The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next meeting Sunday, March 13, 2005

March, 2005

First Meeting of the New Year!

President Linda Stagnol386/760-6842

Vice President – Jay Thurrott – 386/761-4804

Secretary – Calandra Thurrott - 386/761-4804

Treasurer - Ted Nuse - 386/673-2648


This month’s meeting:

Everybody’s Flower Show opens this week and we need to enter as many plants in the show as we can. Why? This is a terrific opportunity to show the public what a bromeliad is and encourage interest in growing these plants. There are a lot of potential new club members out there and all we have to do is to picque their interest a little to get them to come to our meetings.

This month’s meeting will be devoted to learning how to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse – figuratively speaking of course! We all have at least on plant in our collection that may not look quite ready for a show right now, but with a little clean-up, a fresh pot, and some top dressing is a sure bet to pick up at least a blue ribbon. Let’s bring those plants in to the meeting – we’ll look them over, provide a little guidance in how to shine them up (again, figuratively speaking…please, no leaf shine products!), repot them and you’ll be all set for the show!

Frank Talk About The BSI –

Every profession has it’s professional organization to represent it in matters of general interest to the membership. Doctors have the American Medical Assoc., lawyers have the American Bar Association, water treatment professionals have the American Water Works Association…and so on. Ours is the Bromeliad Society International – the BSI, but very few members of many bromeliad societies have taken the opportunity to join this organization. Admittedly, we probably haven’t done the best job in publicizing the BSI so it may be that club members are not aware of its existence or the benefits that membership provides, but I assure you that this organization is not only out there - it needs your support! Recently an email was posted on the Internet that I think quite elegantly summarizes the benefits of belonging to the BSI. The following is reprinted with the author’s permission:

Let me talk about joining the BSI, Bromeliad Society International. As the name indicates, the membership includes people from all over the world, though nearly all members are US residents. So, what are the benefits for your $30 a year? There are three main ones. One is receipt of the Journal of the Society, 6 issues a year. The Journal includes articles on how to grow broms, as well as reports of field trips in areas where bromeliads grow. There are also some articles of a more advanced nature, even
descriptions of new species. The Society is in the process of making the back issues available online (available to members ONLY) and this will represent an incredible storehouse of information. So far, the online
version has the issues from 1951 through 1969. The second benefit is that you have online access to a number of assets, including the back issues of journals but also a list of valid names of species and a membership list. Third, if you are a member of the BSI you also can order from the Seed Fund, which offers packets of seeds of a number of species and hybrids - the
number changes monthly, as does the particular ones offered. The packets are
$1 each, and each one has at least 20 seeds (usually more, in my experience). Many of the species offered are not otherwise available as adult plants.

When I first started growing broms, I lived in Stillwater, Oklahoma and was probably the only bromeliad enthusiast for over 60 miles! Joining the BSI meant I was part of the international community of bromelidiots, no longer really isolated. I have never regretted paying the membership dues, even when my finances were in bad shape - the benefits were very much worth the cost.

Even if you do not plan to join, check out the website for the Society at:

There is a lot of info on the website, and if you join, there is even more!

Kenneth Quinn

Thank you Kenneth! Like you, I have been a member of BSI for many years and I may have begrudged the cost of membership during some lean years, but I never felt that these costs were not appropriate for the benefits received and I’ve never let my membership lapse. Sometimes joining an organization is just "the right thing to do". I truly enjoy growing bromeliads, and take a great deal of pleasure in being part of a group of people with similar interests. Membership dues are a small price to pay for this and so, I encourage all of our members to fill out the application here and become part of this worthwhile organization – it’s "the right thing" for all of us to do.

Bromeliads from A to Z:

Whew! We are finally nearing the end of this series – I never anticipated that it would take this long to get through the more common genera that many of us grow.

A few years after I began getting involved in growing bromeliads I won a raffle plant that looked like a large clump of not-so-well-tended grass. The donor assured me that this was a "rare" plant and that he had obtained it from a Bromeliad World Conference, but that it never did much for him. The clump of grass was labelled Pitcairnia spicata and one Spring, after several years of neglect at my hands (hey, I just treated it like my other bromeliads!) I decided to plant it in my yard where it could either live free or die – it was out of my hands. Happily, it not only survived, it absolutely thrived by producing leaves well over 5ft. long and every November - a very tall, very attractive inflorescence of bright red flowers. That was my introduction to the Genus Pitcairnia and since then I have actively sought out other forms of this interesting group to add to my collection.

