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Newsletter No 15 - October 2013
By Wholesale Bromeliads
Thursday, October 31, 2013


When I was giving a talk to the Ipswich Bromeliad Society recently, the subject of using Seasol & also of using soluble Calcium for bromeliads came up in discussion. This prompted me to research these topics & to reassess what we are doing in relation to them in our own nursery. I would like to share with you the information I have accessed about Seasol in this article. I will be writing a follow up article on Calcium.


Seasol is a brand name for a 100% organic seaweed extract.  It is made from two species of seaweed – Bull Kelp (Durvillaea potatorum) & Knotted Kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum) both of which are sustainably sourced. The Bull Kelp grows in the clean oceans around King Island & the west coast of Tasmania where it is collected from the shores of remote beaches.  Knotted Kelp grows in shallow intertidal waters.  The base of the plant is left intact so that the kelp re-grows.

Seaweed contains a complex mixture of biochemicals including hormones that regulate plant growth.  An analysis conducted at the Australian National University scientifically identified hormones called cytokinins & auxins. Cytokinins are known to stimulate cell division & new shoot initiation & have a general effect on shoot growth. Auxins have wide ranging effects on plant growth particularly stimulating the formation of new roots.

Seasol is a plant tonic (conditioner) & is not by definition a fertiliser as it contains only very small amounts of nitrogen & phosphorus.


Nitrogen = .2% (Ammonia & Nitrate form)

Phosphorus = .58%

Potassium = up to 4.3%

Sodium = .9%

Plus many other natural compounds & almost every known trace element

The amount of Potassium is beneficial for bromeliads & the trace elements contribute to overall plant nutrition. Sodium will be discussed later in this article.

SUMMARY of BENEFITS of SEASOL (as listed by the producing company)

* Increases cell division thereby stimulating plant & root growth

· * Enhances cell ‘strength’ resulting in increased tolerance to heat, drought & frost conditions

· * The effects of dehydration can be reversed after a single foliar application

· * As Seasol contains so little nitrogen & phosphorus, it won’t interfere with other nutritional inputs & it can be used all year round

· * Optimised plant health reduces the incidence & severity of some pest & disease problems

· * The natural compounds in Seasol also help to increase nutrient uptake, so when fertilisers are applied , they are much more effective


I was advised by an experienced horticultural chemist that Seasol should not be used for bromeliads due to its high sodium content (.9%) & its high pH (10).  High levels of sodium are known to be harmful to bromeliads with leaf tip die back usually one of the first symptoms.  This problem can be experienced with high levels of sodium in the water supply.

We’ve used Seasol in our nursery for years without any signs of damage to the leaves.

I’ve also mainly heard of positive results from other brom growers.  A few people have reported problems (one grower experienced damage to the centre of the plants using full strength dilution in water).

Another grower reported using a stronger dilution than recommended without any damage.

So I rang Seasol & spoke to their Marketing Agronomist. He said that they had not tested Seasol specifically on bromeliads. However they had never received any negative feedback from brom growers.  He was of the opinion that the dilution of the concentrate in water for foliar application reduces the amount of sodium to a non harmful level. He also stated that the pH of leaf surfaces helps to neutralise the high pH.


This is an important issue – will the physical properties of soluble fertilisers remain stable if mixed with Seasol?

The same horticultural chemist as before says no & that Seasol must be applied separately from other fertilisers, insecticides & fungicides.

The Seasol Agronomist said that the main nutrient that causes problems is phosphorous & it is therefore best to avoid mixing Seasol with any phosphorous containing compound.

Seasol has been tested with several insecticides & fungicides & found to be compatible with quite a few. The insecticides commonly used for bromeliads weren’t on the list. The fungicide Mancozeb was listed as ok.

We have decided to apply Seasol separately.


Recommended: 25mls per 9 litres of water every 2-4 weeks

The level of dissolved salts presents in the water supply also affects the dilution that should be used (tank water having the least).

We use ½ strength (12.5mls per 9 litres) as an extra precaution due to the high sodium level & apply every 4 weeks.

*Dilution & how often applied is a personal decision.  Just be aware of the level of sodium & watch carefully for any damage.

*There are other seaweed products on the market which I haven’t researched. The benefits are probably similar, but the information above relates specifically to Seasol.

*Powerfeed is also made by the same company. It’s a fertiliser with a higher level of nitrogen than potassium (N12%: P 1.4%: K 7%)

Newsletter No 14 - March 2013
By Wholesale Bromeliads
Saturday, March 2, 2013

Many thanks to all those who have been waiting many months for this Newsletter & updated Price List.

Most bromeliads love a stable environment & that's exactly what we haven't had this Spring & Summer. First we had a dry Spring with many in our area buying in water to fill their water tanks. Fortunately we use bore water with a back up from a creek so we were ok.

Then came Australia's hottest summer with 40 degrees plus on many days which scorched a few neos which are usually ok (these included Charm, War Paint, Knockout, Red Gold & Home Fires)

Then along came Oswald late January with it's massive winds & heavy rain & it's rained every day since. We run outside to rejoice & the animals howl & the broms look so happy on the few occasions we have seen blue sky. We are, at the time of writing this newsletter, flooded in once again & I am organising an updated Price List under an umbrella to try to keep the paper work dry.

New Bromeliads on our Price list

We have quite a few new additions to our price list this Autumn - Billbergias, Skotak Mini Neoregelias & Foliage Vrieseas in particular.

Guzmania 'Penny Wise'

This bromeliad is still being sold incorrectly as Guzmania pennellii. It was originally imported into Australia from Jeffery Kent (USA) as Guzmania pennellii however it had been incorrectly identified. It is unlikely that it will be formally described as a new species because there is no collecting data. So Peter Tristram decided to name it 'Penny Wise'. It's a beautiful guzmania which flowers to about 60cm high. We'll have some for sale soon - still building up stock.

Preparing Bromeliads for Competition

For those who love the challenge of showing bromeliads for competition, here are a few guidelines:

  • Use a pot that is undamaged, is the correct size for the particular bromeliad & is sparkling clean.
  • Make sure the pot is not overfull with potting mix (or too low)  & no weeds or rubbish.
  • Ensure the bromeliad is centred in the pot & growing straight / symmetrically. It needs to have been grown on a level surface &, if necessary, moved regularly if growing towards the sun.
  • The leaves should be unmarked & don't leave 'bits of leaf' showing if lower leaves have been removed. Don't overdo this removal.
  • The bromeliad must be perfectly clean & insect free.
  • Try to provide a stable growing environment so that the bromeliad has steady growth (not obvious different stages of growth) & good conformation (appearance) - not always easy.
  • Provide the right amount of fertiliser & light so that the bromeliad is well grown, has good colour & markings, is healthy & is the right size for that particular bromeliad. If over fertilised, it may become long & lanky, lack colour or be too large for that variety.
  • The inflorescence should be undamaged & clear, bright colours. Remove any spent blooms or bracts.
  • It is best to show mature plants but not over mature ('past it').

