The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next regularly scheduled business meeting Sunday, July 14, 2002 – 1:30p.m.

May, 2002

Summertime 2002 and the growing is…easy!

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


That’s right, Summer! I know that the calendar doesn’t agree, but as far as I’m concened – when it’s hot outside, it’s Summer! If it’s cold outside, it’s Winter – quite simple really. The word ‘Summer’ means different things to gardeners, depending on where their interests lie. For most Florida gardeners, Summer is a time to take a break from the frantic planting that is associated with Spring and begin planning more gardening work for the Fall, when the hot weather begins to ease up. Not so for the bromeliad hobbyist – Summer is when our plants are actively growing and they demand the most attention (if we are trying for that elusive blue ribbon). Summer is the time to fertilize if you are a grower who fertilizes. I’ve often been told that the time to fertilize bromeliads is from March to October…and I’ve got to agree. I seem to be enjoying better quality plants and blooms and I tend to attribute this to my fertilization program.

Summer is also the time to pot up those offsets if you haven’t already done it. This is especially true for the Neos. They often pine away and are slow to get going if they are separated from their mothers too late into the year – some sort of Neoregelia home-sickness sets in. If you have your doubts, try this some time: Find a Neo. in your collection that has two offsets. Separate one and pot it up in the Fall (preferably, some time around Oct. or Nov.). Separate the other one the following May. Treat it the same as the Fall pup and observe the progress of the two. You will probably find that the Spring pup does better, looks better and develops its best color sooner that the the Fall one. Aechmeas don’t seem to be so chosy in this manner.

Summer is also the time to be checking for scale – you know, the scale that started last Winter when you crowded your plants too close together? If you have scale, remember that after you treat for it, you will need to spray (or dip) again when the next generation of scale hatches out.

This month’s meeting: Field trip to Russell’s Bromeliads. It’s been a few years since we’ve visited John and Jimmye Kaye Russell as a group, but I can tell you that for anyone who enjoys Tillandsias, this will be like a visit to a candy store - more Tillandsias and more varieties than you can shake a stick at! You won’t want to miss this event! The date: Saturday, May 11th. The time: 10a.m.

The location: Russell’s Bromeliads - 1690 Beardall Ave., Sanford Fl. 32771 Telephone 407/322-0864 The directions may seem a little tricky, but they’re not as bad as as they look–From the Daytona Beach area go south on Tomoka Farms Road (Hwy 415) to Osteen. After you pass through Osteen you will approach an arched bridge over the St. Johns River. Continue across the bridge, but as you come off the bridge turn immediately onto Celery Ave. (it’s a hard right and a tight curve, so you may want to take it slow here). Continue on Celery until you see the Russell’s sign on the second street (Beardall Ave.). Turn left onto Beardall and go about 200 yards to the big sign. Turn right to come into the nursery.

If you would rather take I-4, head west toward Orlando. Take the exit for the Central Fl. Zoo. This used to be Exit 52, but it seems to me that I heard that all of the exits on I-4 have been renumbered, so I don’t know what the exit number is this week. This is just after the Deltona exit and before the Seminole Mall exit. It’s clearly marked and you’ll see all of the construction activity underway for the replacement bridge over Lake Monroe. The exit is on the downhill side of bridge. Exit right off the ramp, turn left at the stop sign on Upsala Road (County Road 15). Travel over railroad tracks. Turn onto Highway 17-92 and head toward the city of Sanford. Turn left onto Highway 415 and continue toward Osteen. You will cross from Seminole County back into Volusia County as you cross over Woodruff Creek. Turn right onto Celery Ave. Take Celery to Beardall Ave. and you will see the Russell’s sign.

Call me if you need transportation or have any questions. We’ll see you there!

Weevil found in Fakahatchee Strand!

The Naples Daily News recently published an article about the "evil weevil", now called the Mexican weevil and its appearance in the Fakahatchee Strand. This has been the nightmare scenario of many bromeliad enthusiasts for some time now. With no controls, it is quite likely that the weevil will wipe out all of the native bromeliads in what was considered one of the state’s most pristine habitats for bromeliads. Of the 16 species of native bromeliads, 14 are (or were) found in the Fakahatchee Strand. This is certainly not good news and further emphasized the importance of the Fl. Council of Bromeliad Societies; funding of research to develop a biological control for this weevil.

There’s money in pineapples!

