Diseases and Pests
The major scale pest is fly-speck scale (tiny, black dots on the leaves). Brown scale is also sometimes a problem. Treat by spraying with a systemic insecticide or dipping the plant in a solution of it. Commonly used ones are
Folimat, Confidor & Rogor. You’ll need to spray twice within a fortnight. DON’T USE WHITE OIL WHICH WILL KILL THE PLANT.
These occasionally damage the flower stems. Treat with an insecticide recommended for this pest eg Malathion. Some use heavily diluted washing up liquid.
Vase Rot (Phytophthera cinnamonii)
This is caused by too much water & lack of aeration around the plant. It causes the centre of the plant to rot. If caught early enough, this disease can be treated by
Removing affected leaves
Draining all water from the plant
Drenching with a fungicide eg Mancozeb Plus. DO NOT USE COPPER BASED FUNGICIDES WHICH WILL KILL THE PLANT.
You can also get other fungus spots on the leaves which also respond to Mancozeb Plus.
Best time to catch them is in the early morning when they are sluggish.
If you have a problem, the easiest solution is to flush the vase out once a week to break the breeding cycle.
Heavy Metals eg copper, lead & boron
The effects can look like vase rot. Can come from treated wood or water from copper pipes & gutters.
Air Circulation and Humidity
Most bromeliads need good air circulation. They also thrive in humid conditions with a relative humidity of 50%-75% ideal. Many commercial growers put fans in their hothouses to maintain air movement. Misting of bromeliads in low humidity assists optimum growth.