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Bromeliads for novices and addicts. April-May 2011

Coffs Harbour, Australia

I think its time we started a new thread for those who have slow connections.
Welcome one and all. Post your bromeliad pics and questions here, or just drop in for a chat. We came from here. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1164337/
This is Aechmea 'Del Mar'
Sue

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shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone,

I'm glad you started a new thread Sue, the other one was getting a bit long wasn't it?

Here's a few pic's of a couple of different clones one of my favourites, Ae recurvata var. Benrathii.

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shellharbour, Australia

2

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shellharbour, Australia

3

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shellharbour, Australia

4

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shellharbour, Australia

5

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shellharbour, Australia

6

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shellharbour, Australia

That's all folks,

All the best, Nev.

Brisbane, Australia

Nev, I love the colour in your Benrathii. I am waiting for mine to flower. Seems everything is reluctant to flower this year, maybe because of all the rain?

This pic is mine from a previous year. Is it more purple because it gets very little light? It is growing on a tibouchina tree, and has been there for many years.

Karen

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shellharbour, Australia

Hi Karen,

I never thought about mounting them on a tibouchina.

I have quite a large one which I'm always threatening to cut down because of all the mess it makes dropping it's flowers on top of a shadehouse roof, It's a pity it's growing where it is otherwise I could mount some benrathii plants on it also.

All the best, Nev.

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Coffs Harbour, Australia

Nice pics, you two. I planted some A. benrathiis in my window boxes this year, and its nice to look out on the few that are flushing pink now. Karen, you must have been a bromeliad grower for quite awhile to ammass such a clump. I've had them in the garden for years also, but they seem to have taken quite awhile to reproduce.
Nev, that Tibouchina looks too nice to remove. Cant you just suspend some shade cloth beneath it to catch the petals/leaves?
I ducked out to the shade house to take a few pics, but only got two or three before the rain started again. I was all enthused after reading the latest bromeliad journal from NZ. Every now and then I go in there and pull out some things to put in the garden. Probably just aswell it rained, or I wouldn't come in untill dark.
Sue
The big one to the left is Aechmea mexicana

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Coffs Harbour, Australia

Here are the broms on the northern side. A bit of a mixture of Vrieseas (far left) Neos (middle) and odd bods on the right.

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Brisbane, Australia

Sue, I love seeing the broms massed together like that. So lovely. The shorter days will soon be turning quite cool, so I guess the plants and ourselves will soon be hybernating. I've had some broms for a very long time, but didn't really get the bug until more recently. Some tough ones out the front need thinning right down now. We have started work out there, and the broms will need to be tidied up. They will also start getting more harsh afternoon sun, so will see how that goes in summer, too.

Nev, the only problem with the tibouchina is the density of the canopy. It doesn't let much sunlight in at all. Your tree looks marvellous and it would be a shame to have to take it down. I am going to start another piece of benrathii and put it where it will get more light, just to see what happens to the colour.

Karen


This message was edited Apr 28, 2011 12:41 AM

shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone,

Karen,I find that benrathii and all of the other recurvatas I have do much better and colour up the best in full sun, wind, rain (the lot) In my opinion, they are "bullet proof" an I grow them in the most exposed areas in the yard. I don't know how they'd go in regular frosts though as we only ever get the mild ones here (very rarely).

Even in the pic below with some other hardy plants, they are right out on the edge for more exposure.

All the best, Nev.


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Brisbane, Australia

Thanks Nev. The pic looks great. I am going to do it!

