The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next meeting May 20th, 2001


May, 2001

Spring is in Full Swing – Now is the Time to Look at Potting Offsets, Fertilizer Program

Note the meeting date

change due to Mother’s



President - Jay Thurrott - 386/761-4804

Vice President - Bud Martin - 407/321-0838

Secretary - Bob Roberts - 386/586-6221

Treasurer - Ted Nuse - 386/673-2648


This month’s program: guest speaker Al Muzzell of Gainesville We had a terrific turn- out for last month’s meeting. Unfortunately our speaker was ill and had to cancel at the last minute. Taking a cue from recent Chinese/American diplomacy – "he sends his regrets, however he doesn’t feel that an apology is appropriate at this time." The mere mention of his name sure seems to increase meeting attendance though, so… I was thinking …maybe we could mention each month that he was coming (to increase attendance) and then at the last minute make up some excuse for him not being able to make it? Seriously though, this should be a good meeting. Al is a terrific source of knowledge on all things related to bromeliads. He’s been in the business for quite some time and can tell you some very interesting history of bromeliad growers in Florida. Al has also been a key figure in the ongoing battle to stop the "evil weevil" that is attacking our native bromeliads, so if you want to know the current status-he’s the man to ask. Should be a very interesting meeting – don’t miss it!

Once again we had a successful outing at Washington Oaks State Gardens where we participated in their Earth Day celebration. Usually this is an occasion when we can bring all of the leftover plants from the Daytona Flower Show and offer them for sale, but this year there were no leftover plants (we’re just too successful for our own good!) so we expected to just sell a few BSI culture manuals and display some plants. Many thanks to Doris Crumbley and CeCe, Barbara and Mike Fink for bringing plants for sale – you all were real life savers! And, boy did those plants sell!! People were in a buying mood and before we knew…there wasn’t anything left to sell but the table and chairs! This is a really nice event and we thorougly enjoyed being there this year. An unexpected benefit of attending this year’s Earth Day – a used book vendor was only too happy to sell 58 BSI Journals from the early ‘70’s to our club for the library. Take a look at these when you get the chance – It’s fascinating to read about the first introduction of Aechmea orlandiana ‘Ensign’, Aechmea lueddemanianna ‘MEND’, and many other plants that many of us have in our collections. These issues are real collector’s items!

I don’t know how many had a chance to visit the Seminole Bromeliad Society’s recent show and sale, but it was a very nice event. Terrific display of plants and some very nice sale prices.

By the time you read this the annual Central Fl. Bromeliad Society’s Mothers Day show and sale at the Fl. Mall will be over, but I think it will be safe to say that this was a gorgeous show (as usual!). The Flordia Mall really should pay this group to have their show each year because its such a knockout and it draws quite a crowd in the process!

Upcoming events:

6/10/01- 2nd annual Bromeliad Bonanza at Blossom

World Bromeliads – picnic, seminars, plant sales.

Jointly sponsored by Fl. East Coast Bromeliad

Society and Seminole Bromeliad Society

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

10/21/01- 2nd annual Zoo day and picnic –

(Zoorama II) Community project at the Central Florida Zoo in

Sanford. Joint project w/Seminole Bromeliad


10/27/01- Annual Extravaganza, Maitland Civic

Center, Maitland – hosted by Central Florida

Bromeliad Society, Bromeliad sales, Interesting

speakers, Rare plant auction, Banquet

Contact: Ed Hall 407-647-2039

12/16/01- annual holiday party and dinner

Sanford Garden Club hosted by Seminole Bromeliad

Society. Plant exchange

5/13/02 – 5/20/02- 15th World Bromeliad

Conference, Clearwater/St. Petersburg

"Bromeliad Beach Party". $120. Registration

until June 30th. Send to WBC 2002, P. O.

Box 12981, Gainesville, FL 32604-0981, fax

352-372-8823. Hosted by the Florida West

Coast Bromeliad Society.

Hattie Lou Smith sends the following update on the upcoming 2002 World Bromeliad Conference:

April 16, 2001


The Chairman of the Society Displays Committee for the WBC 2002 in St. Petersburg is Roland Schnabel who reports that he would like to have as many Society Displays as possible entered in the Conference. The displays not only reveal a bit of the personality of each society, they make the whole Conference beautiful and exciting. It is very difficult to put a display in a World Conference when that Conference is held in a far-off city. This one is in our back yard. Please call Roland [813-988-7046] or email him [] and become a part of the "Beach Party".

Fay O'Rourke [727-531-9312] email [] has done a great job of organizing the Hospitality, Registration and Tours tables area. In order to insure a relatively short stay at the tables, many workers are needed. No one should sit longer than they wish. These tables will be in the same general area. Not only do those manning the tables get to chat with the Conference attendees, they can chat with each other. It is a fun way to be in the thick of activity.

