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Australian and New Zealand Gardening: BROMELIADS FOR NOVICES & ADDICTS APRIL 2012, 1 by splinter1804

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Forum: Australian and New Zealand Gardening

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splinter1804 wrote:
Hi everyone – I spent quite a productive day in the garden yesterday, weeding and sorting out plants at long last. The weather was beautiful; so I thought I’d “make hay while the sun shone”. I couldn’t get over how fast the 3” pot size seedlings have grown and soon I’ll have to pot them on as well. Quite a lot are showing hints of their colour and patterns and there are quite a few from a Neo. George’s Prince crossing that are exhibiting nice wide leaves even at this early stage.

Karen – I hope you are continuing on the path to “wellness”, and doing exactly as the doctor tells you and not trying to do too much. That’s a good idea of Wendy’s about the little Vr. sanderiana seedlings. I’ll send your plants up with hers on Monday, and she can “brom sit” them for you until you are well again.

Tash – Well it’s about time you dropped in to say gooday. I thought you had gone “walk-about” it’s so long since you visited. Even though you were having rot problems it doesn’t mean you can’t drop in and see us, the rot can’t be passed on via D.G. you know. Hopefully things are now on the up and up and I’m still hopeful you’ll get some pups from the damaged plants. I’ve found that Vrieseas are just as resilient as any other brom's and in a lot of cases more so.

I have a Vr. Red Chestnut which is one of those plants that will pup before flowering whereas my other two R.C’s haven’t as yet pupped and I suspect they are going to wait until after they have flowered. I had an old mother of this particular plant which I had removed four pups from in Dec last year; (up till that time I had already taken a total of seven) so that’s eleven in total (which is a record for me) and still it hadn’t flowered. I noticed in early Feb that all the leaves were starting to die back and I thought it had exhausted itself and was dying so I put it in the garden in an inconspicuous place to see what would happen. While I was tidying up yesterday I noticed a small flower spike emerging from the centre. Most of the leaves have almost died and it seems it was still struggling to survive by producing flowers in the hope of getting some seed and reproducing itself. When I looked closer, I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw a couple more small pups emerging. The plant itself was well on the way to dying so I cut off the spike to give the pups a better chance. But it just goes to show how resilient these plants really are; true this is a bit unusual compared to my other Red Chestnuts but I’ve had similar things occur with other genera as well, so let’s hope your plants do the same and produce pups for you.

Breeindy – The pic you posted and which you say you think is a Vr. Chestnut cross. Do you know what it is crossed with? You can certainly see some Red Chestnut traits such as colours and patterning in the leaves which are typical of Red Chestnut which is a C.V. of the fosteriana group, and it certainly looks like turning into a really nice plant for you.

Wendy – Of the five pic’s I posted yesterday, you say, “that's a range of colour out of one batch of seedlings”; and that’s exactly what I thought when they first started to colour up and initially I suspected that ants may have been at work and introduced various other types of pollen into the equation but then I studied the parents more carefully. Concentrica was the seed parent, and as we know is so called because of the concentric rings on the foliage. When you look carefully at pic’s 2, 3, and 4 and even very faintly in pic 1 you can see traces of these concentric rings which have obviously been passed on to some of the progeny. Pic 5 doesn’t exhibit any of these but that may be because the dark colouring is over powering them, who knows?

The other parent is a Neo. Charm x Neo Cracker Jack hybrid, and this plant is a light maroon/burgundy which exhibits spotting on the foliage. Neo. Charm is from Neo. Marmorata crossed with Neo. Chlorosticta which are both species and both also carry spotting, Neo. Cracker Jack on the other hand also has spots and was imported from the USA but the parentage is unknown. So with that amount of spotting in the genetic background, it’s not surprising that around 50% of the seedlings also carry spotting.

So I think this explains why there is such a variety of colours from this crossing with the colours ranging from plain green with purple centres right through to the spotted maroon/burgundy colours.

Who says hybridizing isn’t interesting?

Today I’ll finish with five pic’s of seedlings from the same cross but this time, ones which show the influence of the Neo. Charm x Cracker Jack parent.

All the best, Nev.

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