• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Copyright
 Title Page
 Introduction
 Classification
 Growing bromeliads indoors
 Growing bromeliads outdoors
 Care and culture
 Propagation
 Forcing bromeliads to bloom
 Diseases






Group Title: Florida Cooperative Extension Service circular 1090
Title: Bromeliads
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00049199/00001
 Material Information
Title: Bromeliads
Series Title: Circular
Physical Description: 7 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Black, Robert J ( Robert John ), 1942-
Dehgan, Bijan
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1993
 Subjects
Subject: Bromeliaceae -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Bromeliaceae   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: Robert J. Black and Bijan Dehgan.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "May 1993."
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00049199
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: oclc - 29206144

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Introduction
        Page 1
    Classification
        Page 2
    Growing bromeliads indoors
        Page 3
    Growing bromeliads outdoors
        Page 3
    Care and culture
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Propagation
        Page 6
    Forcing bromeliads to bloom
        Page 6
    Diseases
        Page 6
        Page 7
Full Text





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Agricultural Sciences and should be
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site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida




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lo90
UNIVERSITY OF
WFLORIDA
Florida Cooperative Extension Service


Bromeliads


Circular 1090
May 1993


Robert J. Black and Bijan Dehgan


iveC 1 7of R~3o
University of Florida


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SCIBRACE
LIBRARY


Bromeliads'
Robert J. Black and Bijan Dehgan2


Few families in the plant kingdom surpass
bromeliads with their wide variation in size, shape,
and foliage color. Many bromeliads adapt to growing
conditions found indoors and, therefore, make
excellent interior plants for the home. Hardier
genera can also be used as landscape plants
throughout most of peninsular Florida.

Bromeliads are in the pineapple family
(Bromeliaceae), a family native to the American
Tropics. Two widely known members of this family
are pineapple (Ananas comosus) and Spanish moss
(Tillandsia usneoides).

The majority of bromeliads grown as interior
plants are epiphytes. In their native habitats, they
attach by special root structures to trunks and
branches of trees and derive their moisture and
nutrients from the air and rain. Some are called
saxicolous because they attach themselves to rocks,
while the rest are terrestrial and grow in the ground
as most plants do. Within the same genus there are
sometimes tree-dwelling, ground-dwelling, and rock-
dwelling species. In fact, epiphytic and terrestrial
bromeliads can often thrive equally well if forced to
switch places and life styles. It is this ability, in
particular, that allows many epiphytic species of
bromeliads to be grown in pots like most other plants.

Plants in the family Bromeliaceae vary widely in
shape, size and color. Even species of a single genus
often differ drastically in appearance. Most
bromeliads cultivated for interior use, however, are


alike: without stems and with a central flower spike
and strap-shaped, leathery, arching leaves arranged in
a rosette.

Most species are grown primarily for their
colorful foliage and exotic shapes. Variations in
foliage are as wide as those in flowering, and leaves
may be green, gray, maroon, spotted or striped.
Leaves range from grass-like and less than 2 inches
long in some tillandsias, to broad and several feet
long in billbergias. The upper leaves of many species
change color when plants are about to flower. The
gray-green, grass-like foliage of Tillandsia ionantha
turns pink, and deep purple-blue flowers arise among
the pink leaves. Some species of Neoregelia have red
tips on the apex of their leaves that resemble
fingernails, and are often called "painted fingernail."

Inflorescences (the flowering parts of a plant)
may arise from the "cup" or be borne within the "cup."
The "cup" or the "vase" is a water holding tank or
reservoir formed in the center of many bromeliads by
a rosette of overlapping leaves. Flowers are often
small but colorful; however, the showy portion of the
inflorescence is frequently made up of brilliantly
colored bracts borne below each flower. Bracts may
be separated, large and leaf-like or overlapping,
forming dense spikes. Usually, the bright bracts
remain on the inflorescence while fruit matures. The
combination of highly colored bracts and often
contrasting colored fruit, which remains on the plant
for several months, adds to the aesthetic value of
bromeliads.


UNIVERSITY OF FLIRA LiUARyPIP


1. This document is Circular 1090, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.
Publication date: May 1993.
2. Associate Professor and Professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611.







Bromeliads


CLASSIFICATION

Bromeliad family

The bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae) consists of
51 genera and about 1,500 strictly American species.
They grow from the dry deserts of southwestern
United States to equatorial tropical rain forests.
Based on growth habits and other characteristics,
Bromeliaceae is divided into the subfamilies
Pitcairnioideae, Tillandsioideae and Bromelioideae.

