The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next meeting Sunday, June 12, 2005

May, 2005

No Meeting on Mother’s Day!

President Linda Stagnol386/760-6842

Vice President – Jay Thurrott – 386/761-4804

Secretary – Calandra Thurrott - 386/761-4804

Treasurer - Ted Nuse - 386/673-2648


That’s right – if you find yourself at the Garden Center on May 8th, you will be all alone – because there is no meeting this month!

Instead, we are having a field trip to Russell’s Bromeliads on the following Sunday, May 15th. We will be joined by those good folks from the Central Florida Bromeliad Society and from the Seminole Bromeliad Society for a "walk about" tour of Russell’s Bromeliads in the morning. Plan on arriving between 9:30 and 10:00a.m. Wear some comfortable shoes, walk around a bit and select those plants that you would like to purchase (I’m sure there will be some plants that you will want to buy!). For lunch we will gather at Gator’s Dockside (you may remember that we had lunch there a couple of years ago) for a leisurely lunch overlooking the St. John’s River. From there we’ll go back to Russell’s where they will have our intended purchases priced and ready to go. It should be a very nice visit – mark it on your calendar now so you don’t forget!

How to get there:

If you are coming from the Daytona Beach area, take I-95 South to the New Smyrna Beach west exit (there are two different exits – one to go east and one to go west). Head west on State Road 44 from the New Smryna exit to State Road 415 (Tomoka Farms Rd.). There is a traffic light here. Turn left onto 415 and stay on this road past Osteen until you cross the St. Johns River bridge. As you descend from the bridge take the first right turn (you’ll see Gators’ restaurant on your right). This will place you on Celery Ave. Continue west on Celery to Beardall. Turn left. Look for Russell’s sign at 1690 Beardall – you’re there!

The alternate route to take if your are coming from anywhere north or west of Daytona is to take I-4 west to the Sanford exit. Follow this road (W. Seminole) along the edge of Lake Monroe past the zoo toward the downtown of Sanford. Turn right onto N. French Ave. and continue to W. 13th St. Turn left (it may be called Sanford Ave. at this point – it’s hard to tell from the map) and follow this road to the East until there is a "jog" in the road and it becomes Celery Ave. Continue on Celery past Sipes Ave. until you see Beardall Ave. Turn right onto Beardall and continue to 1690 Beardall – Russell’s Bromeliads.

If you need a ride or if you get lost along the way call me at 386\405-5951. We’ll see you there!

Bromeliads from A to Z:

"Q" is for Quesnelia.

Now here’s an odd little group– this genus includes several species that are so tough that they can be grown in full sun, full shade, high temperatures and temperatures low enough to freeze most bromeliads in their pots. Add a few plants that you would swear must be Billbergias both in the appearance of the foliage and in their brief blooms and you have the Genus Quesnelia.

Where do they get those names, you may ask? This one makes perfect sense – Martin Quesnel introduced a group of bromeliads to cultivation and now his name lives on! Quesnelias are native to coastal Brazil (that means that they should do well in Florida) and include both epiphytic and terrestrial plants. The representative of this group seen most frequently in this area is Quesnelia testudo. It has been grown in the landscape for so long that many believe this to be a Florida native. It’s not. This is one vicious plant with stiff, heavily spined leaves arranged in an erect rosett. Be careful working around this one because it’s liable to draw blood! Just about the time that you decide that this plant is not worth keeping around your property it surprises you with a thick stalked inflorescence topped with delicate ‘ruffly’ fluorescent pink bracts arranged in a bulb shape that some feel resembles a turtle’s head – hence the nickname, the ‘turtle-head’ bromeliad. If this plant isn’t spiny enough and big enough for you, there is always Quesnelia quesneliana – same great bloom, same nasty disposition. Just about the time that you think you know what a Quesnelia looks like…along comes Quesnelia marmorata ‘Tim Plowman’. This is a plant made up of a few spotted or mottled leaves arranged in a tall, tubular rosette (think ‘Billbergia’). No stiff spines to harm you on this one – in fact, the tips of the leaves curl under on themselves to the point where it looks like someone went after it with a curling iron! The bloom is branched, semi-pendant spike with very attractive bracts(keep thinking ‘Billbergia’), pretty flowers and the whole thing fades away in a disappointingly short time(continue to think ‘Billbergia’). Somewhat stoloniferous, this plant makes a very attractive mounted display either on driftwood or simply by itself. Both ‘Tim Plowman’ and the less striking Quesnelia marmorata make excellent additions to anyone’s bromeliad collection and are readily available at most bromeliad society sales.

The April Master Gardener’s Sale…

was a big success! The day started out a little "iffy" with rain showers, but they quickly cleared up and the cold front that came through kept temperatures very pleasant for the morning. We had a lot of participation from our club and sales were great. We were happy with the sale, the Master Gardeners were happy with the turn-out, and the public was thrilled with the opportunity to buy some very unusual plants at very reasonable prices. One of the truly great gardening events of the year in this area – plan on participating next year.

Hints for the month:

You can increase the frequency of fertilizing you plants as we get into the active growing season. Remember that it is better to fertilize often with a dilute strength fertilizer that infrequently with a more concentrated solution. This is also a good time of the year to repot and separate pups on your bromeliads. While you’re doing this, check the plant over thoroughly for signs of scale.

A reluctant bloomer-

This is an exciting time of the year around the bromeliad beds. It seems like every time I walk by something else is sending up a bloom spike! This year Tillandsia ‘Houston’ finally decided to bloom. I picked up this plant along with some other Tillandsias in ’95 when I was on a business trip in California and had an opportunity to visit the Rainforest nursery , not far from Disneyland in Anaheim. This was an appropriate location for this nursery since it was a ‘Disneyland’ in its own way for somone like myself, interested in bromeliads. Every year since then, this plant has multiplied until it has grown into an impressive clump - but it never bloomed. Then I acquired another ‘Houston’ from Frank Cowan in ’02 and although it grew ito an exceptional size, it never bloomed either! This April, Frank’s plant finally bloomed (a really great bloom, by the way) and a few weeks later the clump from California began blooming. Why? Who knows – maybe the hurricanes this year frightened the plants into blooming. Otherwise, I think my growing conditions were the same. OK, so there a few less trees providing shade than there were before the storms, but these plants were in nearly full sun anyway. Whatever the reason, I’ll be anxiously watching around this time next year to see if the clump continues its bloom cycle.

Looking ahead:

May 6 - 8 Annual Mothers Day Bromeliad Show and Sale –Bromeliad Society of Central Florida. Don’t look for this to be at the Florida Mall in Orlando as in past years. This year this show will be held at the Fashion Square Mall on S.R. 50 in Orlando – different venue, same outstanding show!

May 14th, 15th –25th Annual Sarasota Bromeliad Society Show and Sale in conjunction with the 9th International Cryptanthus Show "Alice in Bromeliadland". 10am to 4pm each day. Banquet and auction Saturday night. Selby Gardens in Sarasota. For more details, contact Inez Dolatowski at 941/962-7401 or email

October 22 – Bromeliad Extravaganza, hosted by the Sarasota Bromeliad Society. Sarasota Garden Club – 1131 Blvd. of the Arts in Sarasota. Sale from 9 to 4pm followed by banquet and rare plant auction at the Helmsley Sandcastle located at 1540 Ben Franklin Dr. (more details in the future)