Tillandsia Chiapensis, One has bloomed over 3 months ago and has 3 pups growing nicely. The other has yet to bloom the purple flowers. Both still sport the pretty pink scape.

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Bromeliads are exotic, colorful, easy to grow, and are quickly becoming commonplace as patio and house plants. They usually grow in rosette form with stiff, often arching, blade-like leaves. Scopes and flowers vary widely in most unfamiliar forms and color combinations. Some have very beautiful and smooth foliage and some have entirely gray, heavily barbed foliage. Bromeliads vary widely in culture as well as appearance. Some are xerophytic (grow with very little moisture). Others are epiphytic (grow on trees and other objects) as many orchids, not for a source of nourishment, but as a means of support. Some are terrestrial (grow on soil) and possibly depend on it for moisture and nourishment.

When purchasing a Bromeliad, select one that will grow well in its eventual location. Those with soft, leathery and glossy leaves such as AECHMEA, NEOREGELIA and BILLBERGIA are not very dependent upon moisture from the atmosphere. They receive most of their moisture from the reservoir of water that is formed by their leaves. A small amount of moisture is also absorbed from the soil through the root system. These plants are well suited for indoor culture. Their sunlight requirements should be satisfied by locating them near a windows where they will receive plenty of indirect sunlight. Regular mistings of these types of Bromeliads would be of benefit to the plants health, however, it is probably not absolutely necessary. Many of these plants are what would be referred to as decorator specimens.

All Bromeliads are tolerant of poor moisture and soil conditions. They are also capable of withstanding periods of insufficient sunlight without showing ill symptoms. These combined qualities make Bromeliads very desirable, easy care house, patio and garden plants.

In their native habitats, many Bromeliads perform a very important ecological function. Their spreading leaves funnel and hold tremendous quantities of water in their center tanks. In the "wild", these tanks have been found to contain huge assortments of insects, animals and other lower forms of life. In my case when collecting Bromeliads in the wild, I have found huge Black Widow spiders living in the tank. Many of these creatures depend solely upon Bromeliads to provide them with moisture during times of drought. Some spend their entire lives inside the tank without ever leaving. In return, these insects and animals provide a continuous source of decaying organic material which fertilizes the plant. Even man has been known to partake of the murky "tea" as a means of surviving dry periods. Because they posses this secluded life supporting pool, seasoned plant collectors have learned to pick wild specimens with caution.


A few of the Bromeliads Scientific Names are:

bulletAbromeitiella - Perennial
bulletAnanas - Best known
bulletCryptanthus - Terrestrials a.k.a. "Earth Starts"
bulletFosterella - Family of only 13 species
bulletNeoglaziovia - Very dry areas
bulletNeomea - Cross between Neoregelias and Aechmeas
bulletNeoregelia - Both epiphytic and terrestrial
bulletPuya - Most difficult to grow
bulletQuesnelia - Both epiphytic and terrestrial
bulletWittrockia - Both epiphytic and terrestrial


The principle enemies of Bromeliads are the many types of scale. These insects secrete waxy shells which they fasten to the leaves of the plant. They hide and lay their eggs under these shells. They are usually black, brown or gray in color. The effects of this insect are unhealthy, stunted plants. To control, mix 2 quarts of water, 2 tablespoons of Malathion and 3 tablespoon of Volck Oil. Remove all of the water from the sides and cup of the plant. Spray this solution all over the plant, top and bottom. Allow this mixture to be set on the plant for ten minutes and then rinse thoroughly with water. Be certain that it is completely rinsed and flushed clean. Keep the plant out of the sun for a day or so. Other insects may be encountered are, Red Spider, Thrips, Mealy Bugs, Snails, Slugs, Grasshoppers or small Inch Worms. Use the above solution for any of the above mentioned pests.

Other Problems

"Leaf Root" or rotting of the leaves is a problem that is seldom encountered. This is usually caused by crowding or over watering which actually means that the plants are being kept too wet. Thin out or space your plants so that they receive sufficient air circulation and use Agri-mycin-17 to correct.


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