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Australian and New Zealand Gardening: Bromeliads for novices and Addicts - Dec 2012, 5 by splinter1804

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In reply to: Bromeliads for novices and Addicts - Dec 2012

Forum: Australian and New Zealand Gardening

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Photo of Bromeliads for novices and Addicts - Dec 2012
splinter1804 wrote:
Hi everyone – Wow! Only four more sleeps till Christmas, hasn't it come around fast this year?

Greetings to all those who are just watching in but not posting, but most of all, to our good friends who were regular posters but haven't posted for a while due to health problems. I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and a bountiful new year and may your brom's give birth to multiple pups.

It's 4.00am here and I can't sleep as this bloody thumb keeps throbbing so I though I'd just do a bit of “brom talking” to kill a bit of time, so please excuse me if this post isn't as long as it usually is.

Trish – The plant of Jen's that you like is Neo. 'Blast' and not 'Blast Off', it is like a lot of variegated plants which because they are often a little unstable, occasionally produces a wonderful surprise such as this; a beautiful plant but very often just a “once off” before it reverts back to where it was before. However we always keep our fingers crossed that it will produce more of the same and become a stabilised cultivar of Neo 'Blast' which can then be registered and named.

Sorry, but I can't help you with the Neo 'Reverence'; in fact I think you would have a better chance of getting it up there than I would down here as it's a Grace Goode hybrid registered in 2001 and comes from Neo. 'Tangerine' x 'One and Only' and there should be a bit of it around up in your area.

Yes Trish Brassia Verrucosa is one of my favourite orchid species which flowers reliably every year at Christmas time without fail. It has 23 spikes on it this year, not quite as good as last year (25) so maybe it's time I re-potted it and gave it a bit of food and moire space to grow. It seems to like growing in that shallow terracotta saucer but the trouble is that the one it's in now seems to be as big as they get so I may have to break it into two plants something I really don't want to do but something I probably need to do whether I like it or not.

As for your little seedlings with the bit of Algae starting to grow on them, I have often removed the lid on my seedlings suffering the same fate without any problem. Just make sure they are not in strong light and put it back on again at night. I am however in a different climate to you so I can't guarantee it will work the same way for you, so I would suggest you just try it for a couple of hours each day and gradually increase the time the lid is off making sure that they don't dry out.

Shirley – As far as postage costs go, I was told by the nice young lass in our Post Office that it doesn't matter what size the box is, if you can keep the weight below 500gm you can send it anywhere in Australia for $6.60 and this is something I've done many times as I send plants to S.A., Vic and Qld. This seems to be a standard rate and it's when it's
over this weight that they start to measure the box as well. I have found that poly-styrene boxes are the best as they are strong and “light as a feather” and can be used over and over. I use broccoli boxes for large lots of plants and a smaller size box which grapes come in for the smaller plants. Down here, the small ones are available at most fruit shops free of charge but the broccoli boxes in some shops cost $1 as they have to pay a deposit on each box.

As far as 'Cane Fire' goes, it is albo-marginated just like Neo 'Predator' but like Predator, I don't see why it can't sometimes revert and lose the light coloured leaf margins. It's a Shane Zaghini hybrid from a cross of Neo. (Carolinae x Concentrica) x Barbarian. I know that when variegated plants lose their variegation and produce “plain coloured pups” they should have have the word “NOVAR” (NO VARiegation) written after the name so as not to deceive the person buying the plant into thinking the variegations will come eventually. In the case of a plant like yours which has lost the "albo" leaf margins, I don't know what that's supposed to be called as it's not a true 'Cane Fire', nor is it a NOVAR either. Does anyone else have anything to add to this? To see the picture of the “real deal” go to:

Sue – Sorry to hear you're copping it so hot up there. I guess we should be thankful for our afternoon “Nor'easters” which blow a cooling breeze off the sea almost every afternoon and are a great relief on hot days, but then on other days they can be quite strong and uncomfortable so I guess there's just no pleasing us. One thing for sure is that we can't change “Mother Nature” so best try and work with her, that's why I made the shutters to break the force of the strong south winds.

