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Neoregelia enjoy a good micro climate- at home here with Orchids.

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 Q & A - Growing Bromeliads

 Generally Bromeliads are - Easy to grow -  Easy care, very rewarding plants, but as with all garden plants sometimes you will find there is a plant that needs just that little extra bit of help in some way or another.
This page is designed to help with these little hitches and offer some basic tips on caring for these wonderful garden plants.

***Please feel free to send any questions you may have on growing Bromeliads - I am more than happy to help and share ideas where possible. Please allow a few days for answer and I will endeavor to reply as soon as I can.
I'd be interested to hear from you too, if you feel you have some special tips on growing plants especially in unusual, difficult and adverse circumstances. Maybe you too can help others in similar circumstances.

**I am always very interested and fascinated in hearing especially from those who live in some of our really extreme climatic regions.
***Collectors all over this country and over seas, with their dedicated challenge have created ideal micro-climates to produce beautiful gardens filled with Bromeliads.  Whether it be in our mountainous icy cold extreme regions or the hot dry red center, we have Bromeliad enthusiasts everywhere who have not only grown plants that survive but to really thrive and have achieved outstandingly beautiful bromeliad gardens by creating these wonderful micro-climates.

***Needless to say for those of us who are lucky enough to live in sub tropical, temperate climates and milder climates are gifted with the ideal environment and for most of us Bromeliads represent basically easy care- low maintenance plants that are generally trouble free.

Q/   how large does an offset need to grow before it can be removed?

A/   generally it is best to wait until the pup or offset is at least approx 1/3 of the size of the mother plant. Large pups that are left on too long will tend to have a problem growing a good root system, resulting in a smaller plant that is unable to take up nutrient and water as well as a plant with a good root system.

Q/  How long does it take a new pup to strike roots?

A/  In warmer areas generally between 20 and 30 deg. Your new pup will take 4 to 6 weeks to strike roots. Most Bromeliads strike very easily during the warmer months. 
In winter this can be a lot longer and may take several months. New plants should be kept in a warm protected spot to ensure they root as quickly as possible. Slow to root plants can be prone to rotting during winter so extra care should be taken to keep them warm and protected. 
If you live in a cooler area pups are best taken off during the warmer months. 

Q/  What should I do if my new pup is reluctant to strike roots?

A/  If your plant has not produced roots within the expected time frame, your pup should be removed from pot check the base of the plant, if needed lightly trim the base to remove any dead material, wash the plant, apply some cutting powder to the base and re pot it in a clean mix. Plants can also be washed safely in condies crystals [*potassium permanganate] if you suspect any fungal problems.  *Available from your chemist.
Add a pinch 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 of a bucket and dip the plant. After re potting your plant ensure clean water is added to the centre of the plant.

Q/  How long does it take for a Neoregelia to reach maturity and produce pups.

A/  Plants vary depending also on your area but generally from 2 to 4 years- some even longer for some varieties.

Q/ Do Neoregelia pups really need fertilizer?

A/ A young pup or offset needs only a small dose of fertilizer when young to give it a good start. The amounts depend very much on the condition of the plant but if this is an offset you have grown your self and has never been fed a level teaspoon should be adequate to give the plant a quick boost to get it started. After this no extra feeding should be needed if the plant is strong and healthy.

Q/  Should I fertilize my my Neoregelia when I have purchased a good size plant.

A/ This is a common question. Generally no. Large plants are usually adequately fertilized by the grower and as this fertilizer wears off, your plant should color rapidly.
Some of the surplus fertilizer may even be passed on to the pups of the plant, this happens occasionally especially if the mother plant has been over fed. So less fertilizer may be needed when growing on these pups.
Applications of fertilizer should be applied with extreme care and consideration as to the health of the plant as over feeding especially with high nitrogen products can cause irreversible greening in Neoregelias. Also environmental factors effect the uptake of fertilizer so there is no real rule of thumb except to err on the side of caution.

Q/ How long does it take for a Bromeliad offset to mature and produce offsets?

A/ Depending on the age of offset, plants can take on average 2 to 5 years to mature - depending on the variety. Plants like Aechmea Gamesepala 'matchsticks' and other Aechmea will reproduce a lot quicker but many Neoregelia will take 2 years or more to mature.

Q/ Why is light so important for growing Neoregelia?

A/ Lack of adaquate light will cause loss in color in Neoregelia. Many people confuse over greening with fertilizer use which can also cause greening but in many cases your plant needs more light. 
Plants should be gradually adapted and many may even adapt to almost full sun although this should be done with obvious caution. 
If you purchase a plant that has been previously grown in good light, your plant will be off to a much better start.

What is a clone?

A/ A plant clone is a genetically identical offspring produced by vegetative growth.

Also Visit;  Brookreflections Bromeliad Growing Blog
For More Info. on Potting Mixes, Fertilizer, Mounting Bromeliads 

Are Alcantarea really slow to grow? 
No, not necessarily -
Plants such as the 3 year old Alcantarea Imperialis "Rubra" as shown below will grow quite quickly if well fed from a young age. Once they have reached a good size the fertilizer can then be reduced & potash added so the plant can then be allowed to color to its maximum potential.

The plants shown are grown by vegetation [small pups] so as to produce the same as parent plant. These small pups are painstakingly slow initially grow, but if they are given tons of TLC + regular feeding, I generally get them up to around 12 inches - 15 inches high in 1 year. Once they are hardened off they tend to really take off once potted up with some added fertilizer. I find a good 9-12 month slow release fertilizer ideal. The large plants in main photo are around 3 years old. You can achieve a very large showy plant however some may take quite sometime to flower - they vary, depending on situation....food + environment, another story.

Alcantarea Imperialis "Rubra"

Alcantarea - 3 years old form a 12" pup.

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Happy growing...more soon

This page will be further updated with more Q and A very soon when time allows..

Bromeliads and Orchids grow in harmony.