Grow the Bromeliad: An Exotic Tropical Plant~~Pups Will Be Your Prize
My very first pup
A Proud Grandmother
After all these years this is my first 'grandchild'....my very first pup. The cold killed several of my other bromeliads but this one survived and as spring has tried to emerge this baby has been presented to me.
It is indeed exciting. It is with great pleasure I share her with you.
Newly added photos of the 'pups' that have been born from the Momma bromeliad are shown. I am a proud Grandma .
Happy little potted bromeliad
Bromeldiads in my sister's yard in Orlando
Another one in my sister's yard
Bromeliads are rather beautiful and mysterious. I term them exotic tropical wonder plants. they do thrive in tropical zones. That part of their description can be found when researching these plants. The exotic and wonder are terms that to me most accurately fill in the blanks about these unusual plants.
Their forms have a range of diversity that is unexpected. By many they are known as air plants. The more correct term is epiphytes meaning they rely on perhaps a tree for physical support only. Often they are perched on a branch of tree looking quite perky but often not beautifully clothed. They just perch there on the host using that host as a place on which they can lounge around and live out its life.
The most familiar one in the South can be seen in great abundance dripping down branches like icing flows down a newly baked cake that has not quite cooled. Deliciously draping itself over the awaiting resting place it now calls home. Spanish moss is its common name. It really is not showy like some of its relatives but none less catches your eye. Their little cousins which I was told from my youth were air plants resemble a head of untamed hair that is in disarray as if its owner just tumbled out of bed. Usually small clumps of these are found just carelessly hung on a branch minding its own business.
My first pup
Spanish moss cascading from the highest branches
Bromeliads belong to the the Family: Bromeliaceae and the class: Liliopsida. When I read they are monocots my synapses were firing and tossing around that term. "Hey, fellas.Dig out that word. She learned that years ago.' And, as quick as lightning, I recalled that monocot means one seed leaf , one cotyledon . Thank you college Botany teacher. I did pay attention. Botany was one of my favorite classes while I was engaged in my formal education. My not so formal education has continued every day since that time.
Of course I looked the term monocot up to check out my memory. About 25% of all flowering plants are reported to be monocots. The bromeliad grows in humid warm tropical zones from Virginia in the southeastern US to Central and South America and the Caribbean.(I smile as I reread this paragraph. I see I digressed a little. I guess my age is at least indeed beginning to show. Oh, my.)
It seems that about 500 years ago Columbus discovered the pineapple on a visit to the West Indies. It was his second trip to the new world. He found the pineapple was being cultivated there and being intrigued by it gathered up some and returned with them to Spain.
My bromeliads are finished blooming and now busy making 'pups.' They are not quite large enough for you to see the pups yet but when they are, I will post a photo or two of them.
Jpcmc, tattookitty, and seh1101 all have shared information on tropical plants.
Jpcmc has shared how to care for Anthruiums and included photographs of these amazing plants. These are a plant you will want to have in your home.
TattooKitty has shared with us some of the fragrant and lovely flowers of Hawaii many of which inspired perfume scents. Many of these plants will thrive in locations outside of Hawaii which is good news for us.
Seh1101 has written about and given us a number of photographs of the Datura. It grows to be quite breathtaking.
Beautiful to behold
This exotic tropical wonder plant appears on trees and logs awaiting some would be passerby to spy them in all of their glory They are not pretentious nor obtrusive. Their quiet beauty is enough to cause the interloper into their world to pause and gaze if for but a moment.
They range from tiny little wisps of plant material to long-leafed plants with a beautiful center that seems surreal at first glance. The pineapple is one member of this group that we are very familiar with. They are prickly little critters that hold a lovely treat within that coarse exterior. It's cousin, Spanish moss, has been center stage in many movies set in the South. The mystery and eerie feeling that it creates adds leaves no need for words. Surely lurking behind the curtain of moss yet undiscovered secrets await.
If you plan to grow bromeliads out of doors, you will want to be aware of their sensitivity to cold. Provided for you here is some information you will find helpful.
