by Penrith Goff, S.E.Michigan Bromeliad Society

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"Conifer Wildlife Habitat: Arboretum de Concord - Conifers from around the World grown in Michigan"

  • Pups grow faster while attached to the mother plant than they do when separated.
  • When separated from the mother plant, small pups grow more slowly than larger pups of the same plant.
  • Fertilizing the mother plant after she is finished blooming encourages pup formation.
  • Vriesea, guzmania, and green-leaved tillandsia pups often grow so close to the axis (stem, caudex) of the mother plant that seperation is a difficult and risky process. However, when the pups are near mature size, they can be separated easily by pushing the pup downward and away from the point of attachment. A larger pup will come away cleanly and well callused so there is no danger of rot. No roots yet but they'll soon emerge after the pup is firmly potted.
  • Pups of variegated plants are sometimes poorly or unevenly variegated or perhaps not variegated at all. As soon as it is clear that a pup does not have the desired variegation, it should be removed so that the reserves of the mother plant will go to the remaining pups. Be aware, though, that variegation does not always show up in a very small pup and may only be perceptible after the pup has had time to grow.
  • Pots may be turned on their sides so that the most promising area for pupping (the area under the best variegated leaves) is encouraged to develop pups. If some variegated leaves are more desirable than others, that area should exposed to light.
  • Don’t throw away that prized plant when all the leaves are gone. The caudex or stem may still be able to produce new pups. The caudex of some plants attains considerable size and contains a large store of reserves. The pups produced may grow slowly but they will mature. The Neoregelia ‘Gespacho’ (photo right) mother plant, between the two pups, has only 1˝ leaves left but several healthy shoot buds at the base of the plant are ready to grow. One or two will make it.
  • If a pup quills (grows as a tight tube instead of flaring out) it may be best to remove it immediately and get new pups started, making sure the humidity is adequate and washing the new shoots with detergent if necessary in order to remove any secretions which dry up and cause the leaves to stick together. 
  • The new pups often look quite different from the mother plant. The characteristic markings of the mature leaves may not be apparent, the color may be more intense, the leaves may even be different from the later mature leaves. So if the pup doesn’t look like its mother just give it time.

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