Wholesale Bromeliads of Australia

Newsletter No 8 - November 2010

by Wholesale Bromeliads 8. November 2010 05:25

Apologies for the gap between newsletters. We spent quite a few weeks away this winter & have therefore had a super busy spring catching up. We removed lots of pups in October & more will be ready in a month or so. Our broms are loving the gentle weather we are experiencing with days around 23 degrees C & cooler nights. They are growing before our eyes.

We have some new staff members - a new receptionist (first photo below) & as we've had to beef up security, our broms are now looked after by the characters in the second photo below.

EVENTS: Our Wavell Heights Bromeliad Show went off really well as usual. Lots of people came along & it was good to see many familiar faces.

We also had a stall at the Gold Coast -Tweed Orchid Fair that was held this weekend at the Tweed Heads Civic Centre.  It is worth a visit for those who are close enough - lots of beautiful orchids including a judged show & of course our beautiful bromeliads.

FEATURED BROMELIAD: We now have a lovely hybrid Guzmania from Deroose called 'Patricia' which gives vibrant red colour & lovely symmetrical green foliage - see third photo below (used with the kind permission of Deroose Plants). The inflorescence is very similar to a x Guzvriesea hybrid. It's great for indoors or a shady spot on a patio or in the garden.  They are $15 for a mature plant.

WATERING AT MIDDAY IN SUMMER:This is another snippet from John Catlan's 'Bromeliads Under the Mango Tree' reproduced here with his kind permission. John's booklet is available from him or from the Gold Coast Bromeliad Society.

 I would like to lay to rest what I believe is a misconception on watering: Don't water bromeliads in the middle of the day because you will burn or cook them. Well I've watered kids, dogs & myself - it cools us down & the evaporation cools us down even more. With bromeliads it relieves a stressful situation. The only plant I can bring to mind that turns to mush when watered in the middle of the day is lettuce. This may explain origins of this piece of misinformation.



Neoregelias are very sensitive to light, fertiliser & pot size.

LIGHT: Correct light is essential to develop & maintain their beautiful leaf colour & compact growth. Neos need bright indirect light or dappled sun (are ok with direct early morning sun). In too much shade they will grow long & strappy & go green. In too much sun they will burn.

A few neos are more sun tolerant but even these appreciate protection from the summer midday heat (cruenta, johannis,compacta, macwilliamsii, marmorata, olens, 'Fireball', sarmentosa, tigrina, bahiana). 

Variegated neos need more shade as do those with green leaves & coloured centres (eg 'Tangerine', carolinae, 'Nuance').

Shadecloth: 50% winter & 70-75% summer.

TEMPERATURE: Neos are fairly hardy but protection from frosts is recommended. High temperatures don't harm the plants, but foliage colour fades when nights are hot. Normal colour returns when night temperatures drop to near 18 degrees C or lower.

WATER: They do best if grown on the dry side. Water the central cup & the potting mix & allow the mix to almost dry out before watering again. As a guide, water 2 x week in late spring/summer/early autumn  & 1 x week rest of the year. However they will survive on a lot less - 1 x month in winter & 2 x month in summer. Flush out the cups once a week if possible.

AIR: Neos are epiphytic & need good air circulation.

POTS: They prefer to be under potted. Our miniatures go into 90mm & 100mm pots. Most others go into 150mm pots. Larger varieties (eg richteri, 'Gee Whiz') go into 170mm pots.  

POTTING MIX: Must be free draining. We use the same mix as for our Guzmanias & find it works well (see newsletter No 5).  

FERTILISING: Proper application of fertiliser is crucial for producing good quality neos. They respond well to light feeding with a high potassium (K) slow release fertiliser. 

We apply one that lasts for 8-9 months (1/2 teaspoon per 150mm pot) & don't fertilise again. It is important not to fertilise heavily as the plant nears maturity.

Some people prefer to use a slow release that lasts for only 3 months - you need to use it on rooted pups so they are able pick it up in these early months.

The granules can be placed on top of the potting mix (spread around the pot) or mixed in with it.

It is suggested that using foliar fertiliser on neos causes the leaf markings to fade. We get good results with just the slow release.

PESTS & DISEASES: Main problems are scale & fungal disease (see Guzmanias in Newsletter No 6).

Treat scale with a systemic insecticide such as Folimat, Confidor or "Chemspray' Antiscale.

Fungal problems can occur during periods of prolonged rain. Treat with Mancozeb Plus or Fongarid. AVOID FUNGICIDES WITH COPPER.

SHOW QUALITY PLANTS: In order to produce show quality neoregelias, it is necessary to maintain them under the same conditions throughout their pup to bloom cycle. Their tight symmetry can be ruined by a major change in light intensity, light direction, temperature range or feeding.


NEXT: Neoregelias Part 3 - Propagation

Happy Growing,

Bob & True Grant