Karen

Coffs Harbour, Australia

so what did everyone get up to this past weekend? Its awfully quiet in here. Theres even an echo....echo....co...
It rained here most of saturday, but sunday was nice, so just tidied up any dead leaves, checked the progress of seed pods and seedlings, and all is well. I am in need of a bromeliad fix, but it will have to wait untill the sun shines a bit more and I can get on with some work!
Sue

barmera, Australia

Hi Sue and everyone. My broms are doing really well now that I've repotted and de-pupped most of them. Sue the ones you sent are looking so beautiful. Hopefully you'll have some more coloured ones for me soon. John's mouth dropped when he saw them. He went to the markets down his way yesterday and got a pot of 12 or more Aech piramidalis with 2 flowers for $25. Sounds like a great buy to me. Will have my new camera soon so will be able to show you just how good everything is going. Nev did you get your D-mail? Colleen

Hi Sue. Sorry you felt so alone all weekend. I haven't had much time to get on the computer this weekend. We had a family BBQ Sunday for our 40th anniversary. We also had babysitting duty with our Emily. We watched cartoon DVDs, did some creative crafts for Mum for mother's day, built towers with blocks ............. oh and she played horticulturist and potted plants. She'll be working for us soon. You have to laugh when she tells you what she is (horticulchist) and does the demonstration of what to do. We are now babysitting a pot with the roots of a shallot planted in it. The stupid thing is the middle is lifting up above the rest and I think it is actually growing.

Nev, I think I cooked our containers of seeds today. A couple were actually starting to show green shoots too. We had moved the shelf units for our BBQ and this morning I started putting them back but had only moved the seedling unit to the general area and starting bringing the other 2 when we had to take Em home. When we got back the seedling unit was half in the sun and the zips were down so the heat in there was very high. We moved it immediately, unzipped and removed lids etc but we will have to wait to see if they continue growing. Luckily we still have some seeds in the fridge and can harvest more. I'll just get Jen around and we can pull the middles out of neos again. hahaha

Sue has Jen filled you in on our trip to Gympie Wednesday???? we had a lovely day and came home with a boot full of plants and lots of photos. I will upload them to the computer soon and post some for you to drool over. Patersons are such lovely people who made us welcome gave us a cuppa and provided a snack. We returned the favour by making their work so much easier by reducing the number of plants they have to look after. I'm sure they are so grateful for this lighter load hehehehe. We topped it off by calling in to Coolum on the way home to see Cheryl Basic. I came away with some seeds from a couple of vriseas. (I hope they didn't cook today and will still shoot) It was a very very good day.

Wendy

se qld, Australia

Wendy, whenever I have to buy a bunch of shallots I simply use the one or two that I need then plant the rest into the garden for future use. Some people actually do replant the bottom part of the ones they use though, and they regrow with no problem whatsoever, so Emily might be able to teach you oldies a thing or two yet. hehehe.

I can't wait for our little Joshua and Isabelle to be old enough to help out in the garden and kitchen. Josh's Mum has already been warned that when he comes to visit Nan is going to teach him to cook and to be a gardener. Izzy isn't likely to be here nearly as often, but she'll be roped in as well, whenever the opportunity arises. She's nearly 1 now, so the next time we see her she'll be walking and in amongst everything.

Pam

This message was edited May 3, 2011 6:33 AM

shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone,

I have to agree with Sue, it has been very quiet on here lately, I was trying to think what I had said that stopped you all talking to me.

Colleen, what the hell is "D" mail ? I must warn you all I'm very computer illiterate and don't understand a lot of these foreign names, so please be patient and I'll try to learn. I know what E mail is, but "D" mail, does that come after "C" mail?. I also know what a tripod is, but an Ipod, well that's a different matter all together; and now "D" Mail, ......... as Pauline once said "Please explain"????

It must be the season for celebrations, first my youngest grandson's first birthday, then another grandson's second and followed by his mother's -------- (if I write her age I'll be dead!). So we had a combined weekend celebration which I'm still getting over. Just watching three grandsons from 1-4 play, where do they get the energy? I was exhausted just watching them, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Wendy it looks like you've learnt your first painful lesson about raising brom seed. The heat build-up inside those plastic shelters is comparable to the heat build-up in a car parked in the sun with the windows wound up. Never mind, I've got heaps more seed so if you need some replacements just give me a yell. I wouldn't write off the ones that hadn't yet germinated though, as you may find that the extra heat may have been just what the doctor ordered to trigger them into action.