If all the invited bromeliad dignitaries attend the Conference 2002 Scientific Seminar on Wednesday, May 15, it will be a marvelous treat for everyone. Harry Luther is inviting a spectacular list of "Who's Who's" for this Conference.

Next month we may begin to make room reservations at the Hilton St. Petersburg, [1-800-944-5500]. Please make clear that you are attending the World Bromeliad Conference. To select the day you wish to arrive, consult the tentative schedule on the WebSite [].

Volunteers are being solicitied for Security, [Bill and Connie Timm], Hospitality, [Fay O'Rourke], Registration and handing out name tags, [Linda Halley], and Raffle, [John Atlee]. The Raffle Chair is seeking the donation of desirable raffle items. These items can be turned in to any Conference Committee Chairman and will be housed by either Kathy Risley or Hattie Lou Smith, until the Conference.

Those who have never attended a Bromeliad World Conference "Party" or who have never seen a World Conference Standard Bromeliad Show are in for a tremendous treat next year. Early activities will begin Tuesday, May 14 with a Tour to Selby Gardens and end on Monday, May 20 with another guided Tour to Selby. In between is a whirlwind of fun....beautiful plants, entertainment, good food and the latest on bromeliad advancements. Don't be left out!

What’s Blooming-

Lot’s of bromeliad activity in the garden now. Multiple offfsets have formed on most bromeliads after that nasty winter we just finished. It almost seems as though my plants are growing faster than normal now that we are seeing some good Florida weather again. If you haven’t noticed them – the Florida natives in this area have been blooming…and they seem to be putting on a better show than usual. The T. bartramiis, T. setaceas, T. floridana’s (and how do you tell them apart again?), and T. utriculatas all are in bloom right now.

Aechmea disticantha var. schlumbergii has been looking especially nice this year. Did you know that there is an ‘alba’ form of this plant as well as the standard pink bloom that we are all familiar with?

I noticed Portea petropolitana var. extensa starting it’s bloom at Plants and Things in Ocala – despite the plant’s damage from the winter. Now this is one tough plant that we really should consider using more in the landscape in our area. Very nice bloom! This is a great nursery to visit by the way – a real ‘visit to a candy store’. We’re going to try to set up a field trip to the Aldrich’s place in November, so keep some free space on your calendar and we’ll try to pin down a firm date.

Dyckia choristaminea began to bloom for the Flower Show in March, but the real show started after the Ocean Center show. Then the short, stout little inflorescense on this short, stout little plant erupted into beautiful bright yellow flowers. About that same time, I started noticing a strong perfume smell in the air and was quite surprised to find that that this is one of those few bromeliads with fragrant flowers. What a nice bonus!

Vriesea friburgensis var. friburgensis) is in bloom (a very tall bloom) now along with Vriesea ‘Bamboo’ (I really like the bloom on this plant!), Vriesea gigant x V. schwackiana(the bloom looks like ‘Bamboo’ but is much larger) and Vriesea ‘Gloriosa’.

Did’ya ever wonder?

It seems as though my potting mix really dries out during the Spring and then it never really holds moisture again…or is it just my imagination?

I think most of us can relate to this. It’s a problem we all encounter at this time of year. First of all, even without getting into a discussion of whether we are in a long-term drought or not, Springtime in our area is almost guaranteed to be a very dry time of the year. Weather-wise, it’s an in-between time. The ocean temperature is not high enough to start those sea breezes that produce our afternoon showers - a regular feature during the summer. At the same time, the land is heating up somewhat and those cold fronts that brought our winter rains stall out before they reach us. All together, this spells ‘dry air’ and that’s why this is also the wildfire season in Florida.

Most potting mixes that we use for bromeliads are intended to drain quickly. This is very important in the summer when those daily rainstorms are at their peak – we don’t want our plants standing around with wet feet all the time. Also during the summer the high humidity and warm temperatures team up to break down the organic content in our potting mixes. The end result: the mix shrinks and compacts. This leads to a tendency for water to flow between the pot and the potting mix (which now sheds water rather than absorbing it). Water quickly drains out the drainholes in the bottom of the pot and you wind up with a mix that is ‘bone-dry’. What do you do? You really have two choices: you can either submerge your pots and plants in a bucket of water to rehydrate the potting mix or you can repot the plant in fresh material – a lot of work, but not a bad idea anyway. Repotting gives you a chance to clean up your plant by removing dead leaves and other accumulated debris. This is also an opportunity to check for scale or other problems. You can re-center your plant, repot it to the correct height, add a little slow release fertilizer…and now your plant that was destined for a mediocre life might just be a blue ribbon candidate at the next show!