The following information concerning bromeliad sensitivity is from an article by Dale Jenkins from the Florida Bromeliad Society which was published in 1998. At the link provided there is also one that was published in 2007. This information will be of value if you are a novice bromeliad grower as I am.
http://fcbs.org/articles/ColdHardyBroms.pdf Because the lists contained within the article are very long I have provided the link so you can peruse the information as desired.
Air plant. ...at a local store in town
Pesky mosquitoes and bromliads
Exotic and alluring, the bromeliad often grows in a rosette design. The leaves are large and often have spines which can be prickly. in nature they often are seen clinging to a tree branch or log via their roots. The cup-like design catches water and nutrients which provides nourishment for it.
Bromeliads are an excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes. The leaves are shaped to hold water in which larvae will grow and multiply. It is suggested by the Pinnellas County Public Works that you can check for yourself to determine if they have taken up residence in your plants. Scoop up some water in a clear container. If you can see small pale worm like critters swimming within the water they are mosquitoes waiting to grow up.
There are several solutions to the problem:
- Rid your yard of the bromeliads
- Hose down the plants to remove any nutrients the larvae find appealing
- Spray them with a safe-for-plants and animal pesticide
- Use Bti which is effective for three weeks.Bti is is formally known as bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. Interestingly enough it is a bacteria that will infect and kill mosquito larvae. It is very selective and kills only mosquito larvae, gnats, and black flies. It is said not be harmful to other insects, birds, fish, or mammals.
- It is also recommended that a fertilizer that is safe for bromeliads be used. It will not provide nutrients for the mosquito larvae. More information about the fertilizer can be found in the Pinellas county article.
http://www.pinellascounty.org/PublicWorks/mosquito/pdf/bromeliads-and-mosquito-control.pdf More information on this topic is found at this Pinellas county site.
Detailed information about BTI is from http://www.arbico-organics.com/category/natural-mosquito-control-products
Lots of tips about growing and care....
Is there a plant that thrives in tropical plants that you have grown? Perhaps you can share a bit in the comment section.
Tidbits of interest
- They produce many small flowers on a spike or you may find them in a rosette shape
- Leaves can be long and stiff or thin and curly
- Colors vary ad include red, yellow, green, orange, and brown
- The one bromeliad grown for food is the pineapple
- Most only bloom once; after that time, they focus all of their energy into forming 'pups' which are new plants.
Bromeliads like the warm humid climate especially found in South Florida but can survive long periods of drought. They thrive mainly in South Florida in the hammocks and swamps where tropical conditions prevail with more constancy.
Dr. J. Howard Frank states that 'a few hundred species of animals and plants....depend to some extent on bromeliads as a place to live or for food.'
Sadly some of Florida's natural bromeliads are being attacked by a weevil. Research is being conducted to determine how best to control this issue of concern.
If you are considering growing these amazing exotic tropical wonder plants in pots, you will want to follow a few simple steps...
- Grow them in well draining soil preferably in peat-based soil and part sand
- How frequently to water them seems to be a matter up for debate. One source says three to four times a week another says once a week. I suggest you be vigilant at first and strike a happy medium. Plants tend to let us know when they need something.
- The Bromeliad Society offers this hint when it comes to determining need for light: soft leaf/soft light; hard leaf/ hard light. Which of course means, shady for soft leaves and bright/filtered light for hard leafed plants.
Another member of the family
Pups from bromeliad number 1
Pups from bromeliad number 2
Pups are now repotted into their own pots
Happy now in a pot of its own
Bromeliads can be attached to a tree by removal from the pot it was purchased in and being tied to the crotch of a tree. For more details on the process, refer to the link that follows
An interesting tidbit reported in one of the many sources I read is that some are carnivores. Be wary, little insects, where you land. This brief introduction may lure you into the world of the bromeliad.
copyright 2013 pstraubie48 TM All Rights Reserved
all photographs were taken by pstraubie48 (Patricia Scott) and are under her exclusive ownership and right to use
© 2012 Patricia Scott