Members of the subfamily Pitcairnioideae are
mainly terrestrial plants with heavy spines on their
leaf edges. They grow in soil or on rocks and do not
have a leaf rosette that traps water. The genera
belonging to this subfamily commonly cultivated are
Dyckia, Hechtia, Pitcimia and Puya.

The subfamily Tillandsioideae contains the least
number of genera but the largest number of species,
of which many are cultivated. Plants in this group
have smooth or entire leaf margins, unusual foliage
markings and colors. Some species produce fragrant
flowers. Plants in the genera Guzmania, Tillandsia
and Vriesea are the more commonly cultivated
members of this subfamily.

Bromelioideae, the third subfamily, has the most
bromeliad genera grown as garden and interior plants.
It encompasses 30 genera with the widest range of
plant forms, and accordingly the largest number of
cultivated species. Subfamily members are mostly
epiphytic, leaf edges are almost all spiny, foliage has
attractive markings and patterns, and the leaves are
usually arranged in rosettes which may be cup-shaped.
Aechmea, Billbergia, Cryptanthus, Neoregelia and
Nidularium are the most popular genera of this
subfamily.

Commonly Cultivated Genera

Aechmea. Most of the 150 species in this genus
are epiphytic, have deep cups to hold water and
outstanding foliage all year long. The leaf edges are
spined and the inflorescences are spectacular.
Aechmea fasciata, one of the most popular
bromeliads, is often called the urn or living vase plant
because it appears to have provided a vase for its
predominately pink inflorescence.

Ananas. The commercial edible pineapple
(Ananas comosus) is a member of this genus. There


is a variegated form of this species (Ananas comosus
variegatus) that has green, cream and pink striped
leaves that form rosettes 2 feet or more across.
There is a smaller species, Ananas nanus, that is
commonly grown as an interior plant. It has arching,
12 to 15-inch grayish-green leaves surrounding a 15-
inch spike of red buds resembling a pincushion. The
buds open into purple flowers which are followed by
a 2-inch high, fragrant, edible pineapple.

Billbergla. Billbergias are tall and urn-shaped
with spiny edged leaves. They are usually epiphytic
and the foliage is often attractively variegated, banded
or mottled. Although short-lived, inflorescences are
very colorful.

Cryptanthus. These plants are small, terrestrial,
sometimes stoloniferous with flat, basal, symmetrically
arranged, variously colored mottled or stripped leaves.
They are grown mainly as foliage plants but their tiny
white flowers, emerging low in the cups, are very
attractive. Plants of this genus are commonly referred
to as "earth stars" because their leaves grow low and
parallel to the ground in a star-like arrangement. The
species Cryptanthus bivattatus and several of its
cultivars are among the most widely grown for use as
interior plants.

Guzmania. Bromeliads in this genus have thin,
glossy, strap-like, smooth-edged leaves which form a
water-holding rosette. There are thin brown, purple
or maroon lines which run parallel along the length of
the leaves. Clusters of red, white or yellow flowers
appear from behind orange, yellow or red bracts on
a terminal spike. They are mostly epiphytic, however,
a few are terrestrial.

Neoregelia. These epiphytic bromeliads develop
blue or white flowers just above the water level in the
cup. The central portion of the leaves surrounding
the flowers turn rosy red. The spiny-edged leaves may
also have red spots and markings. Some of the
species develop red leaf tips and are often called
"painted fingernail."

Nidularium. Plants in this genus are often
confused with those in the genus Neoregelia. They
both have bird's nest type flower heads; however,
Nidularium inflorescence shows the bracts rather
distinctly while the inflorescence is buried in the leaf
rosette of Neoregelia. These medium-sized, epiphytic
plants have broad, flexible, lightly spined leaves that
form an open rosette.


Page 2






Bromeliads


TllIandsia. With nearly 400 species this genus is
the largest, most diverse and widely distributed genus
in the bromeliad family. Most are epiphytic, except
for a few species that grow on rocks. Plant species
vary in size from tiny to large. Some species have
leaves that are tough and string-like; others have soft,
thin, strap-like leaves. In still others the lower part of
the leaf is spoon shaped. Often, the leaves are
covered with a gray fuzz or scales. The inflorescence
is spectacular in some species consisting usually of
blue flowers with brightly colored bracts.