Pam, another thing we always did with our kids when they were little, was to put the end of a carrot that's been cut off on a bed of wet cotton wool in a saucer with about 1/2" of water; the kids got a real kick out of watching the ferny top re-grow.

Enough talking; back to re-potting heaps of prickly Aechmea recurvata benrathii plants and then finding where somewhere to put them.

All the best, Nev.


barmera, Australia

Nev, if you look at the top of the page in DG dave's garden you will see mail. Click on that and it will take you to your D-mails. Mine tells me when I have a message. Colleen

Nev, I think you may be right ..... I checked the seeds today to see how they have coped and the containers that hadn't yet started shooting, appeared to have some spots of green today. Even the ones that had already shot seem to still have green spots showing so hopefully we did the right thing as soon as we saw it. We still have some of the seed left so we had a few bases covered.

Pam you have some good years ahead with the little ones. You just never know what they are going to do next. I bumped into Emily and her mum and baby in shopping centre today. Emily started off saying she was hungry for icecream so we sat down for a cone. When I said I was going into Kmart to top up some clothes in Em's draw at my place she said she would help. They had bought a small wheelie bin which Em was pushing around. We chose a couple of long sleevd tops, a jumper and a couple of legins for her, then chose a pair of shoes and a pair of plastic sandals for next year. When we got to the checkout I was amazed to find about 4 or 5 each of tops and pants. I didn't even see her put them in there. It came to $58 when I was expecting about $30. We're now all topped up for sudden sleep overs.

When I got home from shops it was too late to save the washing from the storm. Em helped me put all the little plants out into the rain. We had just finished when Dad came to take Em home and the heavens opened with lightning and thunder. I'm glad I didn't have to drive in that. And my hubby and son were out in the boat riding out that storm because they didn't have time to get back to the boat ramp. BUT!!!!!! they caught all their best fish during that storm. Thank god Darren is on holidays and I didn't have to go with Johnny and sit that one out. Thank god I was home safe and nearly dry.

Nev you sound like you enjoyed your family gathering as much as I enjoyed mine. I had 4 of my grandkids here on the weekend too but aged 6 weeks, 3, 8 and 12 yrs. Yours sound like a boisterous bunch of boys under 4. I bet you knew they were there.

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sorry I got carried away and clicked before I was finished. The photo is Em and Rylee. We're going to print that one out to put in the photo frames Em painted the other day.

Wendy

shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone,

Yes Wendy, there's nothing better than being with your grandkids and watching all the little changes take place as they develop their own personalities. A little while ago my eldest grandson wouldn't give his little brother a toy he was playing with and I took him aside and explained that although it was his toy, it's still nice to share things with others. The message was understood and he gave his little brother the toy and told him it was "his turn now".

My eldest grandson loves to help in the garden and a few weeks ago we had a change from the norm. as I was doing something in the garage with a screw driver; he was out there "assisting me" as usual and said, "Poppy, I need the screw driver", when I told him I was using it, he just said, "it's nice to share things Poppy". Touche! What goes around comes around. What could I do except give him his turn of the screw driver.

All the best, Nev.

Merino, Australia

Just finished my new brom pole. Now I need advice as this is my first try with broms planted this way. How do I keep them more upright as the water runs out ? I put all of those I thought may be the smaller ones but we will see as they grow.
There are Alley Cat, Gracilis, Fireball, Lilliputiana, Rubra, Inferno and Morning Rain from memory without running out to see .
Hubby drilled the 2"holes for me and I have the pole over a steel post with broken brick in the bottom to keep it steady. I filled the centre with coconut fibre and used more fibre to push in around each one to hold it. Do I need to do anything else or will this be enough for them to grow in ?
Please dont think I have mistreated the plant next to the pole. It was an orphan bought in that condition.
Someone on this thread said maybe V. splenriet ?
The greenhouse is now very full so I have to stop buying broms. Hhmmmmmm...( there is that new empty greenhouse !!!!!!)
NO NO ...I must smack myself.
Jean.

