Bromeliad Dragon topiary at Epcot in Orlando

Photo by Jim Boynton

August 2003 Newsletter

The August meeting of the Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society will feature Rob Branch from Sarasota.

Rob will be talking about landscaping with bromeliads and will be concentrating on plants that will take full sun.

Although Rob will bring plants to sell, he has asked that anyone else who would like to sell plants to please do so. Rob figures that when it comes to plants the more the merrier.

Please do not forget that the meeting night is Tuesday, August 5th. That is the first Tuesday of the month, at the Hope Presbyterian Church, 1698 S. Belcher Rd., Clearwater. The doors will open at 7:00 and the meeting will start at 7:30, hope to see you there.

Last Months Meeting

We had a grand first of July party. There was lots of food and plants. It seemed like everyone had something to share, and the raffle table was very well endowed. The raffle plants were all put into bags, so it was sort of a mystery raffle. We want to thank everyone who participated in the event.

There was an excellent group of show and tell plants, which was the main part of the program. A number of members went all out and brought many beautiful plants for everyone to enjoy. Thanks to all of those members who brought in all of the plants and shared their knowledge with the rest of the society.



The Refreshment committee wants to thank everyone who brought covered dishes to last month's meeting. It was a very healthy fare for everyone and we know that no one went away hungry as there was lots of food left over.

Ann Kavanaugh and the Boynton's will be providing the refreshments for the August meeting.

While you are at the meeting, please remember to stop by the front desk when you bring food to pick up your extra raffle ticket. You will also find the refreshment sign-up sheet at this desk for future months.

Plans for next year's extravaganza

Next year we will be hosting the statewide extravaganza. Bob Albanese, Judy Lund, and Fay O'Rourke are well along with the planning. The sale and plant display and seminars will be held at the Florida Botanical Gardens. The Hotel will be the Holiday Inn nearby on Ulmerton. The banquet and rare plant auction will be held there.

At the recent board meeting Bob was asked how the bromeliads were doing at the botanical gardens. His response was pretty good except for the ones that the wild peacocks were eating. Apparently they are becoming a real nuisance throughout the county. A small flock has invaded the gardens, and is eating all of the orchids, certain bromeliads, and other selected plants. Efforts to catch them have so far been futile. Experts from California are supposed to be coming to help. After that he will be looking for donations [plants] of all types, but desperately need bromeliads that will tolerate more than 6 hours of direct Florida summer sun, and he really needs to have plants that are named. We are considering a club wide workday to help in planting them. There are plans to increase the size of the bromeliad garden in the near future.

Bob will give us more information on how we can help in the future.

This year's extravaganza

This year’s Extravaganza, to be hosted by the Bromeliad Society of South Florida, will be held at the Miccosukee Resort and Convention Center (500 SW 177 Avenue, Miami 33194) on November 15 and 16, with set up and registration on November 14. There will be both commercial and member sales; sellers will need an identification number. Email Ed Prince at edwardjprince@aol.com or send conventional mail to 11220 SW 107 Court, Miami, FL 33176-3902 (no phone calls please).

I am sure that we will hear more about this in the weeks to come. There will probably be special rates at the Miccosukee Indian Reservation. I believe that they have gambling at the reservation to provide extra entertainment to anyone so inclined.

Special article from Houston, TX

On a recent trip to Epcot I took the cover photo which features a number of pineapples as well as other bromeliads. It was truly a very attractive and unique topiary. This next article deals with growing a pineapple.

At the July meeting Helga Tarver gave me a page from the Houston Chronicle. It was a feature section and contained some information on bromeliads. There was considerable information on our favorite plants and included a section on growing a pineapple from the top of a fresh pineapple from the grocery store. This must have created considerable interest as I went to their website to get a copy of the article, so that I would not have to retype everything. Anything that I can do to cut down on typing I am in favor of as I am not an expert typist myself. I found that if you want to research a past article in that newspaper you must have a subscription or pay a fee to have access to the database. So I typed in "bromeliad" on the search button and up came several items in the current paper.

One of the items was a Question and Answer article by the same journalist, Kathy Huber. This item had appeared in the newspaper in Sept. 20, 2002, and the item that Helga gave me was an article that had been printed in early April, so the author must still be getting questions on pineapples.

"Q: I planted the top of a fresh pineapple. When can I expect fruit?

-- B.F., Tomball

A: It may take three or four years.

Others wrote this week about growing pineapple. W.W. in Cleveland says she transplanted hers into the flower bed. (They will need winter protection.)

For those who've asked how to grow a pineapple from fruit bought at the grocery store:

Buy a fruit with its top. Slice off the top and strip off the bottom leaves, leaving 2 1/2-3 inches of solid stem. Allow the top to dry for about three days.

When the top has dried, plant it in a container filled with good potting soil; push the cut end into the medium. Keep the soil moist, and the top should put out a good root system.

Start with a small pot, and repot as necessary. The pineapple is a member of the bromeliad family, and since bromeliads like air movement, grow your pineapple on the patio or deck in bright light, if possible, during warm months. Bring it indoors during the winter.

Eventually the plant will flower. From this flower or flowers a fruit will grow. You'll know it's ready to eat when you notice a pineapple fragrance. The fruit will give a little when squeezed and will turn golden."

A couple of thoughts of my own here, first the April article suggested twisting off the top of a fresh pineapple. I have never tried this, but I think that it would be difficult. I have used cut tops in the past and had good luck. In Florida it is a good idea to keep them in a pot. This is because they are very sensitive to nematodes in the soil. I have even lost a plant because I had it in a pot that was sitting directly on the gorund and the nematodes traveled up into the pot and destroyed the roots in the pineapple. This is one of those plants that will not grow epiphyticly. Pineapples are strictly terrestrial so be sure to grow them in a pot. If you have a pineapple that you can bring to the meeting for show and tell please do. There are some very interesting varieties out there now.



  1. Invite guests to attend the FWCBS meetings
  2. Wear your nametags
  3. Bring plants for show and tell
  4. Bring plants for the raffle table
  5. Bring plants for the friendship table
  6. Bring plants to sell if you would like



August 5 - FWCBS Meeting

September 2 - FWCBS Meeting

October 11-12 - USF Fall Plant Sale

November 15-16 - FCBS Extravaganza

July 26 – August 2, 2004 World Conference, Chicago, IL


James Boynton, newsletter editor

Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society

994 Willowood Lane

Dunedin, Fl 34698