The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next meeting Sunday, November 13, 2005

November, 2005

Hurricane Season Will Soon Be Over!

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 – at the risk of tempting fate (we still officially have a couple more weeks to go), I’m going to make the statement that we have successfully made it through the 2005 hurricane season with barely a scratch on us or a hair out of place! Did these seasons always used to last so long? Somehow I don’t remember the "holiday seasons" and hurricane season existing at the same time before…but then maybe that’s because this has been such an active season. Usually by this time of year the risk of seeing a tropical storm or hurricane is very, very low. This year there have been so many named storms that many weather forecasters tell us to not discount the possibility of a late season storm. Let’s hope they’re wrong on this!

This month’s meeting:

We often talk in our meetings about how nice it would be to visit some of our members’ homes and see their bromeliad collections, but somehow it just never happens. This month we are going to make the Thurrott home available for our monthly meeting and everyone will get a chance to wander around to see what not to do with bromeliads in the landscape as well as a few successful applications. We will look forward to seeing everyone and hope that the weather will cooperate.

Next Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies Meeting – January 14th. This will be hosted by the Broward County Bromeliad Society at the Donayre’s home. FECBS is to provide the Vice-Chair for this year and I was nominated to fill this position at our last meeting. Thank you Jim O’Shaughnessy for this honor!

Next time that we meet at the Garden Center take a few moments to look at the "secret garden" area. This has been redone with new plantings, the fountain has been activated and all in all, it looks very nice.

Okay, Fall weather is with us…now what do I do with my bromeliads?

The short answer is "Do nothing - just sit back and enjoy them!" In the Winter around here we worry about approaching cold fronts and frequently shuffle our more cold-sensitive plants around to warmer spots. We lug them inside when it’s cold and back outside when it warms up again…or we cover them up when a freeze approaches and then we uncover them again…and again…and again. In the Spring we feel guilty about neglecting our plants during the Fall and Winter and work up a sweat on weekends separating and repotting them. In the Summer our bromeliads are in their most active growth period and our spare time is taken up with watering, fertilization, and more repotting. In the Fall however, we finally get a chance to just sit back, enjoy the cooler mornings and evenings, and appreciate the beauty of those bromeliads in bloom and wonder when those other plants will get around to blooming. This is a time to slow the pace down a little and take stock of what we have in our collections. This is also a time to plan for what we would like to do next year with our plants. Do we want to have them indoors in an area where they will receive good light and air movement or do we work them into the landscape outside? Do we take the plunge and put up a shadehouse where we can work on providing better growing conditions or do we continue to place them in strategic places on the patio, in the pool enclosure, by the front door? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions and in the Fall we can mull these thoughts over endlessly in our minds without having to make a decision. We can also think about what plants we would like to add to our collections next year. You know that no matter how little room you have remaining on your property for bromeliads, there is always just one more plant that you would like to obtain – always one plant that you saw in a show or at a sale that you can’t live without. This is a good time to plan on how you will beg, borrow, or steal one for your collection. The Fall is also a good time to think about your bromeliad-related travel plans for the next year. What shows around the state would you like to attend next year that you haven’t had the opportunity to go to so far? What plant sales do you know of that are held each year and that sound intrigueing? Work these dates into next year’s schedule and plan on being there! Sure there’s a little travel involved, but that’s part of the fun of these events – it’s part of the adventure, part of the total bromeliad experience. Reluctant to go by yourself? I’m sure that there are others in our club that also would like to go. Consider car pooling. Let’s go as a group. The possibilities are boundless! We discuss in our meetings what we need to do with our bromeliads each season and some good advice gets passed around. In the Fall, though my suggestion to you is to do nothing – you’ve worked hard all year. Now just take a break, sit back, and enjoy your bromeliads!

Looking ahead:

November 18-20, 2005 University of Central Florida Arboretum Fall Plant Sale at UCF in Orlando – 4000 Central Florida Blvd.

For details call Amanda Melco at 407/823-2761

November 20, 2005 Open house at Sugar Mill Ruins on Herbert St. in Port Orange.

