus Canistrum & the greek 'opsis' (resembling). All 12 species of this genus are endemic to Brazil. 

Canistropsis has had a long history. It was created as one of the several subgenera of Nidularium in 1891. The Nidularium genus was reduced to 2 subgenera in 1896 with one plant in Canistropsis = Canistropsis burchellii. In 1935 the Canistropsis subgenus was elevated to a new genus Aregelia (Neoregelia) with 2 species burchellii & microps. These 2 species were moved back to Nidularium in 1955 but with no subgenus ( in the 1979 Smith & Downs monograph, the Canistropsis subgenus returned).

When Elton Leme did the 1986 revision of the Nidularioid Complex of bromeliads in the Atlantic Forest portion of Brazil, Canistropsis returned as genus & included 12 species & some forms. 

Characteristics of the Canistropsis Genus are:
  • small to medium sized plants
  • stoloniferous habit
  • spread over the Atlantic Forest
  • Narow or thin leaf rosettes
  • Leaves in a species can be entirely green or green with a wine purple surface
  • Petals are sub erect to spreading as opposed to Nidularium which are always erect.
  • Fruit colour is orange-yellow which is never seen in Nidularium. 
There are quite a few cultivars of Canistropsis billbergioides which have a lovely array of colour & have been named after fruits:

APRICOT: Primary bracts deep yellow orange / leaves green
BLOOD ORANGE: Primary bracts reddish orange / leaves green
CITRON (was citrinum): Primary bracts yellow / leaves green
GUAVA: Primary bracts rose / leaves green
LEMON: Primary bracts light yellow / leaves green
MANDARIN: Primary bracts mandarin red / leaves maroon
MULBERRY: Primary bracts dark orange - mulberry / leaves reddish both sides 
PERSIMMON: Primary bracts orange / leaves green
PLUM: Primary bracts apricot / leaves maroon both sides
TAMARILLO: Primary bracts orange flushed mulberry / leaves rusty both sides
TUTTI FRUTTI: Primary bracts orange flushed mulberry / leaves green

Temperature: Temperate or subtropical climates. They are quite cold hardy & therefore suitable for the garden as well as indoors. 

Light: Heavy shade. Along with Nidulariums, they like more shade than any other genus (summer 90% shade / winter 70% shade).

Fertiliser: We apply 1 teaspoon per 140 mm pot of controlled release fertiliser (N:P: K - 14:2:15) & reapply when run out.

Water: Keep moist but not wet.

Potting Mix: Needs to be free draining

Canistropsis 'Citron'

Canistropsis 'Persimmon'

Happy growing,

Bob & True Grant