I really like the little yellowish coloured miniatures in your garden bed in your pic.2 and when you have a spare pup or two I would be glad to swap for something I have that you would like.

What you say about the lady at the markets selling brom's identified from a similar pic in a book reminds me of what happened to me a couple of years back. There was a lady at Kiama Markets who sold brom's and did a similar thing, but on one particular day she had a heap of Vr Ospinae plants (about half grown) which she said she didn't have a name but thought they might be a “new sort of brom” but wasn't sure, hence the price ($1 each). Naturally I bought the lot, but then feeling a bit guilty, I went back later and bought a couple of her other plants at the right price.

Jen - It's interesting you mention Neo 'Moby Dick', the day after Ian suggested my unnamed plant could be Moby Dick I was poking around the plants and saw a similar plant which had grown much larger than I had remembered it. When I looked at the label it was Neo. 'Moby Dick' and written on the back of the label was all the usual details I write followed by “Jen” so I knew where it came from. You see my memory isn't as good as yours, that's why I write these things down on the name tag. All I need to do now is somehow transfer all of this information onto a computer file and I'll have it at my finger tips. Many times I have made a start but have got side tracked and never finished it, so maybe it might have to be a New Years Resolution.

I like your Neo Marmorata albo-marginata, I haven't seen that one before and it certainly makes a nice “centre piece” among all of your other variegated plants.

Shirley – It never ceases to amaze me of the quality of the NOIDS you seem to be able to “dig up” from different places; you have posted some beautiful NOIDS during this last year and to top it off your Pic.2 today is yet another NOID and probably the darkest colour I have ever seen with a nice shape as well. Please put me down for a pup when ever you get a spare.

The pups you sent arrived in great condition yesterday so an “early Christmas present for Nev”. I'll wait until after the Christmas mail rush before I send your plants back.

Wendy – Regarding your seedling containers requiring a lot of watering once the lids are off, what I do is this: When I remove the lids I also use an angle grinder to cut drainage holes in the bottom of the containers and sit them all in a cut down broccoli box (six to a box) into which I've put a bed of 25mm of Coco Peat on the bottom. I first give this Coco Peat a good soaking and as the broccoli box has no holes in the bottom every time you water, the excess runs through the container and into the Coco Peat in the bottom of the box. This maintains a continually moist bed of Coco Peat which creates humidity and also is a reserve from which the plants can draw water. Being continually damp it also seems to encourage quicker root growth on the plantlets in the containers. By using this method I only need to water them once a week in hot weather and once every three weeks during the cooler months. (Your climate will dictate how often you need to water).

Sue – I like you little Miltonia. Did you know there are two different types, the type you have and another much hardier type more closely aligned to Oncidiums. This second type has similar cultural requirements to Oncidiums and the Brassia genera.

Today I'll finish with a few more pic's, Pic.1 is for Wendy and is of my cut down broccoli boxes with the seedling containers in them on a bed of Coco Peat; Pic's 2 and 3 show the shutters in the open position from a couple of different angles. There's still a bit of painting to be done but you'll get the idea. I racked my brain for a suitable way to hold them open but finally decided on the KISS system and just made simple props out of the same size timber that the shutters were made from. This was just 10cm (second hand) treated pine decking ripped down the centre to give me 5cm wide strips. I got this from our rail museum as people often deliver old paling fences for us to burn in the boilers and occasionally they will also drop of a bit of “treated stuff' as well. As we can't burn this because of the toxic fumes it gives off, we either have to pay to dump it at the tip or give it away. Being a scrounger and a re-cycling addict from way back I'm happy to take it off their hands in most cases. , Pic's 4 and 5 show the little metal cleats which I screwed to each side of the props at the top to prevent them slipping off the shutters. (these were what I was drilling when I drilled my thumb).

All the best, Nev.

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