The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next regularly scheduled meeting Sunday, July 8th, 2001 - 1:30p.m.

July, 2001

This Month’s Meeting:

Name That Plant!

President - Jay Thurrott - 386/761-4804

Vice President - Bud Martin - 407/321-0838

Secretary - Bob Roberts - 386/446-8626

Treasurer - Ted Nuse - 386/673-2648


Topic for the July Meeting - Everyone has at least one plant that they have either lost the tag to, or never had one in the first plate. That’s right, we all have some of those unnamed bromeliads. We also have some that, well, when you look at them- "they just ain’t right!" You know what I mean – those plants with tags that read "Aechmea chantinii" but the plant sure looks like Neo. lilliputiana. Or how about that "Neoregelia fireball" that just sent up a stunning inflorescence with white and blue berries? Whether you have lost the tag and just have no idea what your plant’s name might be or you have a strong suspicion that someone might have mixed up some tags at some time in the past, now is the time to try to make things right again. For a program at this month’s meeting we’re going to do our part in preventing a continuation of misidentification. Bring in your plants - your unidentified, your misidentified and we’ll do our best to make them bonifide!

A selection of books will be on hand with pictures that may help in naming that plant and a panel of experienced growers will be available to lend their expertise. If your plant is not in bloom at the moment, but you have pictures of the bloom – bring the pictures with you. They will help immeasurably in putting a name to that rosette of plain green leaves. If we still can’t put a name to it, we’ll take a photograph of the plant, put it on the World Wide Web and see if we can’t get someone, somewhere to recognize it. This should be an opportunity for everyone to learn a little about nomenclature. Let’s all bring in a few plants to name!

Bromeliad Bonanza II at Blossom World is now history and wasn’t that a great event? People came from all around to tour the greenhouses and attend the seminars. The plants, the people, the food…all combined to make this a truly enjoyable day. It was great to see Frances Sanjurjo strolling through the greenhouses. I especially enjoyed hearing Happy Birthday sung in Thai – thank you Sudi! Thanks to Bud and Alan for making such a great day – now if you could just arrange for the temperature to be about 10 degrees cooler next year!. We can hardly wait for Bromeliad Bonanza III!

What’s Blooming-

Last year I reported that Jane Culpepper’s billbergia seeds had produced a fine B. brasiliensis plant with a truly stunning bloom. This year, right on schedule, that plant’s offspring are in bloom and I’ve got to say that this is just the prettiest Billbergia bloom you’re likely to ever see. The huge pink bracts, the satin blue flower petals – a real eye-catcher! If you don’t have one already in your collection, I highly recommend that you acquire one of these plants. In the same genus – B. tweediana, B. velascana, and B. ‘windii’ are all in bloom right now. I never realized how many billbergias bloom in June.

Also in bloom – Aechmea chantinii var. ‘Ash Blonde’. This is a great looking plant anyway and the bloom just is the icing on the cake!

Did’ya ever wonder?

Q. Tillandsias always look great when they’re mounted on driftwood and their roots grow around over wood to securely anchor them. Whenever I buy a nice Tillandsia and set it on driftwood, the roots don’t "grow in" the way I see them on pieces of wood in bromeliad shows. What am I doing wrong?

A. There are several possible reasons why you are having this problem and, in a fine bureaucratic tradition we will answer your question with a question:

1) Is the Tillandsia that you purchased a young plant or a mature plant? Remember that the roots on these plants don’t usually serve to absorb moisture or nutrients like typical houseplants. Most members of the genus Tillandsia only produce roots when they are young…and, if you think about it for a minute, this makes sense. These plants are epiphytes and only use their roots as hold-fasts to anchor them to a tree limb or a rock surface. Once the young plant attaches itself adequately to the surface, why should it produce more roots? If the roots don’t do a good enough job, the plant falls to the ground and, at this point, the last thing it needs is more roots – it probably won’t survive anyway. If they work as intended, the plant is anchored in position for life and can put its energy into maturing, flowering and producing seeds. So…back to the question at hand - if you are going to mount a bromeliad on driftwood, start with a young plant.

2) Have you been securely fastening your Tillandsias to the driftwood? Unless the young plant is tightly fastened to the wood (no "wobble factor" allowed!) it will not produce the roots that you are looking for. There are many ways to do this. You can try one of a number of types of glue on the driftwood and then hold the plant in place until the glue sets. You may also use wire (please, no bare copper wire though-this may kill the plant) to anchor the plant…or twine…or a heavy weight (if the plant is mashed flat – use a lighter weight next time). The main goal is to hold the plant in a fixed position long enough until the roots form and take over for the glue, wire or twine. Then you can remove these aids and the plant will look like it grew onto your wood all by itself!