Vriesea. With more than 200 species this genus
is the second largest but most hybridized and
cultivated genus in the bromeliad family. These are
medium size, mostly epiphytic plants with soft or
firm, variously green but often spotted, blotched or
distinctly marked leaves. The usually long-lasting
inflorescences have yellow, green or white flowers and
brightly colored bracts. The inflorescences may be
upright like a spear, pendulous or even curved.
Plants in this genus are very susceptible to injury from
cold temperatures.

GROWING BROMELIADS INDOORS

Bromeliads are excellent indoor plants. They
have colorful, long-lasting inflorescenses and some
have brilliantly colored foliage as well. Bromeliads
also readily adapt to the unfavorable growing
conditions that exist in most homes.

Although many bromeliads are epiphytic, living on
branches and trunks of trees or on rocks in their
native habitat, most can be grown in containers. Clay
and plastic pots are equally satisfactory as containers
unless plants are large, in which case the heavier clay
pot is more stable. Because plastic pots retain
moisture longer than clay pots, plants grown in the
former need watering less frequently than those in the
latter. Epiphytic bromeliads can also be grown in
perforated plastic baskets and clay pots like those
used for other epiphytic plants such as orchids.

Because bromeliads rarely have extensive roots,
relatively small pots are adequate for most plants.
The larger varieties can usually be brought to
flowering in 5 to 7-inch pots. Terrestrial plants do
not have to be moved into larger pots until their roots
completely fill the current container. Move young
epiphytes into pots one size larger every spring,
however, until the maximum convenient pot size has
been reached.


Some epiphytic bromeliads, such as the gray-
scaled Tillandsia, grow poorly if planted in a
conventional potting mixture. They grow best in a
medium such as tree-fern bark, cork-oak bark, or on
a tree-fern slab, or pieces of wood. To mount a plant
on one of these materials, wrap the base of the plant
(including roots, if any) in sphagnum moss, and tie
the wrapped base to its support by winding plastic-
coated wire around the moss and the supporting
material. Fasten the ends of the wire firmly but in
such a way that it can be easily untied. Hang the
mounted specimens in a convenient place. Spray the
sphagnum moss and plant with water frequently
enough to prevent complete drying of the moss.

After supportive roots grow over the sphagnum
moss and around the mount, remove the temporary
wire. To keep the plant alive and healthy, water the
plant, its roots, and the supportive materials twice
weekly throughout the year. Water can be applied as
a spray or the entire mounted plant can be submerged
in water for a few minutes. The humidity around
plants will influence their need for water. The
humidity in a home which is heated during the winter
months or cooled with air-conditioning during the
summer months can be very low and plants may need
to be watered more frequently than those grown in a
moist environment.

GROWING BROMELIADS OUTDOORS

Bromeliads can be used in the landscape in frost-
free areas of the state or grown in containers that can
be moved indoors in areas where freezes occur.
Since bromeliads require minimal care, they are an
asset in the landscape.

In south Florida, bromeliads can be grown
outdoors unprotected during most winters. In this
area, people enjoy bromeliads for their graceful and
decorative foliage, flowers, and fruit year round.

Some bromeliads tolerate low temperatures. The
graceful, spiny Bromeliapinguin survives north Florida
conditions, provided it is grown in a protected area.
However, extreme cold temperatures will scorch and
injure it. Cold damage to a few leaves will destroy
the symmetry and beauty of the plant for a long time.

In areas where frost and freezing temperatures
are common, covering with plastic or cloth may offer
some protection. However, it is a extremely tedious
job to cover the plants, and the covers are unsightly.
In addition, mechanical breakage of leaves often


Page 3






Bromeliads


TllIandsia. With nearly 400 species this genus is
the largest, most diverse and widely distributed genus
in the bromeliad family. Most are epiphytic, except
for a few species that grow on rocks. Plant species
vary in size from tiny to large. Some species have
leaves that are tough and string-like; others have soft,
thin, strap-like leaves. In still others the lower part of
the leaf is spoon shaped. Often, the leaves are
covered with a gray fuzz or scales. The inflorescence
is spectacular in some species consisting usually of
blue flowers with brightly colored bracts.

Vriesea. With more than 200 species this genus
is the second largest but most hybridized and
cultivated genus in the bromeliad family. These are
medium size, mostly epiphytic plants with soft or
firm, variously green but often spotted, blotched or
distinctly marked leaves. The usually long-lasting
inflorescences have yellow, green or white flowers and
brightly colored bracts. The inflorescences may be
upright like a spear, pendulous or even curved.
Plants in this genus are very susceptible to injury from
cold temperatures.