Named in honor of the English physician Dr. William Pitcairn, this is a surprisingly large group of plants, although few are commonly seen in cultivation. Most Pitcairnias are terrestrial in nature and are found in moist, shaded areas from Argentina north to Mexico. Many are not highly decorative when not in bloom and resemble grasses with their long arching green leaves. Also a surprise - a few Pitcairnias are deciduous, a characteristic that has caused some plants to be discarded unnecessarily(if the leaves fall off, it must be dead!?). Flowers (often in bright red and orange colors) are generally tubular and borne on tall stalks. You should also know that this is the one bromeliad genus with a representative species that is found outside of the New World. That’s right, Pitcairnia feliciana is the only bromeliad not native to the Americas. How it got there we may never know, but it is not too difficult to imagine a migratory bird with a Pitcairnia seed stuck to its legs or feathers that subsequently germinated and became established. Eventually this plant developed its own unique characteristics to adapt to its environment on the west coast of Africa. What plants should you consider acquiring to add to your collection? Try Pitcairnia angustifolia – this is very similar to P. spicata in form with its long light green leaves and tall inflorescence with bright red flowers. Or how about P. flammea? This one is quite variable in form, but is usually quite small and produces red or orange flowers. Prefer something that forms white flowers? Try P. xanthocalyx. Just keep in mind that all of these plants produce a large, deep root system (that’s why my first Pitcairnia did so well planted in the ground) and most prefer growing conditions a little on the wet side. My Pitcairnias are outside and every now and then they get hit with a frost or short spell of freezing weather. This browns off the inflorescence if they’re in bloom at the time and usually kills a number of the leaves, but as soon as it warms up again there is a new flush of growth and in a very short time the clump of plants looks as good as new. Looking for a new addition to your collection? Consider the genus Pitcairnia. These are easy plants to care for and the blooms are extremely attractive. You should be able to notice these on a sales table – they’ll be the plants that look like a pot full of tall grass!

Pitcairnia undulata

Hint for the month:

Start your fertilizer schedule for your plants now. Start gradually and with a diluted fertilizer. You can increase the frequency as we get into the active growing season. Ask for details about this at the meeting.

Looking ahead:

March 5 & 6, 2005
Leu Gardens Annual Plant Sale
1920 N. Forest Ave., Orlando, FL 32803 Phone: 407-246-2620 Free Admission. Hours: Both days 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for early admission on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. for Leu Garden Members only. The Bromeliad Society of Central Florida will have a booth and members will be selling bromeliads.

March 13th - 5th Annual Bromeliad Bonanza hosted by the Seminole Bromeliad Society
9 AM - 4 PM at Blossom World Gardens, 1405 Pine Way Drive, Sanford.

March 17 – 20 Everybody’s Flower

Show - 50th Anniversary – at the Daytona

Beach Ocean Center. This is a judged standard flower show with educational exhibits and displays.

March 18th to 20th Bromeliad Show and Sale – Bromeliad Guild of Tampa Bay – 2629 Bayshore Blvd. in Tampa. Absolutely beautiful location looking out over the bay. This show is well worth the day trip to Tampa!

March 18th, 19th – Kanapaha Gardens Spring Plant Sale. Gainesville Bromeliad Society will have its bromeliad sale at this event.

April 2 - Master Gardener’s Sale at

Volusia County Fair Grounds. This is a half day

sale only, so don’t arrive late! You won’t believe what’s for sale here and the prices are so low you’ll want to buy a wagon-load of plants.

April 2nd and 3rd – Broward County Bromeliad Society annual show and sale in Davie at the Fishing Hall of Fame – Always a great show, great location! Be sure to eat lunch at the restaurant next to the Bass World Pro Shop on site.

April 16 & 17, 2005
Seminole Bromeliad Society Annual Spring Show and Sale 9 AM - 4 PM at Sanford Garden Club, 17-92 & Fairmont Drive, Sanford.
For more info. contact Sudi Hipsley 352 504-6162.

April 23 & 24, 2005 - Bromeliad Society of South Florida Annual Show and Sale at Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami. In addition to sale plants grown by members, there will be up to 10 commercial vendors also selling their plants.

May 6th, 7th & 8th, 2005
30th Annual Bromeliad Show and Sale
Presented by the Bromeliad Society of Central Florida
Orlando Fashion Square
3201 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, Florida. Hours: Friday-Saturday 10:00-9:00; Sunday 11:00-6:00
Mall telephone number: 407-896-1131
From I-4, go east on S.R. 50; from S.R. 417, go west on S.R. 50.
Bromeliad Society of Central Florida contact: 321-453-0366
Accredited, judged bromeliad show and bromeliad sales.

May 13th, 14th & 15th, 2005
Sarasota Bromeliad Society Show and Cryptanthus 9th International Show
Theme is "Alice in Bromeliadland"
Show and Sale May 14th & 15th
Sale only May 13th