(by Lien Smith, October 2021)

The Bromeliad Society of Queensland (BSQ) has released the second edition of its popular book titled: Starting with Bromeliads: A Guide to the Growing of Bromeliads. Its release is timely as the first edition sold out two years ago, with total sales of about 5,000 copies.

The book has been completely revised to ensure not only that the information is current, but also to improve its readability. For example, the print size is larger, while the book is now an A4, rather than A5, size. There are over 200, mostly quite large, colour photographs, spread over 110 pages. A high quality binding has been used, making it easier to read, and improving its "shelf life".

While many people interested in bromeliads could find it useful, its primary focus is on growing bromeliads in the sub-tropics and, to a lesser extent, the tropics.

The book commences with some information about where you can buy bromeliads. It then discusses how to recognise a bromeliad, and the 'structure" of the bromeliad family e.g. a listing of genera.

The book next covers some basic growing and related information e.g. plant selection suggestions, on the genera which people starting out with bromeliads are most likely to encounter: Aechmea, Alcantarea, Billbergia, Neoregelia, Pitcairnia, Portea, Tillandsia (Grey-leaved), and Vriesea. At the end of each genus' chapter, there is a valuable listing of the rarer bromeliad genera which have similar cultural requirements.

A chapter on bromeliad propagation covers both vegetative propagation and raising bromeliads from seed.

The next chapter focuses on caring for bromeliads, in some detail. Topics covered include: light requirements, dealing with cold temperatures, air circulation, watering, potting mixtures and pests and diseases.

The final chapter covers issues with, and recommendations for, landscaping with bromeliads.

The book concludes with a brief Glossary and list of references, as well as two pages on which people can write notes.

In summary, as Jerry Coleby-Williams (from Gardening Australia) said in his book review:

"… Bromeliads, like growers, are characters. Within the pages of 'Starting with Bromeliads' is much hard-earned knowledge, the lived experience of dedicated enthusiasts and collectors. They want to encourage the next generation of bromeliad lovers by releasing a handy, practical and affordable guide. They have succeeded…."

The book can be purchased from the Bromeliad Society of Queensland (Inc)-BSQ. An electronic preview of the book, and purchasing arrangements, are on the BSQ's website: