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

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Forum: Australian and New Zealand Gardening

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splinter1804 wrote:
Hi everyone Ė It was beautiful out in the yard this morning and I managed to get a bit more work done, but then the cold south westerly wind started up again and now itís decidedly unpleasant so Iím back inside for the afternoon.

Karen Ė Nice to hear from you. I know just what a ďpain in the bumĒ blood pressure can be when it decides to play up, anyway take it easy and remember all of the bromís will still be there when it settles down again and you can get back out amongst them.

Sue Ė Talking about those Nudicaulis x seedlings, I have one that hasnít flowered yet and it has seven pups on it. However when I looked at the history on the back of the label I see that it was one of the ones I was experimenting on with different fertilizers. What did I feed it I hear you ask? Just a double dose of good old Blood and Bone and I know this for sure by looking at the back of the label where I record the plantís history. Usually Iím a bit light with fertilizers when I repot and just give 3Ē pots 1 gm., 4Ē pots 2.5 gm., 5.5Ē pots 5gm. This time I tried the 4Ē pot with a double dose (5gm.) and you can see the result in the first two picís, one from the front and one from the back of the plant. Iím just starting to catch up with my reading of posts while my computer was playing up and I notice you posted a pic of three Thunderbird seedlings on the 8th Aug. Were these from a cross you did or were they some you got from me when you visited? The reason I ask is there are a lot of similarities with some of the ones I now have which are about the same size. Yu ďbunkerĒ as you describe it is looking better with each pic you post, a good job well done.

Shirley Ė You say you didnít clean up the mess before you took the picís; oh how I wish my yard was in a mess like yours, and how about your visitor? Does he/she visit very often? I think itís just wonderful.

Wendy Ė Iím so sorry to hear that Johnnyís Mum isnít too well and I really feel for the both of you as I know just what itís like.

I really like the picís you have posted today, theyíre great looking plants. I hadnít heard of Neo ĎPeggy Baileyí before now, but itís easy to see how names get mixed up especially with variegated plants as they can look so different from year to year and from location to location, and itís really hard to know whatís what.

Sue - About your question on Billbergia hybridization, I think Wendy would be the person to ask as she has had a bit of success getting seed from her plant. I have never yet been successful in obtaining seed and I sent in a question on this very topic to the Bromeliad Forum seeking some help. Iíll post the answers I got below as they might help you, especially the one from Lisa Vinzant who is a well-known hybridizer from Hawaii who has bred many Billbergia hybrids thirty eight of which are registered and can be seen on the BCR (


Hi everyone,
Can someone please tell me what I am doing wrong in my attempts to pollinate Billbergias. Everything I read says they are one of the easiest plants to work with and yet I still can't get any of my attempts to take.
I have tried pollinating the flowers from 9.00am till 12 noon and everywhere in between, the reasons being I thought that any earlier and it may be too cold with present temperatures between 8-14 degrees C and any later the flowers may no longer be receptive, but not a single seed pod. There is heaps of pollen and I always wait until the stigma has the little drop of honey dew like fluid on it before I try. I have tried it with plants which are well known breeders with good track records but still no luck; so what am I doing wrong?
All of my attempts are done outside in a shade house, and I thought perhaps I should be bringing these plants inside to pollinate them but then I thought, pollination occurs outside naturally in nature so why shouldn't the same occur here. The flowers will start to die and the base starts to discolour and change shape but then it just shrivels up and dies off.
Thanks in advance
All the best, Nev.


Hi Nev,
I've never tried pollinating Bills, but I've had plenty out in the garden for years and I've never noticed any berries. Strange?
Cheers, Paul


Try earlier, before sun rise even. Bring the plant inside if you're worried about the temperature.



Strange Nev. Maybe they're just shy? Kinda like when the Doc hands you the little jar and says "give me a sample". Can't go when the pressure's on. Give 'em some quality time alone.



Sounds like you're doing everything right, Nev. You might try bringing them in the house, just in case they're getting wet or the cool temps are inhibiting them. Otherwise, I don't know what to suggest.
My earliest attempts at Bill pollination didn't produce anything either. At that point I wasn't emasculating them or going about it in any kind of a methodical way-- just brushing whatever was blooming against each other out of idle curiosity, the way newbies often do. In retrospect, it's a good thing none of them set up, although I'm not sure why they didn't. That experience led me to believe that they were difficult to hybridize, so I was a bit reluctant to try it again once I got more serious about the process. Once I did, however, I had much better results than the early experiments would have predicted. Of course it's never 100%, but based on what you've said, you should be seeing something.



Agree with Lisa, we have no trouble with Bills here, I pollinate around or between 10am and 12 but I don't know if that matters to much, after you have done your pollination Nev. go back to the flower about an hour later and re do it over, I did that on a plant I was having a problem with and got it, bit disappointing when you Nev are so into wanting to raise some seedlings and you miss out for a couple more years with those particular plants, good luck


Finally a few pic's to finish with, first and second, the front and back view of the Ae. Nudicaulis seedling I spoke of with the multiple pups, third Acanthostachys strobilacea flower, fourth Acanthostachys pitcainoides flower and finally Ae. Ornata flower.

All the best, Nev.

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