Friday, May 29, 2009

The Blushing Bromeliad

I love bromeliads, but unfortunately they’re not always available at the local greenhouses. On the rare occasion that they are offered for sale, the selection is limited to a few standard types, and the price tag attached to them is obscene. It’s rare that I will pay a hefty price for a houseplant, unless I run across something like this:

 

Neoregelia carolinae ‘Tricolor’ is an ornamental, hardy tank-style bromeliad that can endure extended periods of neglect that include insufficient light, watering blunders and low humidity. Because of this, it’s worth a few more bucks.

Care Info:

You can water exclusively through the funnel of leaves; keep the central rosette (cup) filled with fresh water. Flush the tank periodically (every 1 – 2 months) to remove salt buildup and prevent stagnation, and refill it with fresh water. If you choose instead to water through the medium, allow it to dry out considerably and then water thoroughly until it runs out of the bottom.

Provide as much light as possible. Some early morning or late afternoon sunshine is very beneficial; protect against midday sun. Keep humidity above average by placing the plant on a pebble tray or by adding a humidifier nearby. If your plant is actively growing, feed it about once a month with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer that is diluted to half strength or less. Do not fertilize during the winter months or if the plant is grown in low light. If you are watering exclusively through the tank, fill a spray bottle with a very weak fertilizer solution and mist the leaves lightly. Average household room temperatures between 15°C (60°F) to 24°C (75°F) are fine.

I can’t resist a bromeliad that I don’t have. Because they’re my favourite plants. And because I’m weak. I just hope that the plant lives long enough to produce offsets that will produce their own offsets, which will cover the obscene price I paid for the original plant.

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