GROWING BROMELIADS INDOORS

Bromeliads are excellent indoor plants. They
have colorful, long-lasting inflorescenses and some
have brilliantly colored foliage as well. Bromeliads
also readily adapt to the unfavorable growing
conditions that exist in most homes.

Although many bromeliads are epiphytic, living on
branches and trunks of trees or on rocks in their
native habitat, most can be grown in containers. Clay
and plastic pots are equally satisfactory as containers
unless plants are large, in which case the heavier clay
pot is more stable. Because plastic pots retain
moisture longer than clay pots, plants grown in the
former need watering less frequently than those in the
latter. Epiphytic bromeliads can also be grown in
perforated plastic baskets and clay pots like those
used for other epiphytic plants such as orchids.

Because bromeliads rarely have extensive roots,
relatively small pots are adequate for most plants.
The larger varieties can usually be brought to
flowering in 5 to 7-inch pots. Terrestrial plants do
not have to be moved into larger pots until their roots
completely fill the current container. Move young
epiphytes into pots one size larger every spring,
however, until the maximum convenient pot size has
been reached.


Some epiphytic bromeliads, such as the gray-
scaled Tillandsia, grow poorly if planted in a
conventional potting mixture. They grow best in a
medium such as tree-fern bark, cork-oak bark, or on
a tree-fern slab, or pieces of wood. To mount a plant
on one of these materials, wrap the base of the plant
(including roots, if any) in sphagnum moss, and tie
the wrapped base to its support by winding plastic-
coated wire around the moss and the supporting
material. Fasten the ends of the wire firmly but in
such a way that it can be easily untied. Hang the
mounted specimens in a convenient place. Spray the
sphagnum moss and plant with water frequently
enough to prevent complete drying of the moss.

After supportive roots grow over the sphagnum
moss and around the mount, remove the temporary
wire. To keep the plant alive and healthy, water the
plant, its roots, and the supportive materials twice
weekly throughout the year. Water can be applied as
a spray or the entire mounted plant can be submerged
in water for a few minutes. The humidity around
plants will influence their need for water. The
humidity in a home which is heated during the winter
months or cooled with air-conditioning during the
summer months can be very low and plants may need
to be watered more frequently than those grown in a
moist environment.

GROWING BROMELIADS OUTDOORS

Bromeliads can be used in the landscape in frost-
free areas of the state or grown in containers that can
be moved indoors in areas where freezes occur.
Since bromeliads require minimal care, they are an
asset in the landscape.

In south Florida, bromeliads can be grown
outdoors unprotected during most winters. In this
area, people enjoy bromeliads for their graceful and
decorative foliage, flowers, and fruit year round.

Some bromeliads tolerate low temperatures. The
graceful, spiny Bromeliapinguin survives north Florida
conditions, provided it is grown in a protected area.
However, extreme cold temperatures will scorch and
injure it. Cold damage to a few leaves will destroy
the symmetry and beauty of the plant for a long time.

In areas where frost and freezing temperatures
are common, covering with plastic or cloth may offer
some protection. However, it is a extremely tedious
job to cover the plants, and the covers are unsightly.
In addition, mechanical breakage of leaves often


Page 3







Bromeliads


occurs. A more practical way to prevent cold damage
is to grow bromeliads in containers with a potting mix
and sink the containers into the ground. When
freezing temperatures are predicted, pull the
containers out the ground and move them into a
garage or other protected area. While indoors, the
plants should receive some light during the daytime.
When temperatures are above freezing and no more
frosty nights are predicted, the plants can be placed
back into the landscape and mulched to hide the pot
edges.

CARE AND CULTURE

Light

Bromeliads tolerate a wide range of light
intensities, including low light, for long periods
without ill effects. The plants, however, will look
better when they receive proper light.

Although optimum light levels vary considerably,
the following characteristics are helpful in selecting a
spot for a particular plant. Generally bromeliad
species with hard, thick, gray, gray-green or fuzzy
foliage withstand the highest light levels, while species
with soft, green, thin leaves grow best under lower
light levels.

A general recommendation is to grow bromeliads
where the light level is approximately 1,500 foot
candles or where orchids grow well. In a home, a
window with a southern, eastern or western exposure
is satisfactory for bromeliad growth, but most species
must not be exposed to the direct rays of the sun.

In most instances, a bromeliad will indicate by its
growth habit whether light levels are satisfactory. A
yellowish or pale green plant may indicate that the
light level is too high. Conversely, a darker green
than normal, with a more open or elongated shape,
may indicate low light levels.

