Wholesale Bromeliads of Australia

Newsletter No 9 - March 2011

by Wholesale Bromeliads 23. March 2011 04:52

Both humans & plants are enjoying the milder, fine weather of Autumn. This Spring & Summer have been one of our coldest & wettest though we were very lucky to miss out on the devastating floods. This was followed by sudden intense heat which tested a few of our broms. Most however were fine. They are looking bright & perky now with the lovely Autumn weather.

It's been a time too when our thoughts have been with those affected by floods & earthquakes. Hard to imagine the destruction, loss of life & hardships.

We're making a concerted effort to get photos of most of the bromeliads on our price list up on the website. It's a big task & will take some time. 

Also - a reminder that we are able to send gift vouchers for our bromeliads as well as sending them to people as gifts.

EVENTS: The Wavell Heights Bromeliad Show was successful as usual with an even bigger variety of plants for sale. Was great to meet some of our newsletter subscribers who were able to attend. Next one in October - will notify dates as soon as known.

21st & 22nd May - We'll be at the Orchid & Garden Expo at the Oasis Shopping Centre, cnr Surf & Victoria Ave, Broadbeach QLD (9am start).

FEATURED BROMELIADS: We now have for sale some lovely seedling hybrid foliage vrieseas that are beginning to show the characteristics of their parents (example photo below). They will improve as they mature & are listed on our current price list. Photos of them are on our website. As seedlings, they do vary - but if any are significantly different from the photo shown, we'll email a photo of the plant for sale.

We also have a selected number of our mini neos on special - list & information sent with price lists. Photos of those on special are in the neoregelia section of the Bromeliad Gallery.

NEOREGELIAS - PART 3

PROPAGATION

As with most bromeliads, after flowering the mature neoregelia goes into a slow decline - but small offsets (pups) develop from buds at the base of the plant (vegetative propagation). When a pup is about 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the mother (taking into account both the height & width), it can be removed & repotted. The base of the pup should also feel firm. The decision to remove the pup is also affected by the way it is developing on the mother. If growing 'lopsided' with most of the leaf growth on one side, then it's best to remove it earlier (ie 1/3 the size of the mother) & repot to encourage symmetrical growth. 

If possible, avoid the extremes of hot & cold weather when removing pups. So ideal is mid October - November & February - mid March (in the tropics in the wet season). My experience has been that if offsets are removed in the colder months, growth does not occur till it's warmer, & the plant just doesn't ever do as well. 

Neoregelias can be grown from seed but this is a slow, complicated process. It is the technique required to hybridise for the adventurous.

Some people prefer not to remove the pups & to allow the plant to clump & grow as nature intended. We allow the neos in our garden to do this. Also neos that send out pups on stems (stolons) lend themselves to being grown in clumps. However, generally neos are more attractive as a single plant & more pups will be obtained if you remove them & pot up separately.

HINTS:

  • When removing the pups, we only take the plant out of the pot with the most difficult - this is due to time & also experience. If you are a beginner or are dealing with only a few plants, it's a good idea to do this first so that you can see what you are doing. Also remove any leaves from the base of the pup by splitting them longways first, then tugging each half away from the mother.
  • Use a serrated knife (10 - 15cm long) & slide it right down between the mother & the pup, gently tilting the pup a little away from the mother so you can do this. 
  • Cut the pup off with a sawing action close to the mother whilst making sure not to cut into the parent. Gently tilting the pup further away as you go often helps.
  • Repeat the above till all pups large enough have been removed.
  • Clean up the mother, removing any dead leaves. Repot. Top up with potting mix if necessary & give a pinch of slow release high in potassium if these are the first pups removed. The mother will likely produce 1-2 more batches.
  • If you cut the pup off too high and the base is not firm & 'woody', it may not survive.  Still worth giving it a chance. Let it dry out for a few days. Then treat with a fungicide (no copper) & pot as usual.
  • Pot the pup into the normal size pot & potting mix (small pups 1cm deep & large ones 5cm deep to prevent rotting). Stake to keep stable if necessary as they need stability in order to grow optimally.
  • Some smaller growing neos & mini neos are stoloniferous ie they produce pups on the end of a stem or stolon. Cut the pup off with sharp secateurs, leaving .5cm - 1cm of stem on the pup. The stem left on the mother can be trimmed back as it won't produce any more pups. The mother may still produce more stolons.

GROWING A NEOREGELIA THAT HAS BULK

*This article is reproduced with the kind permission of John Catlan from his booklet 'Bromeliads Under the Mango Tree'

I am NOT referring to the length of the leaf.
I am NOT referring to the size of the plant
I am referring to the number of good leaves that the plant can maintain at any one time.
I am referring to the size of the plant stem both diameter & length.
All pups that miss their first flowering season will be better looking.
More time to grow, more leaves & the core of the plant will be bigger.
Here is the tricky bit.
Too much fertilizer - greener plant, longer leaves, more leaves.
Just the right amount of fertilizer - good colour, each row of leaves slightly shorter. This makes a show plant. If you get it just right, a lot of leaves & the old leaves slow to deteriorate -  plant with bulk.

'Lord give me the skill to grow a brom so big, that even I
When speaking of it to my friends, will never need to lie.'
 
NEXT: Foliage Vrieseas & Mini Neoregelias

Happy growing,
Bob & True Grant


Vriesea seedling platynema var. variegata x 'Milky Way'