Fertilising Green Leafed Neoregelias with Coloured Centres

Most neoregelias with green leaves & brightly coloured centres (eg Grant Groves hybrids - Magali; Michi; Puppy Love; Tangerine; Grace / carolinae) do better with more shade than other neos (75-80% in summer) & more fertiliser.

We use a generous teaspoon of controlled release fertiliser (N:P:K - 14:2:15) per 140mm pot.

We still don't foliar fertilise any of our neos - but have heard of one person who uses seasol (which is high in potassium) with good results & will give this a trial run (don't know the dose but will start with full strength & pull back if necessary).

* We still use 1/2 teaspoon of nine months high Potassium controlled release fertiliser on most other neos (administered only once). We don't use any on our marbled, species or mini neos.


This genus name is from the genus Canistrum & the greek 'opsis' (resembling). All 12 species of this genus are endemic to Brazil.

Canistropsis has had a long history. It was created as one of the several subgenera of Nidularium in 1891. The Nidularium genus was reduced to 2 subgenera in 1896 with one plant in Canistropsis = Canistropsis burchellii. In 1935 the Canistropsis subgenus was elevated to a new genus Aregelia (Neoregelia) with 2 species burchellii & microps. These 2 species were moved back to Nidularium in 1955 but with no subgenus ( in the 1979 Smith & Downs monograph, the Canistropsis subgenus returned).

When Elton Leme did the 1986 revision of the Nidularioid Complex of bromeliads in the Atlantic Forest portion of Brazil, Canistropsis returned as genus & included 12 species & some forms.

Characteristics of the Canistropsis Genus are:
  • small to medium sized plants
  • stoloniferous habit
  • spread over the Atlantic Forest
  • Narow or thin leaf rosettes
  • Leaves in a species can be entirely green or green with a wine purple surface
  • Petals are sub erect to spreading as opposed to Nidularium which are always erect.
  • Fruit colour is orange-yellow which is never seen in Nidularium.
There are quite a few cultivars of Canistropsis billbergioides which have a lovely array of colour & have been named after fruits:

APRICOT: Primary bracts deep yellow orange / leaves green
BLOOD ORANGE: Primary bracts reddish orange / leaves green
CITRON (was citrinum): Primary bracts yellow / leaves green
GUAVA: Primary bracts rose / leaves green
LEMON: Primary bracts light yellow / leaves green
MANDARIN: Primary bracts mandarin red / leaves maroon
MULBERRY: Primary bracts dark orange - mulberry / leaves reddish both sides
PERSIMMON: Primary bracts orange / leaves green
PLUM: Primary bracts apricot / leaves maroon both sides
TAMARILLO: Primary bracts orange flushed mulberry / leaves rusty both sides
TUTTI FRUTTI: Primary bracts orange flushed mulberry / leaves green

Temperature: Temperate or subtropical climates. They are quite cold hardy & therefore suitable for the garden as well as indoors.

Light: Heavy shade. Along with Nidulariums, they like more shade than any other genus (summer 90% shade / winter 70% shade).

Fertiliser: We apply 1 teaspoon per 140 mm pot of controlled release fertiliser (N:P: K - 14:2:15) & reapply when run out.

Water: Keep moist but not wet.

Potting Mix: Needs to be free draining

Canistropsis 'Citron'

Canistropsis 'Persimmon'

Happy growing,

Bob & True Grant

Newsletter No 13 - August 2012
By Wholesale Bromeliads
Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Can't wait for Spring & warmer weather. We've had quite a few sunny days at last after two years of overcast, rainy weather. The broms are loving it & the neos particularly are getting better colour.

WAVELL HEIGHTS BROMELIAD EXTRAVAGANZA: Our next show is on 13th & 14th October 2012 at the Wavell Heights Community Hall, 175 Edinburgh Castle Road, Wavell Heights, Brisbane. There will be a large range of bromeliads for sale including new releases. Sat 8-3  Sund 9-2  Refreshments available & off street parking.

OUR EXPERIENCE FERTILISING MINI NEOS & BILLBERGIAS: We have often been advised to use controlled release fertiliser on our mini neos to produce more pups & to give our billbergias extra for the same reason. So we finally succumbed & put 1/2 teaspoon on our minis & 1 teaspoon on our billbergias. We didn't get any more pups & ended up with green mothers & pups. So will stick with our usual nil for minis (good sized midis are ok with 1/4 teaspoon) & 1/2 teaspoon for billbergias in the future.

N:P:K FERTILISER ANALYSIS - DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AUSTRALIA & THE USA: There is often confusion when information from American sources advises using a controlled release fertiliser 20:20:20 or similar. The USA has a different formula for this analysis compared to Australia.

  • N always represents the % weight of nitrogen.
  • In Australia, New Zealand & Ireland N:P:K refers to the % weight of the elements.
  • In some European countries & the USA the P (phosphorous) & K (potassium) represent the weight of the available or soluble form of the element = the weight of the equivalent quantity of the oxide (P2O5 & K2O).
  • In order to calculate the elemental weight of P & K in the USA formula (& thus convert to the Australian formula), multiply the P (P2O5) by .44 & the K (K2O) by.83 to compensate for the weight of the oxygen in the molecule.
  • To summarise & simplify, to convert N:P:K % from the USA to Australian formula, multiply the P by .44 & the K by .83. Therefore USA 20:20:20 = Australia 20:8.8:16.6.
  • There is a table with conversions for micronutrients available but I haven't yet been able to access it.
TALK TO THE GOLD COAST BROMELIAD & SUCCULENT SOCIETY: True was privileged to give a talk to our local bromeliad society on the 26th May about our 2009 trip to Hawaii - she shared our experiences as tourists as well as our triumphs & failures importing bromeliads back into Australia.

This genus belongs to the subfamily Tillandsioideae & like all other members has no spines. There are 18 species (some references list 22) & no registered hybrids.

The genus was first described in 1864 by Grise-Bach & 'catopsis' is derived from the Greek word meaning 'view' (probably referring to their natural habitat of growing on trees).

They are chiefly found in Florida, Mexico, the Greater Antilles. the West Indies, Trinidad, Central America & the northern region of South America. *Catopsis berteroniana & Catopsis sessiliflora have been found as far south as Santa Catarina in southern Brazil. They are usually found growing alongside tillandsias & vrieseas as, like these, they are mostly epiphytic. Some are saxicolous (grow on rocks).

Interesting rather than colourful, they are usually small bromeliads & have soft, waxy leaves with frequent scurfing (coating with white powder) especially on the underside. The inflorescences are simple or branched, upright or pendant & the flowers are white, pale green or yellow. The seed capsules of certain species become yellow & orange & may be attractive for quite some time (eg Catopsis berteroniana).

Some catopsis are dioecious which means that a given plant will have either pollen bearing elements or those resulting in seed production - but not both. Some species (eg C. morreniana) are usually dioecious, but have some instances of 'perfect' (that is flowers with both male & female elements). The reverse can also occur (eg C. berteroniana).

Temperature: In their natural habitat there is a medium to warm all year round temperature of 13 degrees to 30 degrees. They are not cold tolerant & need protection from frosts.