It is difficult to categorize bromeliad genera into
optimum light levels, because light requirements of
species within a genus may differ. The following
generalizations can be used as a guideline, however,
when selecting bromeliads for a particular site. Plants
in the genus Dyckia, Puyas, Hechtias, Ananas and the
hard-leaved species in Aechmea and Billbergia grow
best at high light levels. Plants in the genus
Guzmania, Neoregelia, Nidularium, Cryptanthus and
Vrieseas can grow under lower light levels.


Temperature

The majority of bromeliads are tropical or
subtropical and thrive outdoors in Florida's high
summer temperatures. Many tolerate temperatures
in excess of 1000 F. In a'home environment,
however, bromeliads do best at 70-750 F during the
day and between 60 and 65 degrees at night.
Bromeliads native to central and north Florida
tolerate temperatures slightly below freezing for short
periods, but most introduced species should not be
exposed to temperatures below 40 degrees. As a
general rule, the softer-leafed species need a higher
temperature, while those with very hard, stiff leaves
are much more tolerant of cold.

Humidity

Most bromeliads grow best indoors at a relative
humidity of 40 to 60 percent. Unfortunately the
average humidity in most homes is well below 40
percent, especially during winter months when heating
systems are operating.

Humidity levels in the home can be increased by
installing an inexpensive humidifier. Humidity in the
vicinity of plants can be improved by placing potted
plants on a 2 or 3-inch bed of wet gravel. Water
evaporating from the gravel increases the humidity.
The bottom of the plant pot should never be in or
under water, because this causes waterlogged medium,
possibly resulting in root damage. Another method of
increasing the humidity around plants is to mist them
with water frequently during the day.

Air Circulation

Bromeliads, due to their epiphytic nature, require
good air circulation. Fresh air supplies them with
carbon dioxide and moisture. Plants grown in
stagnant air are more apt to be attacked by scale
insects and fungal organisms causing the bromeliads
to deteriorate rapidly. Air circulation can be
improved in a home by simply opening a window on
days that are not too cold or by turning on a fan at
low speed for most of the day.

Water

Bromeliads are extremely tolerant of low-moisture
conditions and will survive prolonged periods of
drought. Most of the problems encountered with
bromeliads are usually associated with rot caused by
overwatering. Growing these plants in light, porous


Page 4







Bromeliads


potting mixes that drain rapidly should help prevent
this problem.

Bromeliads grown in a potting mix or in the
landscape should be watered when the soil surface
feels dry. Plants grown in pots should be watered
thoroughly, until water runs out of the bottom of the
pot and then not watered until the medium surface
feels dry. Under normal household conditions
watering thoroughly once a week is usually sufficient.
In homes where the relative humidity is low (during
winter months and in air-conditioning) plants must be
checked and watered more often.

Many bromeliads are formed of a rosette of broad
leaves which creates a "cup" or "vase" in their centers.
If the plant is supplied with moisture by wetting the
soil around its roots, it is not necessary to keep the
cup filled with water. Most bromeliads adapt so well
to culture in a pot that they absorb the needed
moisture and nutrients through their root systems.
Keeping the cup filled with water under low light
conditions that exist in most homes encourages
bacteria and fungus problems. If the cup is kept filled
with water, it should be flushed out with plenty of
water periodically to prevent possible stagnation.
Periodic flushing also prevents a build up of salts left
when water in the cup evaporates. Water should be
removed from the cup if the temperature is likely to
fall below 40 degrees. This practice will prevent cold
damage which appears as a brown line across each
leaf at the water level.

Epiphytic bromeliads, such as those found in the
genus Tillandsia, are often grown secured to a board
or bark. Because these plants have no distinct cup to
collect water, they absorb moisture from the air
through their scaly leaves. Unfortunately, in an
indoor situation, where the humidity is usually very
low, they are unable to obtain adequate moisture
from the air. Moisture can be supplied to these
plants by misting or dousing them in a container of
water daily.

Planting Bed Soil

Bromeliads have a limited root system compared
to other flowering annuals and perennials. Roots
function primarily as a support or anchoring system.
Bromeliads absorb water and minerals through their
leaves from the moisture in the air and through their
cups. They are not as dependant, therefore, on their
root system as are most other plants. It is important,


however, to keep their root system alive and in good
health.

The epiphytic nature of bromeliads prevents
plants from tolerating heavy clay soil. To improve
these soils, incorporate 2 to 3 inches of organic
matter (peat, leaf mold, compost, etc.) into the
planting bed. The sandy soils of Florida are usually
well drained and good for growing bromeliads.

