The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next meeting Sunday, October 12, 2003


October, 2003

Winter is Coming – Are You


President Mike Fink – 386/673-5450

Vice President – Linda Stagnol – 386/760-6842

Secretary – Calandra Thurrott - 386/761-4804

Treasurer - Ted Nuse - 386/673-2648


Last month’s visit to Plants and Things

I’ve always enjoyed field trips, but our September trip to Plants and Things in Ocala was really special. The weather was perfect, attendance was very good (thanks everyone – it’s great to see such a good turnout), and the Aldrich’s even provided lunch! I think everyone came away from our visit with some new bromeliad acquisitions and smiles on their faces. Thank you George and Irene for your hospitality! ..and thanks to Richard Temple for the photo above of the intrepid explorer in his habitat - could there be a potential club photographer in our group?

This month’s meeting

Eight years ago our club received a number of boxes of bromeliads from John Anderson of Corpus Christie, Texas to help get our group started. That was most generous of him and we were very appreciative of his donation. I don’t think any of us knew at the time that John was one of the "greats" in the world of bromeliads and was especially well known for his interest in the genus ‘Aechmea’. …And its no coincidence that there exists a bromeliad named Aechmea andersonii or that an especially attractive cultivar of Aechmea pedicellata is named ‘Nelwyn’ after his wife.

John Anderson passed away last Spring to the great sadness of all who knew him, but his plants live on. Tropiflora offered to sell plants from his collection to their customers and our club purchased a number of these plants. They have arrived in excellent shape and we will have them at this month’s meeting so that everyone will have an opportunity to acquire some really terrific specimens. The plants will be for sale at the same price we paid for them and these are not you usual, run of the mill bromeliads – so, you will want to take advantage of this opportunity!

…And let’s not forget "Show and Tell"! This is the part of each meeting that I always look forward to. This is a chance for everybody to bring in one or more of their plants and show the members what that plant has been doing. Sometimes this means that the plant is sick or doesn’t want to grow properly or develop that color that you had hoped for – or maybe it just won’t bloom. Bring it in – let’s see it and talk about it. Other times this can be an opportunity to show off a plant that you are really proud of . Bring it in and take a bow for a job well done!

Time flies…

It’s hard to believe, but another year is winding down and it won’t be long before we see some cold weather drifting down our way. Our weather-watching will change from watching out for hurricanes to watching out for approaching cold fronts. If you are the kind of individual who was prepared going into this year’s hurricane season, you probably don’t need a reminder that its time to prepare your plants for cold weather. And if you are like most of us who put things off until the last minute – you probably won’t pay any attention to this reminder anyway. So why are we even touching on this subject? If you are one of those organized types, you may just be too preoccupied with some other activities to realize that it’s that time again – so consider this as a gentle reminder. If you are one of those procrastinators – well, it’s never too late to change. There’s also a third group who we haven’t mentioned yet and that is new club members. If you are a new member of our group – here’s what we are talking about:

    1. As the days become shorter most bromeliads will be slowing down from their active growing period, so you should back off on your fertilization program. I’ve often heard it said that you should only fertilize from March through October of each year and I believe that this is good advice for most hobbyists. You not only waste fertilizer during the winter months, but you risk spurring the plants into producing new growth during a time when that new growth is most vulnerable to cold damage.
    2. If your plants are not actively producing new growth, their water requirements are not as great as they were during the Summer. Reduce your watering frequency accordingly and monitor the media moisture a little more closely. We are entering that time of year when the risk of losing plants to rot organisms is at its greatest, so stay alert!
    3. Have a frost or freeze protection plan for those sudden cold spells we are apt to see. Don’t wait until the 11 o’clock news to decide to cover your plants if it looks like you will see freezing temperatures during the night. Know beforehand which plants need protection and how you intend to provide it. Will you bring those plants indoors? Will you cover them with blankets? Should you move them to a warmer portion of your yard? Should you purchase some of the material known as "frost cloth" or "freeze blanket"? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. You need select the choice which works best for you – but don’t wait until the last minute!
    4. If you bring your plants indoors or crowd them togther in a greenhouse or other protective cover, keep in mind that you are providing ideal conditions for scale to run rampant through your collection. So look at your plants frequently and at the first sign of scale don’t hesitate to begin treating for it. Scale can quickly spoil the leaves on quite a number of bromeliad varieties.
    5. Did I say watch your watering practices(#2. above) because too much water can lead to rot problems? Well, watch your watering practices because when the humidity gets low (like it does in the winter around here) those potting mixes can get pretty dry. Most bromeliads are very tolerant of dry conditions, but others don’t appreciate being left to dessicate. This is why some bromeliads just never do well mounted on driftwood for display. So don’t under-water either!
    6. If you haven’t already separated and potted up your Neoregelia pups, you may want to continue to procrastinate until the Spring. Neo. pups started in the late Fall and Winter often don’t seem to get the good start necessary to develop well because the plants are not in their active growth mode. In comparison, pups started in the Spring seem to rapidly develop roots and firmly establish themselves.



Upcoming Events:

10/11/03 – Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies quarterly meeting hosted by the Boca Raton Bromeliad Society 11/7-9/03 – Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society Standard BSI Show and Sale. Terry Park in Ft. Meyers. Call L. Giroux at 239/997-2237 or B. Weber at 239/391-4268 for details and directions.

10/12/03 – October meeting of FECBS.1:30p.m.

10/13/03 – First meeting of the year of the Halifax Council of Garden Clubs. 10a.m.

11/15-16/03 – 2003 Extravaganza presented by the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies and hosted by the Bromeliad Society of South Florida. Location: Miccosuckee Indian Reservation Hotel and Casino in Miami (corner of Tamiami Trial and Krome Ave.)

7/26/04-8/2/04 – Sixteenth World Bromeliad Conference in Chicago, Illinois