Light: They generally grow in dense shade & less commonly bright filtered light. Some are found in dry forested regions between sea level & 2000 metres altitude. They grow well under 70% shadecloth. *Some will grow in full tropical sun.

Fertiliser: Use a controlled release fertiliser higher in potassium than nitrogen (eg high K Osmocote or Nutricote). Also use a foliar fertiliser weekly or fortnightly that is also higher in potassium (eg Phostrogen) at 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended indoor plant strength.

Water: Catopsis like high humidity & respond well to being watered 3 x week in summer & 2 x week in winter. As they have very thin leaves & don't store much water, they can dry out very quickly. Mist daily in dry periods.

Potting: They can be grown in pots or on mounts similar to those used for most grey leaved tillandsias. Use a coarse, free draining potting mix & pots 110mm to 140mm.

Happy growing,
Bob & True Grant

Catopsis compacta      Catopsis aff morreniana below

Newsletter No 12 - April 2012
By Wholesale Bromeliads
Monday, April 2, 2012

We are looking forward to some finer weather in Autumn. The Neoregelia Minis have particularly suffered with constant rainy days without any sun & haven't gained their usual lovely colours. We have taken them off our sale list temporarily till we have built up numbers again & they are also showing better colour.

The section on Bromeliad Information has been finalised & added to our website. Main titles are History including Australia, Taxonomy, Appearance, Habitat & Life Cycle, Propagation, Potting Mix, Diseases & Pests, Cultivation of the Different Genera & Landscaping with Bromeliads. We hope you find this extra information useful. Cultivation of additional genera will be added as Newsletter Information.

Testimonials also now 'rotate on most pages'

The March Wavell Heights Bromeliad Extravaganza Sale was once again a resounding success. See photo below. The next one is 13th-14th October 2012.

FULL SUN BROMELIADS: For this Newsletter we have decided to include a list of 'Full Sun Bromeliads' that was compiled in 2002 by Moyna Price for the Newsletter of the Bromeliad Society of South Florida. Its is a good starting point to learn about the more sun hardy of the bromeliad family. However, the article does conclude by saying that most bromeliads appreciate some protection for part of the day. It also depends on the climate - some bromeliads that are fine in sun in the tropics (where humidity lessens the effect of the heat), will bleach out on very hot summer days in sub tropical or temperate zones.

Here are some of the experts' suggestions for full-sun bromeliads:

Large: Aechmea blanchetiana, Aechmea eurycorymbus,  Aechmea mexicana (also the albomarginated form),  Aechmea bracteata (all forms),  Aechmea mulfordii, Aechmea rubens,  Aechmea 'Little Harv',  Aechmea chantinii (black form),  Aechmea 'Samurai',  Alcantarea vinicolor (tougher than imperialis, ) Alcantarea imperialis, Alcantarea regina,  Androlepis skinneri,  Hohenbergia castellanosii,  Portea petropolitana (both var. petropolitana and var. extensa, the more common one)

Medium: Aechmea pectinata,  Aechmea ornata,  Ananus bracteatus,  Ananus comosus,  Neoregelia cruenta,  Neoregelia johannis,  Neoregelia compacta,  Neoregelia macwilliamsii,  Neoregelia marmorata,  Quesnelia testudo,  Quesnelia arvensis,  Wittrockia superba

Small: Aechmea recurvata var. ortgiesii Neoregelia olens Neoregelia 'Fireball' Orthophytum gurkenii Orthophytum navioides Orthophytum burle-marxii Most Dyckias and Hechtias (they'll require more frequent watering). The genus Pitcairnia is usually very sun-tolerant.

The plants in the above list are the most readily available. More uncommon species, also recommended, are:

Aechmea callichroma,  Aechmea mariae-reginae,  Aechmea beeriana,  Aechmea bromeliifolia,  Aechmea aquilega,  Aechmea castelnavii,  Aechmea distichantha var. schlumbergeri,  Aechmea lingulata,  Aechmea phanerophlebia,  Aechmea tocantina,  Hohenbergia stellata,  Neoregelia sarmentosa,  Neoregelia tigrina,  Neoregelia bahiana,  xNeotanthus 'Cardboard',  Portea leptantha,  Orthophytum magalhaesii,  Orthophytum maracasense,  Orthophytum rubrum.

Steve Correale, who grows and sells tillandsias, suggests the following for the full-sun treatment: Tillandsia fasciculata, capitata, chiapensis, streptophylla, xerographica, concolor, tricholepis, bulbosa, caput-medusae, ionantha (all forms), stricta, vernicosa, disticha, didisticha. And don't forget Tillandsia usneoides! As with other genera, if your tillandsias have been growing in the shade, move them to direct sun in the fall or winter.

To sum up: If you can provide your plants with a little shade, even from a nearby palm or your patio screen, they'll thank you. If they're going to be in full sun from sunrise to sunset, get them established in the winter. Otherwise, be prepared for at least a little bleaching.

(Thanks to the following who provided suggestions: Harvey Bullis, Nat DeLeon, Lynne Fieber, Peter Kouchalakos, Sandy Roth and Virginia Schrenker.)

Wavell Heights Bromeliad Show March 2012

Bob & True Grant

Wholesaale Bromeliads of Australia

Newsletter No 11 - December 2011
By Wholesale Bromeliads
Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Firstly we would like to thank all our customers for their purchases this year. Was great to see new faces among our regulars & we look forward to another successful year in 2012. Times are tough - but a small cost item like a bromeliad can add lots of cheer.

We would also like to welcome our new Newsletter subscribers & thank our 'old' ones for your continued support. We hope you enjoy & benefit from our Newsletter.

Many thanks to all those who emailed about our mystery frog (see newsletter below). It was identified as a Peron's Tree Frog (Litoria peronii), sometimes known as the Maniacal Cackle Frog due to its distinctive call. It's found in Southern QLD through into NSW & VIC.

A Testimonial Section is being set up on our website - we always appreciate your feedback. Thanks to those who agreed to have their comments published. Permission will always be requested & no personal details included (first names only & state).

We are also working on a general 'Overview of Bromeliads' webpage so there is easy access to more general information.

EVENTS: Our local Bromeliad Society (Gold Coast) held their annual Show & Competition in September & we were pleased to do quite well. Most of the broms we entered in the competition got a place. Our Billbergia 'Groovy' won the Billbergia section & we got the judges award for best bromeliad overall with our Vriesea 'Montezuma's Gem'. Some photos of our broms are below.

Vriesea 'Montezuma's Gem'-Judges Award best bromeliad        Billbergia 'Groovy'  - 1st                      Guzmania 'Bernie's Gold' - 2nd


The next Wavell Heights (Brisbane) Extravaganza will be held on 10th & 11th March 2012.

The Gold Coast - Tweed Orchid Fair will be held 3rd & 4th November 2012 at Tweed Heads (Northern NSW).

SPECIALS: We have some great Summer specials - refer to our Price Lists.