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Hi everyone.
Jean I like you pole. Did you see the Better Homes and Gardens a couple weeks ago where they made a screen wall and put in a panel of those white poly pipes with squares cut in them to plant a vertical wall. I would love to do a screen like that with all different broms. You've given me the incentive to give it a go if I can only find the plans on their website otherwise I will have to make it up as I go.

Nev, I love the things that come out of the mouths of little ones. When I was teaching we would hear personal details of the kids homelife and what parents would get up to. I don't think parents realise the types of things kids go to school and tell their teachers or repeat things they have heard parents talking about at home.

Yesterday I bumped into the little ones at the shops and Emily says "grandma we need to have an icecream now cause Mum didn't give me lunch". I'm sure she probably grazed all day long at home like she does when she is here.

Wendy

Brisbane, Australia

Wendy, teachers have a saying that we tell parents, " If you don't believe what they say happens at school we won't believe what they say happens at home. " And just on a brommy note, Ray and I took a quick dash up to the brom sale at Noosa on Saturday and I got this Vriesea called Warana Down. I like the vertical lines in it. Love your pole Jean.

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Brisbane, Australia

Oops, I meant Marochydore. Also got this Neo Cherry Delight. Jen

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barmera, Australia

Woweeee they're very nice. Colleen

shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone.

Hi everyone,

Jean, firstly let me say that my answers to your questions about your "Totem Pole" are only suggestions, as although I have seen Strawberries successfully grown in this way I have never personally seen or grown bromeliad plants on plastic pipe.

You ask two questions, “How do I keep them more upright as the water runs out?” and “Do I need to do anything else or will this be enough for them to grow in ?”

Let me say that for new plants to establish a good root system they must be firm in or on whatever media they are growing, if they are loose, as soon as the new roots start to penetrate, they will be broken as soon as the plant moves. While ever the plant can move this will continue and the delicate new roots will continually be broken and eventually they just refuse to put down any more roots and live off the sustenance of the original plant instead.

So with this in mind, you need to make sure the plants are firmly attached and can’t move. You will find that after a couple of weeks the growing media will have settled and needs to be firmed up again anyway. I have found when mounting plants, the only successful ways of doing this is to nail the plant on with the nail going through the rhizome and into the mounting (usually wood), by using a suitable waterproof glue, or by tying; and in your case I would advise tying. I have always used thin strips of black plastic bird netting a couple of inches wide; as the tighter you pull on these the thinner and less obvious they will become.

Place the plant in the position in which you want it to grow then locate the strip of bird neting firmly around the lower part of the plant (in your case Neo’s) by passing it behind the lower leaf and attach firmly to the mounting (the plastic pipe) using a reef knot as this won’t slip (Remember your Girl Guide days). To make the whole thing look more appealing, cover the strips of bird netting with “old man’s whiskers” (Tillandsia usneoides) and everything looks natural again. Make sure you check the firmness again in a week or two and adjust if necessary.

Remember that plants grown this way will dry out quicker than those in pots so occasional misting and a regular foliar feeding should keep them happy.

Nice plants Jen, I especially like the Neo though as they have always been my favourites.

All the best, Nev.

se qld, Australia

What Nev said! Just a couple of extra points though. Don't use a silicone product if you decide to glue them on. It can be toxic to broms. Liquid Nails is quite successful. It also comes in clear these days, which some find useful for attaching broms to pieces of wood.

As for tying, I always keep budding tape (also known as grafting tape) on hand for any tying jobs in the garden. It's clear, so isn't too obvious. Although it's easy to tear where you want, to get a suitable length, it's also strong. In spite of our Queensland sun being very harsh, and I've never had it break when in place. It's also dirt cheap these days- around $4 for a roll that goes on forever.

Also, Jean, it's probably a bit late now, but may be worth bearing in mind for your future poles - I think I'd be inclined to use the type of coconut fibre that comes as a mulch block (if you can find the one without added fertiliser). I suspect it would compact a lot less than the loose fibre.