Potting Media

Most bromeliads grow best in a very porous
organic medium which permits quick water drainage
and sufficient air circulation around the roots. There
is no one potting mix which is better than any other,
however, the following mixes are suggested.

1. One part peat, one part bark, one part coarse
sand

2. One part peat, one part bark, one part perlite

3. One part peat, one-half part leaf mold, one part
coarse sand

Osmunda fiber, unshredded sphagnum moss or
tree-fern fiber may substituted for peat moss in these
mixes. Some bromeliads thrive best when grown in a
medium composed only of osmunda fiber.

Fertilization

Actively growing bromeliads respond to light
applications of fertilizer. During the winter months,
or under conditions of low light, they require little or
no fertilizer.

A general purpose, liquid houseplant fertilizer can
be applied to the potting mix at 1\3 to 1\2 of the
recommended dosage every 1 to 2 months. It is best
not to add fertilizer in the cup because this could lead
to an accumulation of fertilizer salts that may burn
newly emerging leaves.

Controlled-release fertilizers can be incorporated
uniformly throughout the potting mix at planting and
applied on the medium surface of established plants.
Bromeliads usually grow much better with a
continuous nutrient supply. Labor is also reduced
because controlled-release fertilizer application
frequency is less than for rapid-release fertilizers.


Page 5







Bromeliads


PROPAGATION

Bromeliads can be propagated by removal of
"pups" or "offsets" from the "mother plant" (asexual)
or by seed (sexual).

Bromeliads slowly die over a period of a year or
two after flowering. However, several pups usually
develop during the flowering cycle and usually emerge
from the soil near the edge of the container. The
pups should be separated from the mother plant after
they have developed a small rosette of leaves similar
to the mother plant. To remove a pup, use a serrated
knife, pruning shears or small saw. Coarse hacksaw
blades may also be used for this purpose. Push the
saw blade into the growing medium, between the pup
and mother plant, and cut through near the base of
the mother plant. The young pup may or may not
have developed a root system of its own. Don't be
alarmed if it hasn't. Add more potting medium to the
area where the pup has been removed and transplant
the newly cut pup into another pot. The mother
plant, especially if helped along with a small amount
of dilute fertilizer, will continue to produce pups until
it dies. Pups should begin growing soon even though
initially roots may be absent. Don't overwater. These
plants will normally flower in 1 to 3 years.
Propagation by vegetative means (pups) is by far the
best and most satisfactory method for home
gardeners.

Seed propagation is a long and tedious method of
producing large numbers of bromeliads at a relatively
small expense. Seeds can be sown in pots or flats on
a surface of moist sphagnum moss or finely screened
potting soil containing 50 to 75 percent organic
matter. Because seeds are sown on the surface, a
glass cover should be placed over the pot or flat to
maintain a high humidity and prevent the medium
from drying out too rapidly.

Seedlings are usually left in the propagation
container until they are 1 1\2 and 2 inches tall and
then transplanted directly to small pots. Plants grown
from seeds normally require 3 to 6 years to attain
flowering size.

FORCING BROMELIADS TO BLOOM

Many factors cause bromeliads to bloom such as
plant age, day length, light intensity, water and
temperature. Some bromeliads bloom quite regularly
while others do not. Research on the flowering
process has shown that bromeliads can be induced to


flower by exposing them to ethylene gas (a product of
burning wood and leaves and ripening fruit and
vegetables). After exposure to ethylene gas, the
flowers appear, depending on the genus involved,
within 6 to 14 weeks. A simple method that a home
gardener can use to start bromeliads' flowering is to
place a healthy, mature plant with all the water
drained from its cup inside a tightly closed, clear
plastic bag for a week to 10 days with a ripe apple.
During senescence (aging process), the apple releases
ethylene gas that, in turn, induces the bromeliad to
flower.

Chemicals such as "Ethrel" and "Omaflora" are
available and are effective for inducing flowering in
bromeliads. However, these chemicals are tricky to
regulate and may interfere with pup development.

DISEASES

Many problems commonly attributed to diseases
are the result of unfavorable growing conditions. Low
temperatures (400 F. and below) and overwatering
can cause the crown of many bromeliads to rot. Also,
plants subjected to mechanical injury, insects or
sunburn may be invaded by one of many fungi. This
invasion usually appears as a dark spot on the leaf,
either with sunken or water-soaked areas and
frequently with a radiating yellow area.