FEATURED BROMELIAD: Aechmea nudicaulis variegated is a colourful medium growing bromeliad with a bright yellow & red inflorescence. It's attractive even when not in flower. It likes dappled sun & is ok with full sun in the cooler parts of the day. We have 3/4 grown plants (double planted) for $15.

Aechmea nudicaulis variegated

PET PYTHON: As well as Millie (small blond Tibetan Spaniel), Beau (big black Labrador) & Ella (Larry's faithful companion) who race out to greet customers - we now have a pet python who does give some visitors a scare.  It quietly moves around from shade house to shade house. It nestled on top of an Alcantarea extensa & then wound around the base of an imperialis Rubra. It's really a beautiful creature. Our thanks to David & Heidi who were here buying broms for the first photo.

Our pet python - we suspect one of quite a few !!!


POTTING MIX: As with most bromeliads, vrieseas require an acidic mix that retains some moisture yet drains freely. The roots need aeration & will rot out in a tight or boggy mix. There are many ways to achieve this & different growers all have their favourite mixes. Ingredients commonly used include peat moss, cocopeat, composted pine bark chips (11 - 20 mm in diameter), sand, perlite, charcoal, small pieces of polystyrene foam & 'clinker'. Commonly used mixtures are:

  • 1 part charcoal to 7 parts pine bark
  • 1 part coarse river sand to 1 part cocopeat/peat moss
  • Pine bark chips with some cocopeat/peat moss added
We use 80% composted pine bark chips with 10% cocopeat & 10% polystyrene foam pieces. Ag lime & dolomite are added to reach a pH of 5.5 - 6.0. The pine bark assures good drainage whilst the cocopeat retains fertiliser & moisture. The foam pieces maintain aeration whilst the other ingredients are breaking down. We need large quantities of medium as we are a nursery & our mix is professionally prepared.

If you want to try a mix that is prepared for you -  try a commercial Dendrobium Orchid mix. I was in Bunnings recently & noticed that they now sell bags of potting mix that are for Orchids & Bromeliads.

POTS: Vrieseas do well in pots or planted in the ground as long as they are planted directly into well drained, organically rich garden soil. We think it's a good idea to add some pine bark chips to ensure adequate drainage. As they are mainly epiphytes- they also grow well on logs & trees etc.

FERTILIZER: For foliage vrieseas- add a controlled release fertilizer (normal strength for indoor plants) that is higher in Potassium (K) than Nitrogen (N) - either in the mix or on top. This is often found in fertilisers for flowering plants. We note the expiry date & reapply at this time. Other growers apply controlled release only once. Foliage vrieseas also benefit from weekly feeding with a soluble fertiliser at normal strength for indoor plants. Phostrogen is used by many growers which has an N:P:K of 14:4.4: 22.4 (P = phosphorus).
We've spoken to two well known hybridists of foliage vrieseas who use a soluble fertilizer that is higher in Nitrogen (N) then Potassium (K) & now use this regime with good results.

LIGHT: Foliage vrieseas do best in bright, indirect light. They are ok with direct sun in the cooler part of the day (especially in Summer) but will bleach & burn if exposed to the Australian midday summer heat.  Beige shade cloth is the best (50% Winter & 70-75% in Summer). 50% black shade cloth is usually ok all year round. If in too much shade, they will go green, & if in too much sun they will yellow & burn. In the words of one experienced Australian hybridist - 'Give them as much light as possible without burning them'.  Some foliage vrieseas tolerate more light then others.

AIR: All vrieseas like plenty of air movement around them. They do best on benches above the ground if possible. Space the plants so the outer leaves are just touching.

WATER: Vrieseas do not like to dry out. As a guide only - in Summer give a heavy water 2 x week (water drains out of the pot) preferably early am or late pm.  In Winter heavy water 1 x week.  In temperatures over 30 degrees C - dampen the foliage 1 x day.

TEMPERATURE: Vrieseas can survive quite cold conditions. However, as a general rule, they need protection from frosts.  Under the shelter of taller shrubs & trees or shade cloth, where frost isn't going to settle on the foliage, they should tolerate light frosts (-2 degrees C). Note -  Brazilian species & hybrids will tolerate near or slightly below freezing. Central American & Andean vrieseas are less cold tolerant.

  • Vrieseas can suffer from Flyspeck Scale - treat with a systemic insecticide such as Folimat or Confidor.
  • Root Rot or Stem Rot through poor drainage can occasionally cause problems especially in periods of persistent rain. Early symptoms are red discolouration of the leaves. Once diagnosed, it's often too late to save the plant. Ensure free draining potting mix or soil.
  • Grasshoppers can be a problem. They are easier to catch in the morning.
PROPAGATION: Vrieseas can be propagated either from pups or seed. The best time to remove pups is from mid September - late November & from mid February - late March. In the tropics it is usually the rainy season. Foliage Vrieseas are night flowering & receptive to pollination at night or early in the morning. You will see a drop of liquid on the stigma.

VRIESEA HYBRIDIST ANDREW MALOY FROM NEW ZEALAND states that the three main factors affecting the colour & pattern intensity of foliage vrieseas are genetics, age & light.


All of the above is the same except for 1) Fertilizer 2) Light

FERTILISER: We use normal indoor plant strength controlled release fertilizer (replaced at expiry) & weekly soluble fertiliser throughout the year that are both higher in Potassium (K) than Nitrogen (N).  The recommended ratio of N:P:K from the European growers who are experts in flowering Vrieseas is 1:.44: 1.66. I always keep this ratio in mind when assessing the total result of our controlled release & soluble fertilizing program.

LIGHT: These Vrieseas are like Guzmanias & need shade to do well (80% shade cloth). For this reason they are great for indoors for long lasting colour instead of short lived flowers. They do well in pots on a patio or in the garden in shade.

TISSUE CULTURE: Most are grown from tissue culture & as such are not sought after by collectors. We are wholesalers & collectors - & use these lovely flowering Vrieseas for colour in our house & garden. Even if you are a serious collector - consider these beautiful bromeliads for colour in your own house & garden.

Vriesea 'Vogue'

CULTIVATION TILLANDSIA TYPE VRIESEAS - Should be cultivated as Tillandsias

* The above information is offered only as a guide. Talk to other growers & monitor your results to find a regime that is right for you.

NEXT TOPIC: Biological terms for bromeliads

Bob, Larry & True send warm wishes for the Festive Season. Have a very Happy Christmas & our best wishes for 2012.

Bob & True Grant

Wholesale Bromeliads of Australia

Newsletter No 10 - August 2011
By Wholesale Bromeliads
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We've had a relatively mild Winter - cold nights but many lovely warm days with the temperature reaching 27 degrees recently. Still glad that Spring is around the corner when the bromeliads will start to grow & look lively again.

Lots of people are now coming to visit us & we really enjoy the time out to 'brom chat' as we look through the nursery. We love having visitors - just remember to ring to arrange a suitable time.

Bob found a beautiful small frog among the vrieseas that we haven't seen before - see photo below. If anyone can identify it we would be very grateful.