Life is full of little mysteries. The Wall Street Journal appeared in my driveway one morning and I’ve been getting it ever since. They don’t bill me and I don’t ask– a truly excellent arrangement! If you haven’t seen one recently, the Wall Street Journal is really a fine publication with some very interesting articles that you are not likely to see elsewhere. Take the sport of rabbit jumping that seems to almost have taken on the stature of an Olympic event in Denmark recently. I don’t recall seeing that covered in the Daytona Beach News Journal. Who knew? The following is another of those somewhat obscure articles that makes this such an interesting paper – this one about pineapples:

d e t a i ls

Now, Grow Your Own ... Pineapple

When Bea O'shea opened a gift box from

FTD recently, she was a little taken aback: Inside was a large, palm-fronded plant, with a 30-inch spike in the center. On top of that? A tiny pineapple. It was "disconcerting," says the Northampton, Mass., gardener., whose usual taste runs to ferns. But she soon put it in a window near her fireplace, and ever since, she's been eagerly anticipating her first bite of home-grown fruit.

She's not alone. This winter, grow-your-own pineapple plants have become one of the season's favorite floral gifts. According to plant wholesalers in Florida, where most potted pineapples come from, sales have. doubled in the past year, as Web retailers like and have started offering them. They "have the 'wow' factor," says Alex McGavin, a buyer, "exotic but also functional."

The plants, which look a bit like small palm trees-and cost as much as $66-are shipped by growers with a real, if tiny, pineapple already starting to sprout. Given the right conditions-a sunny window, humid air and plant food-recipients can be eating home-grown pineapple in a few months. That is, if they can stand to pick theirs: Donald Brown, a legal analyst, says he looks forward each day to "coming home to the aroma of pineapple blossoms wafting through the house."

Do-it-yourself pineapples seem to be especially popular with people like Robert Koerber, who are forgoing their annual winter vacation to the tropics, but still want a reminder of warmer climes-he's got 15 in his backyard greenhouse. The fruit's patriotic connections are also appealing: Discovered in the West Indies by Christopher Columbus, it eventually became a symbol of New World welcome in colonial cities. Historic towns such as Williamsburg, Va., still use fresh ones in their traditional Christmas displays.

But growing them isn't as easy as forcing paperwhites, that other winter-gardening craze (and you may have to do battle with your pets to keep the fruit growing-Mr. Brown's dogs keep trying to eat his). While the plants come with instructions and guarantees that they'll arrive ready to thrive, a certain ingenuity is needed to trick them into believing that a suburban windowsill is really the tropics. The requirements: Six hours of sunlight a day, no drying heat and just the right amount of water on the roots.

So, is it all worth it? Jean Barkman of

Charleston, S.C., who pampered one for six months until it was ready to eat, says its flavor was "sweet and juicy"-although not quite as satisfying as a week in Hawaii.

-Eileen White Read

What’s bloomin’?

Wow! It seems like everything is beginning to bloom at my house and the Vrieseas in particular seem to be going wild! Vriesea carinata (always one of my favorites) and V. ‘Mariae’ have been in bloom for about a month now. V. glutinosa and V.’Hawaiian Sunset’ x V. fenestralis are beginning to bloom – this is very exciting since both of these have been in my collection for some time now and this is the first time I’ve seen their blooms. V. ‘Sceptre D’or’, V. ‘Bananas’, V. ‘Bamboo #8, V. ‘poelmanii’ and a couple of as yet unidentified acquisitions are all putting on their displays. In the non-Vriesea department (you can tell which genus I favor!), Ae. organensis’ bloom is still looking good after 2 months and Ae. ‘Lucky Stripes’ which has become firmly attached to some driftwood has sent up a spike. And can you believe it – here it is May and several Ae. disticantha’s are just opening their blue flowers!

Upcoming events:

May 10th – 12th Mother’s Day Show and Sale – Florida Mall in Orlando. This is the 27th annual show and sale, hosted by the Bromeliad Society of Central Fl.

May 11th and 12th Volusia County Orchid Society seventh annual show and sale at the Volusia County Fairgrounds. Door prizes, raffles and sale plants. Admission $3 ($1 off to any garden club members). They’re not bromeliads, but they are nice!

May 14th-19th, 2002 -15th World Bromeliad Conference will be held at the St. Petersburg Hilton Hotel.

September 6th and 7th, 2002 – Extravaganza hosted by FECBS (that’s us!) at the Daytona Beach Resort, 2700 N. Atlantic Ave. in Daytona Beach.

Survey –

It’s probably a good idea for every organization to step back once in a while and ask the membership "what do you want from this organization?" Are we meeting too often, not often enough, on an inconvenient day or time? Do you want more speakers, fewer speakers, more field trips? This is your chance to tell us what you want and how you want it done. To this end, we’ve enclosed a questionnaire along with a stamped, addressed envelope for its return. Please take a moment to fill this form out and drop it in the mail. We’ll let you know what the results are at the next business meeting. Thanks for your help in this survey.