The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next meeting Mar.11th, 2001


March, 2001

‘Rhapsody in Bloom’

at the Ocean Center

President - Jay Thurrott - 904/761-4804

Vice President - Bud Martin - 407/321-0838

Secretary - Bob Roberts - 904/446-8626

Treasurer - Ted Nuse - 904/673-2648


Let’s hear it for Winter’s end! If this Winter were an individual, I would be first to recommend that it be tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail. This has been one of the coldest, nastiest winters in memory and I’ve seen a lot plant damage around town as a result. In fact, you don’t even have to drive around town – just look in my yard! Surprisingly, though, virtually every bromeliad that I made the least effort to protect (either by covering it or moving it to a better protected area) fared very well. Now I really don’t work very hard at protecting my plants, so if my lazy efforts produced such excellent results, imagine what a well organized, well thought out cold- protection plan could do for you? Something to think about for next year…

One good thing to be said for the bromeliad damage that this winter has caused (there’s a silver lining in everything!) – it’s created a good excuse for purchasing more bromeliads. If you’ve lost plants to the cold weather, that must mean that you now have room for more plants! And now you are probably a little bit wiser and more discriminating in your plant selection. In fact, some of those plants that you lost were really not your favorites anyway, were they? This is your chance to improve your collection and, perhaps, focus on certain bromeliad groups. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try growing Pittcairnias…or maybe you are so taken by Neoregelias that you would like to add more of these colorful plants to your list. Have you been wanting to try mounting bromeliads on driftwood? Now is the perfect time to acquire some young plants and try your luck – they should be looking really spectacular by next year’s show time! Don’t be disheartened by your losses this winter – think of this as a learning experience…and in the case of many bromeliads – a pretty inexpensive one at that. Now we are beginning a whole new growing season, so…pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and let’s start growing again!

Welcome new members Geoff Donoghue and Ron and Martha Williams!

It’s great to have you with us. We’ll look forward to seeing your smiling faces at our meetings!

Daytona Beach Garden and Flower Show March 15th through the 18th

It’s here! I hope we can count on your support and help in making our sales booth even more of a success than last year. Schedules for staffing the booth are attached to this newsletter. If you can spare some more time, we willl welcome the help!

This probably doesn’t’ get said enough, but our booth aside, this is a really nice garden show. Take some time and wander the floor. Look at the plants, the garden tools, don’t forget to look over the gardenning books offered for sale and don’t forget the ice cream stand – it’s the best!

Earth Day 2001 at Washington Oaks State Gardens – This event is coming up on April 28th and 29th this year and we have an invitation once again to have a table to sell plants and tell people who we are. This event is great fun and staffing a table is a good excuse to spend some time under the ancient oaks, listen to good music and eat barbecue! What could be finer?

Upcoming events:

3/15/01-3/18/01 - Daytona Beach Flower Show at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach

4/7,8/01 – Bromeliad Society of Broward County Sale and Show

4/14, 15/01 – Seminole Bromeliad Society Show and Sale at the Sanford Garden Club

4/21,22/01 – Sarasota Bromeliad Society Show and Sale at Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota

4/28, 29/01 – Washington Oaks State Park Earth Day Celebration

6/10/01 – Bromeliad Bonanza at Blossom World. Picnic, tour and seminars

8/18/01 – Seminole Bromeliad Society annual "Bromeliad Fantasy" at the Volusia County fairgrounds in Deland

10/21/01 – ‘Zoorama II’ picnic and bromeliad planting work project at the Central Fl. Zoo.

12/16/01 – Annual Christmas Party with Seminole Bromeliad Society at Sanford Garden Center.

11/03/01 – Bromeliad Extravaganza at Leu Gardens in Orlando(1920 N. Forest Ave.

Summer of 2002 – 15th World Bromeliad Conference hosted by the Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society in Clearwater/St. Petersburg, Fl.

What’s Blooming-

Vriesea chrysostachys takes forever for the bloom to completely form, but it's looking fine right now. If you see one of these labelled ‘red form’ or ‘yellow form’ – they’re not describing the leaf color, it’s the bloom spike.

Quesnelia testudo was early this year in my yard. Maybe it was that jolt of cold weather that spurred it into blooming, but the fluorescent pink bloom began peeking above the leaves a whole month earlier than usual.

Aechmea orlandiana is hardly a spectacular bloomer, but I always like to see it’s bright red spike and that cluster of yellowish flowers. Last year a few of these set seed and I now have a few seedlings started. I thoroughly enjoy this plant and just can’t get enough of them.

Did’ya ever wonder?

It seems like I always have more problems with scale in the Springtime. Do these insects breed more quickly in the Spring or what?

"Or what" is a good answer that fits many questions (as in ‘are them bromel-aids related to cactuses or what?’ or, my favorite: ‘are you going to eat that, or what?’) but it’s not really appropriate in this case. Scale is always out there, lurking behind every flower pot, just waiting for the opportunity to speckle the leaves of your prized bromeliad. The reason this problem seems especially prevalent in the Spring is that this is usually when you begin cleaning up your plants, repotting them and generally observing them more than you did during the Winter months. The scale was there earlier, you just didn’t notice it. Scale is highly mobile in its juvenile stage and can quickly move from one plant to another. I’ve even heard speculation that scale can fly or that it floats in the air. Neither of these is true, but I can understand why you might think so.

Winter is usually a time when air movement around your plants is at a minimum, the air is lacking that humidity that bromeliads crave, and the plants themselves may have been touching each other as you packed them closely together to take advantage of limited shelf or greenhouse space. If you intentionally wished to raise scale insects (perhaps as a hobby?) these are the conditions that you would strive to duplicate.

If it’s any comfort, every bromeliad hobbyist has problems with scale at one time or another. Once a plant is heavily infected the best action to take is to throw it away, but if you are like most of us, you just can’t bear to do this. Second best action is to treat the leaves with a systemic pesticide like a Cygon product and hope for the best, but be sure to follow the safety precautions listed on the bottle. A less drastic action would be to segregate this plant from the rest of your collection and remove any pups that form as soon as possible. Often the second or third generation can be salvaged from a bromeliad that has been heavily covered in scale, but recognize that it may take a while before you can get a blue ribbon plant from one that probably should have been discarded.

When dealing with scale as with many things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Inspect your plants frequently and treat them with a mild insecticide (like Safe soap) at the first sign of trouble. Make sure there is ample air circulation around your plants. Don’t crowd them and, with a little luck you can keep your scale problems to a minimum. One last suggestion: when you acquire a new plant, keep it separate from the rest of your collection for a while and keep an eye on it. It’s surprising how often scale turns up on new plants – even those from reputable nurseries!

Bromeliad related Web Sites of interest:

Don’t have a computer yet at home? Forget the chat rooms, some of the sites listed below are reason enough to take the plunge! There are some terrific sources of bromeliad information out there…and they’re free.

Bromeliad Society International –

Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies -

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens -

Tropiflora online -

Hanalei Nursery(Hawaii) –