EVENTS: The Oasis Orchid & Garden Expo was held at Broadbeach, Surfer's Paradise on 21-22 May. We had a very successful day & were pleased to meet some of our Newsletter subscribers there.


27-28 August: The Orchid & Foliage Show is being held by the Gold Coast District Orchid Society at the new Community Centre Hall, Lawson Street, Southport. Sat 9-4  Sund 9-2

17 September: The Gold Coast Succulent & Bromeliad Society Annual Show at the Carrara Community Centre, Nielsens Road, Carrara, QLD. 9-3

15-16 October: Wavell Heights Bromeliad Extravaganza at the Wavell Heights Community Hall, Edinburgh Castle Road, Wavell Heights, Brisbane. Sat 8-3   Sund 9-2.  Refreshments available & off street parking.

5-6 November: Gold Coast - Tweed Orchid Fair at the Civic Centre, cnr Wharf & Brett Streets, Tweed Heads, Northern NSW. Sat 8.30 - 4  Sund 8.30 - 2

For those who are close enough, we hope to see you at some of these events - lots of bromeliads & other plants for sale plus beautiful show & display plants.

SPECIALS: We have some great specials for Spring including Aechmea 'Del Mar', Neoregelia Mini 'Inca Fire' & a list of Neoregelias. Refer to our Price Lists for details.

FEATURED BROMELIAD: Aechmea 'J.C. Superstar' is a beautiful larger growing Aechmea which was hybridised by Hawaiian Howard Yamamoto (see photo below). It's pink tinted leaves have paler barring & the inflorescence is large & branched. We have half grown plants for sale for $18.

PRICE LISTS: We are now putting the sizes & prices of Neoregelias for sale on our Price Lists to make ordering easier & quicker.


The genus was recognised by botanists in 1843 & named by the English botanist John Lindley (1799-1865) after the Dutch botanist & physician Dr. Willem Hendrik de Vriese (1806-1862).  Even before that date Vriesea splendens was introduced into Europe from the Guyanas (South America) in 1840. Taxonomically Vrieseas are closely related to Tillandsias. The distinguishing botanical difference is subtle. Vrieseas have a small wing or flap at the base of the flower petals (called a ligule) which Tillandsias don't have.

SUBFAMILY: They belong to the Tillandsioides subfamily & have spineless leaves which has made them popular with plant enthusiasts. They have winged seeds ('parachute' seeds) which are usually dispersed by breezes. The feathery plumes also help the seed to stick to a suitable epiphytic surface for germination.

HABITAT: There are approximately 260 species which live in moist tropical & sub-tropical shady conditions. They inhabit the tropical zones of Mexico, Central America & South America with the majority of species being native to Brazil. They have adapted to a range of altitudes ranging from sea level to 3500 metres. Most thrive in the shade at a high humidity in mists or rain forests. They are epiphytic on bushes & trees (majority) as well as being terrestrial in permeable humus ground.

FORM: Most are rosette types with 'tanks' formed by their central leaves which store water. Water & nutrients are absorbed through the leaves since the roots mainly serve as adhesive organs. However when the plants are grown in containers & the roots are exposed to a moist potting medium, the roots also aid in the absorption of water & nutrients - an important fact when considering a watering & fertiliser programme.

INFLORESCENCE: The colour of the simple (single) or branched inflorescence varies between yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, green, speckled or a combination of colours. The bract colours last for several months. The flowers are white, green, yellow or bluish violet. Some species, in particular the night flowerers, are noteworthy for the striking mosaics, banded patterns or speckles of the rosettes & are commonly known as foliage vrieseas. The inflorescences of many night flowerers produce large bell shaped flowers whose fruit like perfume & sweet secretions attract bats & moths for the purpose of pollination. They open late in the evening & are withered by the following morning.

GROUPS: Besides the many species, there are also a great number of hybrid vrieseas, many of which are not formally registered. Vrieseas can be put into three broad groups & their cultivation will be outlined in these groups:

  • Foliage or pattern leaf vrieseas
  • Flowering vrieseas
  • Silver tillandsia-type vrieseas
1840 - Vriesea splendens was introduced into Europe following the 'New World' exploration.

1880-1920 - Edouard Morren (1833-1886) who was curator of the Botanical Garden of Leige, Belgium (& who specialised in bromeliads) introduced many vriesea species into Europe. He also started a period in which growers began to produce their own hybrids. His first hybridisation was performed in 1879 (V. psittacina x V. carinata which produced V. 'Morreniana'). Vrieseas became popular with plants lovers due to their spineless leaves & attractive inflorescence & they were suitable as house plants.

During the following 40 years, breeders in Belgium, France & The Netherlands started hybridising vrieseas for the wholesale trade. Many exotic varieties were produced up until World War 1 which halted the breeding programmes & led to the loss of some species.

Two important early vriesea hybridists were Jos Marechal of Belgium & Leon Duval (V. 'Poelmannii') of France. Others were Edouard Morren, J Chevalier & J M Closen from Belgium, MA Truffaut from France, Kittel from Germany & Witte from The Netherlands.

The early hybrids nearly all had a simple (not branched) inflorescence.  The species mainly used were V. psittacina var. rubrobracteata, V. psittacina, V. duvaliana, V. fenestralis, V. incurvata. V. barilletii & V. splendens.  Attempts were made to produce branched inflorescences. One of the first was V. 'Kitteliana' (1890) from Kittel (barilletii x saundersii). Another was V. 'Vigeri' (1894) from Duval (rodigasiana x 'Cardinalis').

1918-1945 Hybridisation slowed down after World War 1. The economic crisis of the 1930s was followed by World War 2. However, Louis Dutrie of Belgium did produce many hybrids during this period. Also during this period there was interest in Belgium in hybridising with foliage vrieseas & one example is V. 'Intermedia' (1930s) from M R Morobe (hieroglyphica x 'Viminalis Rex').

1945 ON - Vriesea hybridisation began increasing again after the Second World War. Dutrie died in 1948 & most of his hybrids were lost as his establishment was destroyed in the bombing of 1944. The new breed of hybridisers found it difficult to find vriesea species or hybrids to use. Noteworthy vriesea hybridists from Belgium of this period are Carlos Broeckaert, Hendrik de Meyer, Albert Deroose & his son Reginald who now runs the family business.

Broeckaert produced the first variegated hybrid V. 'Madam Carlos Broeckaert' (< 1945) which was not very stable (cv. of V.'Poelmannii). After years of selection Albert Deroose produced a stable cultivar which is now sold as V. 'White Line.

Deroose Senior made his first vriesea crosses in the 1950s. The hybrids of Deroose & others are now produced by tissue culture & sold all over the world. The supply through to Australia now comes to us from Shanghai.

Others who have made a significant contribution to the modern hybridisation of vrieseas are: Marnier-Lapostolle from France, Richter & Pinckert from Germany, Cornelius Bak from The Netherlands, & Nat De Leon, Herbert Hill & John Arden from America. The modern pioneers of hybrid foliage vrieseas include David Shiigi from Hawaii, Andrew Maloy from New Zealand & of course our own Jack Koning from Australia.