For severe infections or where large numbers of
plants are involved, chemical control may be needed.
For recommendations on selection and application of
fungicides, contact your county agriculture extension
agent.
Insects

Few insects bother bromeliads, and those that do
can be controlled. A number of scale insects attack
bromeliads. Appearing as small round or oval objects
on the leaves, scale insects multiply rapidly. They
make plants unsightly by producing yellow spots on
the leaves where the insects suck plant juices.

Mealybugs and root mealybugs, both characterized
by their cotton-wool protective covering, may also
attack bromeliads. When mature, mealybugs vary
from 1\5 to 1\3-inch long and some species have long
wax filaments extending from the rear of the body.
They damage bromeliads by sucking plant juices.

Spider mites may also attack bromeliads. They
are about 1/50-inch long when mature and may be


Page 6







Bromeliads


PROPAGATION

Bromeliads can be propagated by removal of
"pups" or "offsets" from the "mother plant" (asexual)
or by seed (sexual).

Bromeliads slowly die over a period of a year or
two after flowering. However, several pups usually
develop during the flowering cycle and usually emerge
from the soil near the edge of the container. The
pups should be separated from the mother plant after
they have developed a small rosette of leaves similar
to the mother plant. To remove a pup, use a serrated
knife, pruning shears or small saw. Coarse hacksaw
blades may also be used for this purpose. Push the
saw blade into the growing medium, between the pup
and mother plant, and cut through near the base of
the mother plant. The young pup may or may not
have developed a root system of its own. Don't be
alarmed if it hasn't. Add more potting medium to the
area where the pup has been removed and transplant
the newly cut pup into another pot. The mother
plant, especially if helped along with a small amount
of dilute fertilizer, will continue to produce pups until
it dies. Pups should begin growing soon even though
initially roots may be absent. Don't overwater. These
plants will normally flower in 1 to 3 years.
Propagation by vegetative means (pups) is by far the
best and most satisfactory method for home
gardeners.

Seed propagation is a long and tedious method of
producing large numbers of bromeliads at a relatively
small expense. Seeds can be sown in pots or flats on
a surface of moist sphagnum moss or finely screened
potting soil containing 50 to 75 percent organic
matter. Because seeds are sown on the surface, a
glass cover should be placed over the pot or flat to
maintain a high humidity and prevent the medium
from drying out too rapidly.

Seedlings are usually left in the propagation
container until they are 1 1\2 and 2 inches tall and
then transplanted directly to small pots. Plants grown
from seeds normally require 3 to 6 years to attain
flowering size.

FORCING BROMELIADS TO BLOOM

Many factors cause bromeliads to bloom such as
plant age, day length, light intensity, water and
temperature. Some bromeliads bloom quite regularly
while others do not. Research on the flowering
process has shown that bromeliads can be induced to


flower by exposing them to ethylene gas (a product of
burning wood and leaves and ripening fruit and
vegetables). After exposure to ethylene gas, the
flowers appear, depending on the genus involved,
within 6 to 14 weeks. A simple method that a home
gardener can use to start bromeliads' flowering is to
place a healthy, mature plant with all the water
drained from its cup inside a tightly closed, clear
plastic bag for a week to 10 days with a ripe apple.
During senescence (aging process), the apple releases
ethylene gas that, in turn, induces the bromeliad to
flower.

Chemicals such as "Ethrel" and "Omaflora" are
available and are effective for inducing flowering in
bromeliads. However, these chemicals are tricky to
regulate and may interfere with pup development.

DISEASES

Many problems commonly attributed to diseases
are the result of unfavorable growing conditions. Low
temperatures (400 F. and below) and overwatering
can cause the crown of many bromeliads to rot. Also,
plants subjected to mechanical injury, insects or
sunburn may be invaded by one of many fungi. This
invasion usually appears as a dark spot on the leaf,
either with sunken or water-soaked areas and
frequently with a radiating yellow area.

For severe infections or where large numbers of
plants are involved, chemical control may be needed.
For recommendations on selection and application of
fungicides, contact your county agriculture extension
agent.
Insects

Few insects bother bromeliads, and those that do
can be controlled. A number of scale insects attack
bromeliads. Appearing as small round or oval objects
on the leaves, scale insects multiply rapidly. They
make plants unsightly by producing yellow spots on
the leaves where the insects suck plant juices.

Mealybugs and root mealybugs, both characterized
by their cotton-wool protective covering, may also
attack bromeliads. When mature, mealybugs vary
from 1\5 to 1\3-inch long and some species have long
wax filaments extending from the rear of the body.
They damage bromeliads by sucking plant juices.

