The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next regularly scheduled meeting Sunday, Mar. 12th - 1:30p.m.

March, 2000

It’s – Showtime!

The Daytona Beach Flower Show – March 16th to March 19th

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


Where has the time gone? Spring is at hand and it’s time to start potting up offsets and repotting those plants that are starting to walk out of their containers. If you have a plant that’s sticking its toes out through the drain holes of the pot - it’s telling you something…it’s time!

This is also a good time to be thinking about resuming your fertilization schedule. Bromeliads are beginning their active growth period now and they can make use of some extra nutrients. If you don’t fertilize your bromeliads, that’s ok. They’ll still grow and bloom for you. Some of us however, just can’t leave nature to its own and have to tinker. In this case, tinkering means fertilizing and it is true for many bromeliads that a good fertilization schedule will produce bigger plants in a shorter period of time. In fact, some Vrieseas hybrids for example, will not produce the fabulous inflorescence that you want unless they are heavily fertilized.

On the other hand, if you have a large clump of Neoregelia Fireball with a beautiful red glow to each plant and decide to give your plants a little treat by hitting them with some houseplant fertilizer, you’ll wind up with Neoregelia "Greenballs" and you may not see that red color again for quite some time.

The same holds true for many of the Billbergia hybrids with those wild and crazy leaf patterns and colors. Too much fertilizer at the wrong time and you’ll find yourself losing a lot of the color that you had been trying to encourage.

What’s a hobbyist to do? Ask questions…lots of them. That’s why bromeliad societies were formed! They are your opportunity to profit from many years of accumulated experience. Experience of course that was only gained after many, many failures and wrong approaches to growing bromeliads. Find out what works and what doesn’t by asking other club members and don’t overlook the resource available in our library. There are some great books there! I can’t tell you how many times I have read Padilla and Baensch’s books, yet every time I skim through them I learn a little bit more. Participate. Join in the show and tell sessions and listen to comments by others about how they grow their plants.

Remember, if your plant doesn’t look exactly like one with the same name grown by someone else, that doesn’t necessarily mean they did a better job. The plants were just grown under different conditions and they look different because of it.

And another thing…
Watch your watering now. It’s very easy to over-water and lose plants to rot problems at this time of the year. I have more trouble with this in the Spring than at any other time of the year. I suspect that this is because many of my plants are just starting to wake up after being dormant for the Winter, but they’re about as awake as I am in the morning before I’ve had a cup of coffee. Throw in a couple of cold, nasty days - which we are liable to still see -and conditions are just right for crown rot.

This is also the time of the year that I have to worry about sunburn…both me and my plants. The suns rays are a little more intense now than they were last month and plants that were happy in bright light may start to develop some bleached out spots on their leaves. This is also the time of year that many of us move plants from cold-protected areas back into the usual growing areas of our yards and this can mean that plants are suddenly placed into much higher light levels than they’ve seen for the past few weeks. On the positive side – you can develop some real nice leaf color in the brighter light. On the down side – sun burn! You may have to move some pots to shadier locations to avoid this.

This month’s meeting

Our March meeting will be focused on preparing for the Daytona Flower Show. Bring any plants that you are having difficulty identifying and we’ll attempt to put a label on them for you. Questions on preparing plants for show? We’ll go over these. Questions on preparing plants for sale? We’ll cover this topic as well. Have a little free time? We can use your help in our sales booth.


"The Palmetto" is the quarterly journal of the Florida Native Plant Society. The winter 99-2000 issue is devoted to the Evil Weevil and Florida’s native bromeliads. There are four excellent articles in it about the weevil and the danger it poses to our native plants as well as a request for donations to help support research on a control for this invader. Nice to see coverage in a magazine on this problem. If you can get hold of a copy – it’s sure to become a real collector’s item.

The following is reprinted in its entirety from the Orlando Sentinel’s Saturday, Feb. 12, 2000 edition. It’s a short article by Tom MacCubbin (who many of you know from his long-running Sat. morning radio garden show…an excellent show, by the way.) I think it covers the same topics we often talk about at this time of year when we begin cleaning up our bromeliads – whether it be for show or just "spring cleaning". As you read it, substitute the word "bromeliad" every time you see the word "plant" and you’ll think the article was written especially for bromeliad enthusiasts. Thanks Tom!

Dig In – Groom Indoor Plants

Winter is probably not your foliage plant's favorite time of the year. Days are short, light levels are often low and the air is quite dry. Most plants are pretty resistant to these problems, but they still show some discontent with yellow leaves, limited growth and a few pest problems.