NEXT: Vriesea cultivation

Happy growing,

Bob & True Grant

Aechmea 'J.C. Superstar'

Unknown frog

Newsletter No 9 - March 2011
By Wholesale Bromeliads
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Both humans & plants are enjoying the milder, fine weather of Autumn. This Spring & Summer have been one of our coldest & wettest though we were very lucky to miss out on the devastating floods. This was followed by sudden intense heat which tested a few of our broms. Most however were fine. They are looking bright & perky now with the lovely Autumn weather.

It's been a time too when our thoughts have been with those affected by floods & earthquakes. Hard to imagine the destruction, loss of life & hardships.

We're making a concerted effort to get photos of most of the bromeliads on our price list up on the website. It's a big task & will take some time.

Also - a reminder that we are able to send gift vouchers for our bromeliads as well as sending them to people as gifts.

EVENTS: The Wavell Heights Bromeliad Show was successful as usual with an even bigger variety of plants for sale. Was great to meet some of our newsletter subscribers who were able to attend. Next one in October - will notify dates as soon as known.

21st & 22nd May - We'll be at the Orchid & Garden Expo at the Oasis Shopping Centre, cnr Surf & Victoria Ave, Broadbeach QLD (9am start).

FEATURED BROMELIADS: We now have for sale some lovely seedling hybrid foliage vrieseas that are beginning to show the characteristics of their parents (example photo below). They will improve as they mature & are listed on our current price list. Photos of them are on our website. As seedlings, they do vary - but if any are significantly different from the photo shown, we'll email a photo of the plant for sale.

We also have a selected number of our mini neos on special - list & information sent with price lists. Photos of those on special are in the neoregelia section of the Bromeliad Gallery.



As with most bromeliads, after flowering the mature neoregelia goes into a slow decline - but small offsets (pups) develop from buds at the base of the plant (vegetative propagation). When a pup is about 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the mother (taking into account both the height & width), it can be removed & repotted. The base of the pup should also feel firm. The decision to remove the pup is also affected by the way it is developing on the mother. If growing 'lopsided' with most of the leaf growth on one side, then it's best to remove it earlier (ie 1/3 the size of the mother) & repot to encourage symmetrical growth.

If possible, avoid the extremes of hot & cold weather when removing pups. So ideal is mid October - November & February - mid March (in the tropics in the wet season). My experience has been that if offsets are removed in the colder months, growth does not occur till it's warmer, & the plant just doesn't ever do as well.

Neoregelias can be grown from seed but this is a slow, complicated process. It is the technique required to hybridise for the adventurous.

Some people prefer not to remove the pups & to allow the plant to clump & grow as nature intended. We allow the neos in our garden to do this. Also neos that send out pups on stems (stolons) lend themselves to being grown in clumps. However, generally neos are more attractive as a single plant & more pups will be obtained if you remove them & pot up separately.


  • When removing the pups, we only take the plant out of the pot with the most difficult - this is due to time & also experience. If you are a beginner or are dealing with only a few plants, it's a good idea to do this first so that you can see what you are doing. Also remove any leaves from the base of the pup by splitting them longways first, then tugging each half away from the mother.
  • Use a serrated knife (10 - 15cm long) & slide it right down between the mother & the pup, gently tilting the pup a little away from the mother so you can do this.
  • Cut the pup off with a sawing action close to the mother whilst making sure not to cut into the parent. Gently tilting the pup further away as you go often helps.
  • Repeat the above till all pups large enough have been removed.
  • Clean up the mother, removing any dead leaves. Repot. Top up with potting mix if necessary & give a pinch of slow release high in potassium if these are the first pups removed. The mother will likely produce 1-2 more batches.
  • If you cut the pup off too high and the base is not firm & 'woody', it may not survive.  Still worth giving it a chance. Let it dry out for a few days. Then treat with a fungicide (no copper) & pot as usual.
  • Pot the pup into the normal size pot & potting mix (small pups 1cm deep & large ones 5cm deep to prevent rotting). Stake to keep stable if necessary as they need stability in order to grow optimally.
  • Some smaller growing neos & mini neos are stoloniferous ie they produce pups on the end of a stem or stolon. Cut the pup off with sharp secateurs, leaving .5cm - 1cm of stem on the pup. The stem left on the mother can be trimmed back as it won't produce any more pups. The mother may still produce more stolons.


*This article is reproduced with the kind permission of John Catlan from his booklet 'Bromeliads Under the Mango Tree'

I am NOT referring to the length of the leaf.
I am NOT referring to the size of the plant
I am referring to the number of good leaves that the plant can maintain at any one time.
I am referring to the size of the plant stem both diameter & length.
All pups that miss their first flowering season will be better looking.
More time to grow, more leaves & the core of the plant will be bigger.
Here is the tricky bit.
Too much fertilizer - greener plant, longer leaves, more leaves.
Just the right amount of fertilizer - good colour, each row of leaves slightly shorter. This makes a show plant. If you get it just right, a lot of leaves & the old leaves slow to deteriorate -  plant with bulk.

'Lord give me the skill to grow a brom so big, that even I
When speaking of it to my friends, will never need to lie.'
NEXT: Foliage Vrieseas & Mini Neoregelias

Happy growing,
Bob & True Grant

Vriesea seedling platynema var. variegata x 'Milky Way'

Newsletter No 8 - November 2010
By Wholesale Bromeliads
Sunday, November 7, 2010

Apologies for the gap between newsletters. We spent quite a few weeks away this winter & have therefore had a super busy spring catching up. We removed lots of pups in October & more will be ready in a month or so. Our broms are loving the gentle weather we are experiencing with days around 23 degrees C & cooler nights. They are growing before our eyes.

We have some new staff members - a new receptionist (first photo below) & as we've had to beef up security, our broms are now looked after by the characters in the second photo below.

EVENTS: Our Wavell Heights Bromeliad Show went off really well as usual. Lots of people came along & it was good to see many familiar faces.

We also had a stall at the Gold Coast -Tweed Orchid Fair that was held this weekend at the Tweed Heads Civic Centre.  It is worth a visit for those who are close enough - lots of beautiful orchids including a judged show & of course our beautiful bromeliads.

FEATURED BROMELIAD: We now have a lovely hybrid Guzmania from Deroose called 'Patricia' which gives vibrant red colour & lovely symmetrical green foliage - see third photo below (used with the kind permission of Deroose Plants). The inflorescence is very similar to a x Guzvriesea hybrid. It's great for indoors or a shady spot on a patio or in the garden.  They are $15 for a mature plant.

WATERING AT MIDDAY IN SUMMER:This is another snippet from John Catlan's 'Bromeliads Under the Mango Tree' reproduced here with his kind permission. John's booklet is available from him or from the Gold Coast Bromeliad Society.

I would like to lay to rest what I believe is a misconception on watering: Don't water bromeliads in the middle of the day because you will burn or cook them. Well I've watered kids, dogs & myself - it cools us down & the evaporation cools us down even more. With bromeliads it relieves a stressful situation. The only plant I can bring to mind that turns to mush when watered in the middle of the day is lettuce. This may explain origins of this piece of misinformation.