March 16-20, 2006 Everybody’s Flower Show at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach

April 23-24, 2006 Bromeliad Society of South Florida annual show and sale

June 6-11, 2006 17th World Bromeliad Conference San Diego, California. To be held at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle North in Mission Valley, San Diego, Ca. Register through the BSI website:

How to get to the Thurrott’s at 713 Breckenridge Dr., Port Orange:

From the west:

Take I-4 east to Daytona Beach. Turn right (south) on Clyde Morris Blvd. and continue south into Port Orange. You will cross Dunlawton Ave., but stay on Clyde Morris Blvd. Turn left at the traffic light onto Taylor Rd. and continue past the high school to the traffic light at Hensel Rd. Turn right and stay on Hensel Rd. to the top of the hill. You will see several yellow road signs on your right just before Hensel becomes Central Park Blvd. Turn right onto the small road past these signs-this is still Hensel Rd. Continue a short distance to Breckenridge Dr.. Turn left onto Breckenridge. We are the 4th house on the left.

From the north or south:

Take I-95 and exit at the Port Orange exit. If you are coming from the north, there is a traffic light at the end of the exit lanes. Turn left at this light onto Dunlawton and immediately get into the far right lane. This can be a little tricky because there will be traffic merging from the I-95 northbound lanes so be careful here! Turn right at the traffic light at Taylor Rd. If you are coming from the south, the exit will merge into traffic on Dunlawton. Stay in the far right lane and turn right at the traffic light onto Taylor Rd. Stay on Taylor and continue past the high school to the traffic light at Hensel Rd. Turn right and follow Hensel Rd. to the top of the hill. You will see several yellow road signs indicating a bend in the road on your right just before Hensel becomes Central Park Blvd. Turn right onto the small road past these signs-this is still Hensel Rd. Continue a short distance to Breckenridge Dr.. Turn left onto Breckenridge. We are the 4th house on the left.

Tales From the Web:

Recently I saw an exchange on the round robin in the form of a discussion on prolonging the life of blooms on Billbergias. As most of you know, plants in the Genus Billbergia produce absolutely stunning blooms, however these inflorescences fade and lose their beauty in a very short time – oftentimes so quickly that before you are aware that your plant has bloomed, its bloom is beginning to fade. What can you do short of taking a picture to preserve this brief moment? Try putting your entire plant in a refrigerator to cool things off! It’s long been known that warm temperatures cause the bloom on any bromeliad to fade more quickly and periods of cool weather can result in a bloom lasting much longer than expected. If you have a Billbergia (or any other bromeliad) coming into bloom and you would like to enter it into a show, but don’t think the bloom will last until then, consider creating an artificial cool spell – put the plant in a refrigerator until the show. You just might be able to pick up that award of merit ribbon that you were hoping for!

Here’s another excerpt from an exchange concerning a plant many of us grow – Tillandsia cyanea. Some people have trouble getting this plant to bloom. The following offers some insight into this. (I’ve editted this somewhat due to space constraints):

For many years I'd grown a T. cyanea that had refused to bloom, although otherwise growing and offsetting normaly. As I had resided in southern Connecticut at that time, (near New York) and had lacked the space for a proper greenhouse, I would grow my plants in a shadehouse during summer and bring them indoors under grow lights when temperatures cooled in the fall. For years I'd seen photographs of Hawwaiian gardens where T. cyanea was grown effortlessly as a bedding plant, and wondered what I was doing wrong. It was'nt until visiting Hawaiian Sunshine Nursery in Hilo that the proprietor, David Fell, informed me that their usual low winter temperatures dropped to an average of 48 degrees farenheit. Armed with this knowledge, I decided to leave my plants out until a little later in the season to approximate this seasonal change. As temperatures in my area drop dramatically with the onset of fall, I was only able to chill the plant for 3-4 weeks before night temps would drop below 40, so to be safe had brought the plant in for the winter. To my surprise, the plant bloomed the following spring with inflorescences every bit as tall and proud as their Hawaiian cousins, and provided that day temps during the blooming period were in the upper 70's with humidity above 50 percent, the fragrance of the blooms was intoxicating!

So there you have it – we’re usually worried about the effects of cool weather on our plants, but sometimes a little cooler temperatures can be just what is needed to prod that reluctant bloomer into flower!