HOW I GOT HOOKED ON BROMELIADS
By Mary Gardener, S.E.Michigan Bromeliad Society
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Bromeliads - Cacti/Succulents - Orchids - Conifers
Magnificent Jewels of the Plant Kingdom
Habitat: Arboretum de
Concord - Conifers from around the World grown in Michigan"
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I bought my first Bromeliads about five years ago at the Ann Arbor spring garden show
(three Tillandsias-bullbosa, ionantha and an ionantha 'Conehead' which still survive) and
I was instantly hooked by these fascinating plants. My collection grew slowly over the
next three years as I found more Tillandsias here and there, sometimes in the most
unexpected places (an art store in Wells Beach, Maine, a rock show). I was content with my
little collection of Tillandsias happily residing in the east window of my living room
until two events occurred last year that changed everything. The first was an article in
the Oakland Press featuring Siegrid Stern's fantastic greenhouse. The second was the
completion of our sunroom, which my husband and I spent ten years building.
The Press article on Siegrid's greenhouse mentioned a meeting of the Bromeliad Society at
the Rochester Environmental Center.I attended that meeting, had a chance to see other
interesting genus of Broms, joined S.E.Michigan Bromeliad Society and in the ensuing year
my little collection zoomed from fifteen to the present 200 plus, aided by many generous
gifts and purchases from society members. My little hobby has become an obsession and my
completed sunroom is now overflowing with Broms as well as other tropicals.
As a novice, I have been delighted with my success in growing Broms in my sunroom setting
and don't consider a greenhouse a necessity. Some factors that have aided me are a
southwest orientation with lots of bright light, in-floor radiant heat and ceiling fans.
My goal has been to duplicate as closely as I can the environment that my plants would
have in their natural setting. I mist the foliage to duplicate nighttime or morning rains
followed by drying winds (fans) during the day as would occur in the wild.
Many of my Neoregelias have bloomed and then pupped prolifically. I've had a Billbergia
'Red Form' bloom and the Aechmea nudicaulis 'Rubra" that I mounted recently on lava
rock just rewarded me with a bloom spike. Several plants have pupped without ever
blooming! Siegrid gave me a Neoregelia marmorata last year after removing a number of pups
and it has continued to produce five more pups and is still going strong.
During the summer, I experimented and placed some of my Broms on the back porch where they
received dappled sunlight. They did exceptionally well. My only complaint was with the
amount of rain that we had this summer. I had to keep moving them in and out of a covered
area so they wouldn't rot with the overabundance of water. They've been moved indoors for
the winter but next summer I'll have to come up with a better system for water regulation.
A giant umbrella sounds like a good idea.
|I've also tried growing from seed with good results. If done properly, it is quite rewarding to see sprouts in about two weeks. The trick is to keep those seedlings happy for the three years it takes them to mature.|
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