Neoregelias are very sensitive to light, fertiliser & pot size.

LIGHT: Correct light is essential to develop & maintain their beautiful leaf colour & compact growth. Neos need bright indirect light or dappled sun (are ok with direct early morning sun). In too much shade they will grow long & strappy & go green. In too much sun they will burn.

A few neos are more sun tolerant but even these appreciate protection from the summer midday heat (cruenta, johannis,compacta, macwilliamsii, marmorata, olens, 'Fireball', sarmentosa, tigrina, bahiana).

Variegated neos need more shade as do those with green leaves & coloured centres (eg 'Tangerine', carolinae, 'Nuance').

Shadecloth: 50% winter & 70-75% summer.

TEMPERATURE: Neos are fairly hardy but protection from frosts is recommended. High temperatures don't harm the plants, but foliage colour fades when nights are hot. Normal colour returns when night temperatures drop to near 18 degrees C or lower.

WATER: They do best if grown on the dry side. Water the central cup & the potting mix & allow the mix to almost dry out before watering again. As a guide, water 2 x week in late spring/summer/early autumn  & 1 x week rest of the year. However they will survive on a lot less - 1 x month in winter & 2 x month in summer. Flush out the cups once a week if possible.

AIR: Neos are epiphytic & need good air circulation.

POTS: They prefer to be under potted. Our miniatures go into 90mm & 100mm pots. Most others go into 150mm pots. Larger varieties (eg richteri, 'Gee Whiz') go into 170mm pots.

POTTING MIX: Must be free draining. We use the same mix as for our Guzmanias & find it works well (see newsletter No 5).

FERTILISING: Proper application of fertiliser is crucial for producing good quality neos. They respond well to light feeding with a high potassium (K) slow release fertiliser.

We apply one that lasts for 8-9 months (1/2 teaspoon per 150mm pot) & don't fertilise again. It is important not to fertilise heavily as the plant nears maturity.

Some people prefer to use a slow release that lasts for only 3 months - you need to use it on rooted pups so they are able pick it up in these early months.

The granules can be placed on top of the potting mix (spread around the pot) or mixed in with it.

It is suggested that using foliar fertiliser on neos causes the leaf markings to fade. We get good results with just the slow release.

PESTS & DISEASES: Main problems are scale & fungal disease (see Guzmanias in Newsletter No 6).

Treat scale with a systemic insecticide such as Folimat, Confidor or "Chemspray' Antiscale.

Fungal problems can occur during periods of prolonged rain. Treat with Mancozeb Plus or Fongarid. AVOID FUNGICIDES WITH COPPER.

SHOW QUALITY PLANTS: In order to produce show quality neoregelias, it is necessary to maintain them under the same conditions throughout their pup to bloom cycle. Their tight symmetry can be ruined by a major change in light intensity, light direction, temperature range or feeding.

NEXT: Neoregelias Part 3 - Propagation

Happy Growing,

Bob & True Grant

Newsletter No 7 - April 2010
By Wholesale Bromeliads
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Xmas seems an age ago - well I guess it really is with time marching quickly towards winter. We hope you all had a restful & happy festive season. Our bromeliads have loved the cooler weather of early autumn & look refreshed after the summer heat. The nights are just beginning to get colder, so growth will slow down now till Spring.

WAVELL HEIGHTS SHOW: The Bromeliad Extravaganza was held on 27th & 28th February & was successful & enjoyable. It's a great place to chat to others who are interested in bromeliads. Our next show is Saturday 9th (8am - 3pm) & Sunday 10th (9am - 2pm) October 2010. Venue is Wavell Heights Community Hall, 175 Edinburgh Castle Road, Wavell Heights, Brisbane. The local girl guides provide refreshments & there is plenty of off-street parking. Phone Nigel for information 07 5485 3800.

BROMELIAD PUPS: Now is the time to consider leaving the removal of your pups till it warms up again in October. Some people do remove pups in the cooler months - but I support the opinion that these plants can struggle to grow well. This doesn't apply to areas in Australia that remain warm all year round.


We now have Robert Dilling's Alcantarea 'Silver Plum' for sale (25cm high) for $20 plus $7 postage. Picture of actual plants for sale - see below. This stunning specimen bromeliad, which develops a lovely silvery purple sheen, does well in full sun but can also be grown in the shade. The flower spike, which can take up to fifteen years to produce, can be as tall as 2.5 metres & the plant itself 1.5 meters wide. Silver Plums have been grown from seed & are a relatively rare collector's plant. As with most bromeliads frosty spots should be avoided & good drainage provided.

Alcantarea 'Silver Plum'

INSTABILITY & NITROGEN: This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the author, John Catlan, from his booklet 'Bromeliads Under the Mango Tree'. John is a well known hybridist & collector who lives on the Gold Coast, QLD. This booklet (which has gems of information) can be purchased through the Gold Coast Succulent & Bromeliad Society (details on the net).

Over the years we have collected variegated neoregelias & grown some seed. Take Neoregelia 'Perfecta Tricolor' as an example. We have seven forms divided by size & colour. They have the basic characteristics of the original 'Perfecta Tricolor' but are all new plants from seed. At our peak frenzy with vatiegated neoregelias, we held a fraction over 240 different plants, at the present time about 180. Because of the cost of time to maintain these plants & the cost of room, the numbers will be reduced to 100. There were 18 sections with the number of variegated neoregelias approximately 9,000. These plants went through rapid propagation (potting up - new potting mix & fertilizer) & neglect (no new potting up - no new potting mix or fertilizer).

Lesson learned - Variegated neoregelias are more stable with neglect.

When fertilizing variegated neoregelias it is better to err on the side of caution - too little is far better than too much. When we create unstable plants from too much fertilizer, the pup may appear to be ok - but - if the section where the pups are initiated has had the variegation almost destroyed by the release of too much fertilizer when it was formed, it will produce unstable plants.

'To err is human; to blame the plant is even more human'


Neoregelias are tank epiphytes & are the most popular bromeliads for hybridists & collectors. They are also used extensively for landscaping. They are often referred to as 'neos'.

The genus was named in honour of the German horticulturalist & botanist Eduard August von Regal (1815-1892) who was director of the Imperial Botanical Garden of St Petersburg (now Leningrad) in Russia. The first neoregelia was described in 1825, although incorrectly as a Tillandsia. When plants of this genus were originally brought to Europe in the early to mid 19th century, they were classified with the genera names Karatus & Agelia. The genus Regelia was established for these plants in 1890 by Lindman. Since that name had already been given to three species of myrtle, Dr Lyman B. Smith (American taxonomist who died in 1997 at the age of 93) reclassified them as Neoregelia in 1934, adding the Greek word 'neo:new' to distinguish it from the old genus.

Neoregelia belong to the subfamily Bromelioideae which all have berry-like fruit with seeds within the fruit's 'pulp' (Foster 1951). Nearly all have leaves edged with spines of varying sizes. A small number of neos are smooth edged.

