Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Amazing 10 year old Guzmania & More Good Info on Bromeliads

Exotic, unusual bromeliads! These tropicals, with their colorful and long lasting flowers make a smashing statement wherever they are placed. And they are very easy to care for.

The one pictured here is of the Guzmania genus. I bought this plant from a bromeliad catalog. It had lovely foliage of deep green, with a rich burgundy color emanating from its center. It lived with me for ten years before blooming! This is unusual as they generally bloom after they are a year old. Some plants just don't follow the horticultural rules that we are aware of today!

After blooming the mother plant will begin to die back and new "pups", as they are called in the trade, should begin to appear. After the pups are a few inches tall, the whole planting can be removed from its pot and the pups gently separated from the mother plant and planted into their own containers. I like to pot them in a mixture of 3/4 orchid bark and 1/4 potting soil.

The family Bromeliaceae was named after Olaf Bromelius, a horticultural explorer, in the 17th century. Bromeliads are mainly epiphytic plants, meaning that they grow in trees, although some are terrestrial plants, meaning that they grow in in the ground. The Cryptanthus genus, which is sometimes sold at garden centers, is an example of a terrestrial bromeliad.

The most popular bromeliads for home and office use are the Aechmea fasciata and several Guzmania species. Most of them are indigenous to Central and South America. The lush, silver-gray Spanish moss that flows from trees in the Southern United States is also a bromeliad. And so are those delicious pineapples that hail from Hawaii. Bromeliads are a very interesting family, indeed!

Care Instructions---
  • Bright indirect light or some direct sun. Full afternoon sun is too strong.
  • Let the soil dry out about 1/2" below the top of its media, then soak it well. Bromeliads tolerate drying out quite a bit. 
  • You may find watering it in the sink and letting it drain for a few minutes, the best method for giving it a thorough soak.
  • Keep water in the "cup" which is the center of the plant.
  • A daily misting of water would be appreciated although they do adapt well to indoor humidity levels.  

***For a variety of video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series now on YouTube:


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