The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next meeting Sunday, February 11th – 1:00p.m.

Feb. 2007

Preparing for a Show

President Bradley Rauch386/767-8937

Vice President – Nina Leggett - 386/673-0550

Secretary – Joan Campbell

Treasurer – Jim O’Shaughnessy - 386/253-0335

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Last month saw our election of officers. Thank you Brad and Jim for volunteering to serve second terms and welcome Nina and Joan to your new positions of Vice President and Secretary. Our club members are a great bunch of people and I know that you can count on them to provide whatever help you may need throughout the year. I believe we’re going to have another exciting year and look forward to great things from FECBS in 2007!

Dues for the New Year – Second Call!

There is no such thing as a free lunch…and there’s no such thing as a free membership in FECBS. We have a number of expenses throughout the year (this newsletter is one of them) and without your support in the form of membership moneys, we could be forced to either cut back on benefits to our members or (and I shudder to think of this…) conduct more fund-raisers. Dues are just $10.00 per individual or $12.50 for a family, so please, make out your checks today to FECBS and forward them to the Treasurer.

This month’s meeting…

This year’s "Everybody’s Flower Show" is just around the corner, so we thought that it might be a good time to go through those necessary steps toward making a ‘silk purse out of a sow’s ear’ …and we’re talking bromeliads here. Think your plant is not nice enough for entry in this show? You’ll be surprised at how nice even the most broken down plant can look after a good cleaning and repotting. We’ll go through all of the steps necessary to display the best qualities of your bromeliad – from choosing the right pot, to cleaning, repotting, and entry in the show.

FECBS Library Now Open for Business

Many thanks to Betty and Phil Dollar for organizing our club library. They’ve really done a terrific job at this and deserve a round of applause! Our club library is a tremendous resource for anyone attempting to learn more about bromeliads and just one of the many benefits to keeping up your membership in FECBS.

Cold Damage

You knew we weren’t going to get off that easy. It had been an extremely mild Winter with daytime temperatures well above normal until that last week in January (the week of the full moon) when temperatures suddenly plunged to the freezing mark and below. How did your plants fare through this cold snap? Let’s hear from you at this month’s meeting. Did you cover up, bring your plants indoors, or leave them to the Darwinian theory of "survival of the fittest". What worked well and what didn’t work at all?

Culture Tip for the Month

This is a new series that I thought we might try for a while. I’m sure everyone has at least one of those plants in their collection that they had high hopes for when it was first acquired, but the plant never lived up to those expectations… until something a little different in the way of culture was tried. The purpose of this column is to try to spare you the agony of losing plants until you discover that one little trick that turns out to be the key to success.

Tillandsi butzii

This is a curious little Tillandsia with a slightly inflated, bulbous base and slender twisted leaves, similar to T. baileyi, but much smaller. Overall, the plant is an olive-drab color with dark red striping. The base is covered in red speckles and the bloom spike has tubular purple flowers (no surprises here) and bracts of pink to lavender. Found in the wild from Southern Mexico to Panama this plant is sometimes described as prefering shade (50%) and dampness.

Photo #1 of Tillandsia butzii below

Two photos from the FCBS website. Note the speckling on the leaves in photo #1 and bloom in photo #2

My first attempt at growing T. butzii involved mounting a single plant upright on cork and misting the plant frequently until it attached itself to the cork. It never did and in fact, fell to pieces in a relatively short time. Attempt #2 involved attaching a new plant to a piece of driftwood and misting it more frequently – the book said ‘shade and dampness’ so I resolved to provide more of each! Plant number two lived slightly longer than #1 before it also disintegrated. At this point I had decided that I really didn’t need to have T. butzii in my collection after all, but then I heard from a club member of a bromeliad society in the west coast of Fl. that this plant is really quite easy to grow…if you mount it either horizontally or upside down! As it turns out, this is one of those plants that doesn’t really care which direction it’s pointed in. There’s a word for this (of course) and it is ageotropic, which David Benzing defines as where "growth is random in direction". I took this advice to heart, obtained still another T. butzii, mounted it upside down and, lo and behold, 4 years later I have a nice little clump of plants that rewards me with a bloom each year. No fuss, no bother – you just have to learn the trick!