SPECIES: Two subgenera of Neoregelia are currently recognised - Neoregelia & Hylaeaicum (high-lee-ai-cum). There are 110 known species (some references list 112. There are 94 listed on the FCBS register) of which 10 belong to the subgenus Hylaeaicum (N. eleutheropetala, leviana, margaretae, mooreana, myrmecophila, pendula, rosea, stolonifera, tarapotoensis, wurdackii).

HYBRIDS: Of all the bromeliad genera, neos are the most popular for hybridising - there are currently 3857 listed on the FCBS register (Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies) & there are many more unregistered. Confusion & debate are commonplace, even among the experts. Many of the hybrids grown today have beautifully marked & coloured foliage throughout their life with the colour intensifying at flowering & the central leaves becoming flushed with intense colours of red, pink, purple & more. The leaves may be green, silver, banded, blotched, variegated, marbled, spotted, albomarginated & many colours. While the actual flowers only last a day, the blushing foliage will stay in colour for months. With their high colour, neos attract as pollinators bees, butterflies etc in habitat. This evolutionary strategy was improved for many green leaved neos when they evolved the ability to turn the inner half of their leaves to bright red, purple, yellow etc as they began to flower.

FORM: Neos are compact & low growing with leaves arranged in a circular pattern (rosette) which ranges from open & flaring (eg N. carolinae) to narrow & tubular (eg N. ampullacea). The tubular neos are small & they clump by sending out new plants on stolons. Neos mostly have broad, relatively flat leaves.

SIZE: They vary from the tiny N. lilliputiana (7 cm high) to the large N. carcharodon & N. johannis which can reach 120cm across. Leaves can be few (5-10) or many. The average is 15-20. Neoregelias in the subgenus Hylaeaicum are mostly small & stoloniferous.

INFLORESCENCE: This does not rise above the leaves but nestles in the central water cup (tank) that is formed by the inner leaves. This is a nidular (meaning nest like) inflorescence. The tank collects water & decaying debris which satisfies the plant's nutritional needs when the leaves absorb the dissolved nutrients.

FLOWERS: These have three sharply pointed petals which are white, lavender, lavender edged, blue or blue edged. They are quite pretty. There are many of them, but only a few open at a time & last for a day. They all gradually open, blooming from the outside into the centre, over an extended period. In the subgenus Neoregelia, the petals are connected to each other in part or for most of their length (connate = joined). In Hylaeaicum, the petals are separate & there is a dense cluster of white petaled flowers in a deeply sunken inflorescence.

HABITAT: The subgenus Neoregelia is confined to coastal southern Brazil with two exceptions - N. cathcartii is found in Northern Venezuela & N. johnsoniae is found in Amazonian Peru. The subgenus Hylaeaicum is entirely Amazonian in parts of Columbia, Venezuela. Peru, Ecuador & Brazil. The climate zone is subtropical & they grow from sea level to 5000 feet. They are found in the lower levels of rainforests where they grow on logs, lower tree branches & even on rocks. Some do grow on coastal rocks & scrub near the ocean.

Next: Cultivation of neoregelias

Happy growing

Bob & True Grant

Newsletter No 6 - December 2009
By Wholesale Bromeliads
Friday, December 11, 2009

A warm hello to all our newsletter subscribers. I guess many of us are sweltering in the current heatwave & hoping for cooler weather & rain around the corner.

Be careful of your broms in the midday heat. We find here in Northern NSW that most of our 'full sun' broms are being bleached & burnt when above 35 degrees unless given some protection. Keep up the moisture especially for guzmanias & vrieseas.

PRICE LIST: We have brought out an updated December list of bromeliads available. There are limited numbers of some of the neos & other non tissue culture plants & we do apologise if we have sold out when you place an order.

MINI NEOREGELIAS: We have a collection now of over 100 mini neos & at last have some coming through for sale - see price list.

WAVELL HEIGHTS BROMELIAD SHOW: The Bromeliad Extravaganza held in October was a great success with increasing attendance as it's reputation grows. The next show is Saturday 27th (8am - 3pm) & Sunday 28th (9am - 2pm) February 2010. Address is Wavell Heights Community Hall, 175 Edinburgh Castle Road, Wavell Heights, Brisbane. Phone Nigel for more information 07 5485 3800

KIWI VRIESEAS (photo below) : These broms are now maturing & showing beautiful colour - everyone who has bought them has been impressed. At three year's of age they are quite stunning. They need bright indirect light tolerating early am or late pm sun. In Jack Koning's words  - 'they need as much light as possible without burning'. They also like the mix to be kept moist.


Propagation: As in most bromeliad species, the mother plant slowly dies after flowering, but produces offsets (pups) as it is declining. They usually form after the mother has flowered, though some do produce pups beforehand. Guzmanias readily produce pups which are able to survive independently when they are 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the mother plant. If taken off before this, they may not survive as they still depend on the mother & store little or no nutrient.  If possible, avoid the extremes of hot & cold weather when removing pups - so ideal in Oct / Nov / Feb / Mar - in the tropics in the wet season.

Remove the leaves & potting mix from the base of the pup (you may need to take it out of the pot to do this), then gently remove the pup using a sharp knife & cutting down towards the parent, being sure to preserve the base of the pup, while not injuring the mother. You can also gently twist the pup away from the mother. Guzmania pups form from the leaf axils, are therefore rootless & can be harder to establish.

Some growers leave the pup overnight to 'seal', others dip the base in fungicide (NO COPPER) especially if cool & wet weather. Some also pot into peat/perlite/vermiculite/sand till roots develop. We plant straight into our usual mix. Don't sit the pups in water as they may rot & don't plant too deeply for the same reason. Bury the base no more than 2.5 cm & brace if necessary.

Guzmanias usually produce two batches of pups. Give the mother some slow release fertiliser (if out of date) & continue to apply foliar fertilizer after removing the first lot. A second batch will often then be produced.

The new pup will not benefit from slow release fertilizer till roots have developed, but needs spraying & watering in the cup after potting, plus an occasional weak foliar spray till established. Then pursue the normal fertilizer regime.

If you want lots of pups, look after the mother while she is maturing; remove the bottom older leaves carefully to allow light into the nodes (developing pups).

Pests & Diseases: Guzmanias have few pests & diseases. Scale can be a problem. Spray with an insecticide such as Folimate (some growers use Rogor). Don't use an insecticide that contains white oil which kills bromeliads. Before treating, empty all water out of the plant, clear out any debris & allow to dry. Spray thoroughly & allow to dry again for 24 hours before watering. Check in 7-10 days as it may need retreatment. Don't scrape off the scale when alive as you will release the eggs into the leaf bases & increase the problem. In cold, wet weather, heart rot & root rot (Phytophthera) is a problem with some hybrids. Treat with a fungicide -  Ridomil (Fongarid) is recommended & is readily available. Copper is the main ingredient in most fungicides & it kills bromeliads - so take care to check.

Next: Neoregelias

Our staff (Larry & Robin) & Bob & I wish you all a very Happy Xmas & send our best wishes for the New Year.

Bob & True Grant