3) One last point – if you have a difficult time keeping your Tillandsias looking nice as individual plants, you probably will have just as difficult a time keeping them looking nice when they are mounted on driftwood.. Just because some people call Tillandsias "air plants" doesn’t mean that they can get along without proper light levels, proper watering, proper air movement and everything else that goes into good culture of plants in this genus. That seashell refrigerator magnet with a Tillandsia glued inside just is not going to thrive on the side of your refrigerator – unless you keep your refrigerator outside in a greenhouse!

Pass it on…

Our club receives quite a few newsletters from other bromeliad societies (take a look at them some time – they’re in the library) and they are often full of pearls of wisdom that can help avoid or prevent problems in bromeliad culture. The following is one such "pearl" from the Bromeliad Society of South Florida’s newsletter.

Tip of the Month

You probably came home from the show loaded down with beautiful new plants. It may be a good idea to repot them. There’s nothing wrong with the potting medium in which they are growing, but that mix was prepared for the seller’s growing conditions, which may be drastically different from yours. If you have a mix which works well for your plants, repot your new ones using the same. Keep in mind that the rainy season will be starting soon (hopefully!) so a looser mix may be better than what your’re currently using.

Don’t put new plants in full sun right away. Let them get acclimated gradually. Filtered light to start with is a safe bet.

Above all – watch them. If there are signs of stress, move the plants to a safer location.

- Moyna Prince

Thank you Moyna – those are some very good tips that we all need to keep in mind!

Upcoming events:

July 14th and 15th – Open house at Valkaria Tropical Gardens from 8:30a.m. to 4:30p.m.

This is located off Exit 70 on I-95 south of Melbourne (Malabar Road). Drive east 2.5 miles to Corey Road, then right for 3 miles. You can call at (321) 768-1697.

Also on July 14th and 15th – Tropical Plant Fair at USF Botanical Gardens, Tampa. Call (813) 974-2329

August 24th-26th – 28th Annual Southwest Bromeliad Guild Show and the 7th International Cryptanthus Society Show at Fort Worth Botanic Garden Center in Forth Worth, Texas (Texas Green Oaks Hotel). Call (800) 433-2174

October 27th – Bromeliad Extravaganza, hosted by the Bromeliad Society of Central Fl. To be held at the Maitland Civic Center. Call (407)647-2039 for additional information.

March 14th – 17th, 2002 – The Daytona Flower Show at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach

April 27th and 28th, 2002 – Sarasota Bromeliad Show

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

World Conference Update

Sam and Hattie Lou Smith have asked that we keep our members informed on the progress toward the World Conference next year and have been sending out updates on a regular basis. This is the latest on this event:


At the Golden Anniversary WBC 2000, the practice of introducing a WBC (World Bromeliad Conference) pin was begun. Pins are pretty, fun to collect, inexpensive and easy to wear. They make great gifts, both to oneself and others. A new Conference pin is being introduced that promotes the theme, "Bromeliad Beach Party". It will be available at the online store. Don’t miss out!

The Hilton Hotel requests that you use the number 1-888-843-6929 when making room reservations for the WBC. This number is available weekdays 8AM-6PM Eastern time. Mention that you are with the WBC. It goes through the sales office and should prevent foul ups.

Many members have asked how they might be of help. Here are some ideas:

The Scientific Seminars held on Wed. May 15, 2002 will feature a "Who’s Who" lineup of bromeliad scientists. Walter Till, Renate Ehlers, Elton Leme, John Utley, and David Benzing will be participating.

We are asking for friends and society donations for the support of this important program.

Another way of honoring or remembering a friend is a donation to the Awards of the Standard Bromeliad Show that will be held at the Conference, or putting an ad in the Conference Program. Don Garrison 1119 Lisa Lane, Kingwood, Tx. 77339, BSI Treasurer, will accept all donations and credit them to the requested area. Donations will be acknowledged in the Conference Program and the BSI Journal. [Don

We plan a donation- raffle of very desirable bromeliad related items. Books, bromeliad art of any kind, and other items are requested. Since John Atlee of New Mexico is the chairman of this committee, Kathy Risley or Hattie Lou Smith will store these donations until they are needed.

The Rare Plant Auction chaired by Michel Kiehl will welcome the donation of rare plants and items. Proceeds of this auction go entirely to the Bromeliad Identification Center at Marie Selby Gardens.

Security [Bill Timm], Hospitality-Registration [Fay O’Rourke], Placement [Dan Kinnard], Raffle [John Atlee] and Set-up [Rob Branch-Ron Schoenau] all could use an hour or so of time.

Begin planning for selling at the Membership Sales tables of the Conference. The split ratio is 25% to the Conference, 75% to the Seller. Taxes are paid by the buyer.

Schedules for Tours and Seminars should be available by the August Update.