Now, before spring growth begins is a good time to give your tired and weary foliage plants a little winter grooming. First, remove all yellow and brown leaves back to the main stems or the soil line. Also trim old flower heads that may have shriveled or lost their color.

Where possible move the plants to a sink or outdoor table on a warm day to wash the foliage. Leaves are often covered with dust that can be washed with a strong stream of warm water. Avoid cold water that can shock the foliage and cause spots to form on more sensitive species.

A good washing with a little soapy water also helps to control many pests. For stubborn pests, use a soft cloth or an old toothbrush to remove them from the stems and foliage. When your plants are ready for the home, remember these good cultural tips:


Special to the Sentinel

On a sad note… Geoffrey Johnson, owner of the Pineapple Place bromeliad nursery in Longwood and a good friend to our group, passed away quite suddenly in early Feb. He is survived by two sisters. A memorial service will be held at Pineapple Place – 3961 Markham Woods Road, Longwood – on Sunday, March 5th at 3:00p.m. This is truly a loss to the bromeliad community and to the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies in particuluar. Geoff. was treasurer for the Council as well as the newsletter publisher – following his mother’s long term affiliation in the same capacity. He had also been instrumental in raising funds and working toward securing grants to help in the "evil weevil" project. We’ll miss you Geoff!

Also lost forever to bromeliad enthusiasts will be the joy of wandering through the fantastic variety of plants at Pineapple Place. The entire inventory of bromeliads in the nursery will be sold on Sat. March 4, 2000. This will be a "Dutch auction" type sale, with all plants initially priced at $20 each. Prices will then drop hourly after the first two hours. Bring your own bags, boxes or trays to hold your purchases. Pineapple Place is located at 3961 Markham Woods Road in Longwood. You can find this by taking the Lake Mary exit from I-4. Continue bearing right onto Lake Mary Blvd. to the end of the road (about ˝ mile). Turn left onto Markham Woods Road. Pineapple Place is the second lot on your left (expect to see a lot of cars parked here). Volunteers are needed to help with the sale. For more information, call Kristi Johnson at 407/333-0445 (email:

What’s Blooming?

I don’t know why, but there seem to be an awful lot of bromeliads in bloom in my yard at the moment – maybe I just have more plants than I used to… Many of the small to medium sized Vrieseas are in bloom now: Vriesea poelmannii is sending up its feather and that prompted V. carinat, V. Marieae, V. Asahi, V. Sceptre D’or, and some other Vriesea that lost its tag to follow suit. Winter is the time for Billbergias and they certainly are pretty for the short time that they are in bloom. B. nutans is a little early this year. B. pyramidallis v. striata is right on time and another one that I never have put a name to - looks a little like a cream colored B. pyramidallis. Aechmea warasii v. discolor (one of my favorites) and Ae. Foster’s Favorite are putting on their shows. Another favorite, Tillandsia utriculata has started its bloom – I know the bloom isn’t very colorful, but I really enjoy the overall look of this plant with its tall spike. Meanwhile, last year’s seed pods still haven’t split open yet. It takes about a full year for these to ripen.

Upcoming Events

Too many things going on at the same time! Don’t you hate that? In the Spring there seem to be so many events going on that you have to make some agonizing choices.

Leu gardens in Orlando is having their Spring plant sale (bromeliads as well as non-bromeliads) on Saturday and Sunday, March 25th and 26th. Sound interesting? Well consider this: admission is free during this event!

On the same weekend Kanapahah gardens in Gainsesville is having their Spring plant sale (and I understand this is quite an event!) Expect to see Tropiflora and Plants and Things at the gardens during this weekend.

And, as if that wasn’t enough…the Volusia County Orchid Society will have their annual show/sale at the Volusia County Fairgrounds (presumably, in one of the buildings there) on, you guessed it, March 25th and 26th.

April 1st and 2nd – Bromeliad Society of South Florida’s show and sale at Fairchild Gardens, Miami. If you are in the area – don’t miss it. Fairchild Gardens alone is worth the trip to Miami!


May 6th and 7th – 20th Annual Sarasota Bromleiad Society show and sale at Selby Gardens. Same comments concerning Fairchild Gardens apply to Selby Gardens. One of the real treasures of Florida. If you can make it, you won’t be disappointed.

May 12th – 14th will be the Central Florida Society’s annual Mother’s Day show and sale at the Florida Mall in Orlando (8001 S. Orange Blossom Trail). Can you believe it-this is their 25th Annual… and a great show!

Looking even farther ahead…the Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society will be hosting the annual Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies’ Extravaganza at Terry Park in Fort Myers on Saturday, November 11th. More details will be provided as this date nears, but mark your calendar now.