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Australian and New Zealand Gardening: Bromeliads for novices and Addicts - Dec 2012, 1 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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splinter1804 wrote:
Hi everyone – I suppose you've all been shopping to see what bargains you could get at the Boxing Day Sales; unfortunately there probably wouldn't be any brom's on special there anyway. I spent the day putting the finishing touches to the wind shutters on my shade shelter before I finish off the painting.

Breeindy – You've got some great colour in your “Blanchie”, is it growing out in the open without any protection from the sun? Also nice markings on the Neo. Luna; how much light are you giving that one?

Sue – Glad to hear you had a nice Christmas Day and you were able to eat, eat, eat. Was it a “Kiwi Lunch” including “Fush 'n Chups”...Ha! Ha! I wish I'd been there. I have a big mate who is a Maori and boy does he cook up a storm when we have a “Pete Barbie” He has this half stainless steel beer keg which he has made into a sort of modified camp oven. He cooked a rather large piece of beef which he put in the keg, with vege's and a few other bits and pieces (which he wouldn't tell us about) poured in a can of beer, sealed it up and put it in the ground covered in hot coals. After a few hours and a slab of beer he digs it out and the beef is so tender it just melts in your mouth (I'm dribbling at the mouth just thinking about it).

I like your Epidendrum Fragrans, I haven't seen that one before; is it a small flower like what we call the “Crucifix Orchid” or is it bigger? I also like your Canistropsis bilbergioides variegated; I bought a pup off one of these last year but it hasn't flowered yet so I hope it's as good as yours.

Breeindy – You've just given me a Christmas present as you've posted pic's of my three all time favourite small/medium sized brom's. I like this size of brom as they don't take up a lot of space, are easy to handle and are usually always colourful. A few years back I got a pup of Neo. 'Rosella' from a brom growing friend in Far North Queensland and I followed her instructions and grew it hanging right up just beneath the beige shade cloth.

It grew into a beautiful little well shaped plant which I entered in our annual show and was fortunate enough to win a prize with. My intention with shows is not to deliberately set out to win prizes, but to mainly to share the beauty of these wonderful plants with others and perhaps encourage more people (especially children and young adults) to try their hands at growing them as we need new, younger growers to keep the brom growing fraternity alive and well.

I have found that Ae. Chianti 'Jean' prefers a shadier aspect to maintain the nice deep burgundy coloured foliage; given too much light the foliage colour will bleach out and the plants just don't look nice at all. It's a great plant to grow hanging in a shadier area above Nidulariums and other shade tolerant plants and is a plant that will pup readily and flower easily under these conditions. It is an excellent “burgundy foliage” Aechmea for beginners as it's easy to grow and I have given many away to young folk who show an interest in growing brom's. However, like all plants with burgundy or concolour foliage, it can be a bit cold sensitive if not given a little protection during the winter months

Ian – I have to sympathise with you, as it's most frustrating when D.G. decides to mess around with your posts. I went through a period when it was happening to me also; first I would just get the post all typed up and it would disappear and then the pic's were put in a different order to the order they were posted and during one period I could read the posts of others but couldn't send any myself or sometimes I could just send the post without the pic's. I found that by first typing my post in Microsoft Word and then cutting and pasting it to DG, I never had any more problems (maybe there's a time limit on how long you take to type a post) With the pic's I found that if I reduced the size, they loaded much quicker and once again I never had any more trouble in this area.

Getting back to brom's now and having a close look at your first pic., it is great example of what stage the plant should be when starting out to establish it as a mounted specimen in a tree. The plant isn't too large, but more importantly it has a new pup starting to grow. This is the important part as this pup is what will grow its new roots and anchor the plant to the tree. The mother plant has finished flowering and won't attach itself to the tree so it's up to the pup to provide this attachment. I think the most important part of this type of culture (and it can't be stressed too much) is that the plant must be firmly attached and unable to move. If it can move, the new roots will be pulled off the tree as they try to attach, and plants are then very reluctant to put out new roots in this type of situation if they aren't attached firmly so they can't move right from the start. The other important thing often overlooked, is the fact that these plants will dry out much quicker than those in pots, and consequently need a bit more water, especially in the early stages when they are trying to attach themselves to the host.

When attaching brom's to trees, firstly and most importantly, you need to select a suitable tree; it must not be of the type that sheds its bark annually and should preferably have a rough back for the roots to attach to and have something to “grip”. Select a suitable position on the tree, this can be in the fork as Ian has done or can be on a branch, it doesn't really matter as long as the plant is firm and can't move. Attaching the plant so it doesn't move can be achieved by different methods and the most common is probably “Panty Hose” (bought at $2 shops and not stolen from the clothes line) as they are tight, will stretch, and most importantly, they won't rot. I still remember the look of disdain I got from the girl behind the checkout when I bought the first couple of pairs of these, but I soon put her mind at rest when I told her I used them for tying plants onto host trees or for straining paint.

There are other things to use for tying which are just as suitable and a couple of examples are 25mm strips of old shade cloth which should be stretched firmly whilst tying on the plant and like “Panty Hose” it won't rot or come loose either if attached properly in the first place. Another thing I found very good is a bit of old nylon “Bird Netting” of the type used to net fruit trees; it too has the correct “stretch”, is strong and won't rot either. A friend of mine simply attached his plants by "nailing them on" ouch!. He has found that if the plant has a thick stolen, a nail can be driven through this to achieve a good attachment; but don't used copper or galvanised nails as you'll surely kill your plant; the best ones to use are made of stainless steel.

Select the position the plant is to be grown and wrap the “Panty Hose” (or other tying material) firmly around the tree and the plant, making sure to tie it on firmly with a knot that won't slip.(Any of you that were in the Boy Scouts or Girl Guides will know that a “Reef Knot” is the easiest for this purpose) The other popular misconception is that you must put some Sphagnum Moss or potting mix behind the plant for it to grow into. True the plant will grow roots into these mediums; but in doing so won't attach to the host tree as the roots will preferentially select the easiest medium into which to grow. The heel of the pup (the part where the new roots grow from) should be in direct contact with the tree so the roots have no choice other than the bark onto which to grow and attach.

Wendy – The Ae Lueddemanniana in your first pic. I think is what is commonly called Ae Lueddemanniana 'Rubra' (referring to the colour red). There are others with more pinkish leaves, but the two most common foliage colours they come in are an (olive type) green and the “rubra” colour shown in your (sideways) pic. The flowers on all of the different ones seem to be the same.

I like you little “hot house”, what is it they say, “necessity is the mother of invention”, well the necessity has certainly turned up a great improvised albeit temporary home for these little plantlets. I say temporary because those little seedlings look so healthy they look like they'll soon out grow their new home and be looking for larger quarters.

That's a beautiful epiphyllum flower; I don't know anything about these nor do I grow them but it really is a beautiful flower. Are they short lived like most of these beautiful types of flowers? It's good to hear you are in contact with Karen; we haven't heard from her for so long I was wondering how she's getting on with her health problems. Can you ask her to drop in and say “good day”? It will be good to hear from her again..

That's it for today, I can't wait any longer for Sue so I'll finish with something a bit different and show some pic's taken by Chanin Thurot, my “Brom Friend” from Thailand. These are some pic's he took at a Thai Plant Market; doesn't it make you wish we had markets like that over here? Notice the nice filled in shape and the large number of leaves that the Thai growers seem to be able to get on their Neo's. Obviously it's a combination of climate and grower skill to produce such spectacular results.

All the best, Nev.

This message was edited Dec 27, 2012 1:54 PM

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