Pam

This message was edited May 5, 2011 7:25 AM

Merino, Australia

Thanks for the great tips on securing my broms. I will do as suggested and use a block of the fibre. . I will also tie them on and be careful with extra watering. I made the pole to have somewhere to put the smaller ones as I cant hang them in the greenhouse.
Thats the only drawback to the plastic greenhouses, they have a light frame.
When moving a few broms so I could get the pole in, I found one of the larger broms has a flower stem . They must really like their new home to be flowering now. I also found that the N. Alley Cat had flowered , but as it used to be up in a basket, I never looked inside.
Jean.

Hampton, Australia

You mention Old Man's Whiskers, alias Spanish Moss. How do you look after it as well as misting? I heard someone is attaching bits to pieces of wood with glue. Can I do this? And the seeds. How do you generate them? I have never seen the flowers, but I need to look with my glasses on, I guess.
Carol

shellharbour, Australia

Hi Carol,

I have found that like all grey leaf Tillandsias, it doesn't like to be overwatered. It does however like plenty of good air circulation and good light, not fully exposed to full direct overhead "scorching" summer sun. I never feed mine and it grows just fine; in fact it grows too fast sometimes and I have to tear clumps off and re-locate them somewhere else or give them away.

I have never glued or tied it to anything, I just drape it over whatever I want it to grow on and forget about it. You can even suspend it from a wire hook (NOT COPPER) and it will grow. Mine is mostly on tree branches or draped over horizontal lengths of thick fishing line strung between two anchor points.

The flowers are minute, and you really need to clean your glasses well to see them clearly. But instead of straining your eyes, have a look at this greatly magnified picture instead.



All the best, Nev.

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Brisbane, Australia

Very interesting advice everyone, thanks. Wendy's husband, Johnny has an excellent way of securing broms using a handtool a bit like a staple gun that bends the wire bits that come with it around the brom and whatever you want to attach it to. Help Wendy, can you explain it better??? They have broms attached to heaps of things all over the yard. Nev, here are a couple more recently purchased Neo photos for you. Jen
Neo Heartbreaker

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Brisbane, Australia

Neo Cee Bee named after Cheryl Basic

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Brisbane, Australia

Neo Dear Friend mini

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Hi everyone.Carol. I haven't seen your name appear before so welcome.

We have a friend in Cleveland who has large clumps of Old Man's wiskers growing on barbed wire attached with plastic pegs. The birds never take any so whenever we run short we top up with some of her clumps. Some of our clumps are attached with wire hooks, some are simply draped over the barbed wire, some are draped over branches. Whatever works and makes it difficult for the birds.

I had a disaster today with our seedlings. I was upstairs babysitting the new baby when the chooks were out. When Johnny came home Max the dog chased the girls out from the back patio but 2 got trapped inside the bottom shelf of the seedling house. Unfortunately the trays on the bottom shelf were all sent flying and spilled. There goes 2 trays of tills which had finally showed signs of shoots after months of persevering with misting. Another tray had achmeas just shooting, and a couple of vriseas which I don't think were ever going to shoot. All up it was nothing I can't replace but thank god the chooks are moving over the road next week. It's lovely to have chooks as pets and have free range eggs but it is a hassle finding someone to come here every day to care for them when we go away and trying to keep them out from under the house can be a pain. They've also developed the habit of getting into the seedlings but they don't worry the bigger plants. I think they even cross pollinate some of them drinking the water from them.

We've started separating the chook shed from between the boat shed and the vrisea shed ready to dismantle next week and rebuild in a neighbours yard the same day. Once this job is all done and vrisea shed enlarged we intend to take off in the motorhome but only for a short trip of about 3 weeks. We're only going half way down NSW but not as far as Sydney unfortunately so will not be visiting your area Nev. Maybe next time. We have to be back in Brisbane for medical appointment in June. We'll grab another short trip later in the year when it's warmer.

Can anyone identify the plant in this photo. I think it is an ananas because of the little pineapple thing on top.

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here is a close up of the pineapple on top.

I can't think of the name of the things Jen is talking about so I'm just going downstairs to take a photo of them for you. I'll be back in a moment.

Wendy

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this is the tool and the clips we use

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