Spider mites may also attack bromeliads. They
are about 1/50-inch long when mature and may be


Page 6







Bromeliads


PROPAGATION

Bromeliads can be propagated by removal of
"pups" or "offsets" from the "mother plant" (asexual)
or by seed (sexual).

Bromeliads slowly die over a period of a year or
two after flowering. However, several pups usually
develop during the flowering cycle and usually emerge
from the soil near the edge of the container. The
pups should be separated from the mother plant after
they have developed a small rosette of leaves similar
to the mother plant. To remove a pup, use a serrated
knife, pruning shears or small saw. Coarse hacksaw
blades may also be used for this purpose. Push the
saw blade into the growing medium, between the pup
and mother plant, and cut through near the base of
the mother plant. The young pup may or may not
have developed a root system of its own. Don't be
alarmed if it hasn't. Add more potting medium to the
area where the pup has been removed and transplant
the newly cut pup into another pot. The mother
plant, especially if helped along with a small amount
of dilute fertilizer, will continue to produce pups until
it dies. Pups should begin growing soon even though
initially roots may be absent. Don't overwater. These
plants will normally flower in 1 to 3 years.
Propagation by vegetative means (pups) is by far the
best and most satisfactory method for home
gardeners.

Seed propagation is a long and tedious method of
producing large numbers of bromeliads at a relatively
small expense. Seeds can be sown in pots or flats on
a surface of moist sphagnum moss or finely screened
potting soil containing 50 to 75 percent organic
matter. Because seeds are sown on the surface, a
glass cover should be placed over the pot or flat to
maintain a high humidity and prevent the medium
from drying out too rapidly.

Seedlings are usually left in the propagation
container until they are 1 1\2 and 2 inches tall and
then transplanted directly to small pots. Plants grown
from seeds normally require 3 to 6 years to attain
flowering size.

FORCING BROMELIADS TO BLOOM

Many factors cause bromeliads to bloom such as
plant age, day length, light intensity, water and
temperature. Some bromeliads bloom quite regularly
while others do not. Research on the flowering
process has shown that bromeliads can be induced to


flower by exposing them to ethylene gas (a product of
burning wood and leaves and ripening fruit and
vegetables). After exposure to ethylene gas, the
flowers appear, depending on the genus involved,
within 6 to 14 weeks. A simple method that a home
gardener can use to start bromeliads' flowering is to
place a healthy, mature plant with all the water
drained from its cup inside a tightly closed, clear
plastic bag for a week to 10 days with a ripe apple.
During senescence (aging process), the apple releases
ethylene gas that, in turn, induces the bromeliad to
flower.

Chemicals such as "Ethrel" and "Omaflora" are
available and are effective for inducing flowering in
bromeliads. However, these chemicals are tricky to
regulate and may interfere with pup development.

DISEASES

Many problems commonly attributed to diseases
are the result of unfavorable growing conditions. Low
temperatures (400 F. and below) and overwatering
can cause the crown of many bromeliads to rot. Also,
plants subjected to mechanical injury, insects or
sunburn may be invaded by one of many fungi. This
invasion usually appears as a dark spot on the leaf,
either with sunken or water-soaked areas and
frequently with a radiating yellow area.

For severe infections or where large numbers of
plants are involved, chemical control may be needed.
For recommendations on selection and application of
fungicides, contact your county agriculture extension
agent.
Insects

Few insects bother bromeliads, and those that do
can be controlled. A number of scale insects attack
bromeliads. Appearing as small round or oval objects
on the leaves, scale insects multiply rapidly. They
make plants unsightly by producing yellow spots on
the leaves where the insects suck plant juices.

Mealybugs and root mealybugs, both characterized
by their cotton-wool protective covering, may also
attack bromeliads. When mature, mealybugs vary
from 1\5 to 1\3-inch long and some species have long
wax filaments extending from the rear of the body.
They damage bromeliads by sucking plant juices.

Spider mites may also attack bromeliads. They
are about 1/50-inch long when mature and may be


Page 6







Bromeliads


greenish, yellowish, reddish or virtually colorless.
Commonly found on the undersides of leaves, they
suck juices from plants through their needle-like
mouthparts. A 10- or 15-power hand lens is very
helpful in detecting infestations before severe damage
occurs.


Page 7


After bringing a bromeliad home, isolate it for a
month and carefully examine it for pests before
placing it with other bromeliads. If a pest is found,
either discard the plant or contact your county
agriculture extension agent for recommendations on
appropriate pest-control methods.




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