THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETIN|
The Bromeliad Society Bulletin is the official publication of the Bromeliad Society, a
non-profit corporation organized in 1950. The Bulletin is issued six times a year. Subscription
to the Bulletin is included in the annual membership dues. There are four classes of
membership: Annual, $4.00; Sustaining, $6.00; Fellowship, $12.00; and Life, $100.00.
All memberships start with January of the current year. For membership information, write
to Mrs. Jeanne Woodbury, 1811 Edgecliff Drive, Los Angeles 26, California. Please submit
all manuscripts for publication to the editor, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles 49,
W. B. Charley
Monsieur Charles Chevalier
Mulford B. Foster
Charles H. Lankester
Richard Oeser, M. D.
Dr. Lyman B. Smith
OFFICERS President James N. Giridlian Editorial Secretary Victoria Padilla Vice President Charles A. Wiley Membership Secretary Jeanne Woodbury Treasurer Jack M. Roth Board of Directors
David Barry, Jr.
Nat de Leon
Mulford B. Foster
James N. Giridlian
Morris H. Hobbs
J. G. Milstein
Jack M. Roth
Dr. Russell Seibert
O. E. Van Hyning
Charles A. Wiley
Wilbur G. Wood
Mrs. Adda Abendroth
Bilpin, N.S.W., Australia
A. B. Graf
E. Rutherford, New Jersey
Cartago, Costa Rica
Auckland, New Zealand
Kirchzarten, Brsg, W. Germany
P. Raulino Reitz
Crimmitschau, E. Germany
Washington. D. C.
W. B. Charley
Monsieur Charles Chevalier
Mulford B. Foster
Charles H. Lankester
Richard Oeser, M. D.
Dr. Lyman B. Smith
|Affiliated Societies and their Presidents|
|The Bromeliad Guild, Los Angeles, California||Charles A. Wiley|
|Louisiana Bromeliad Society, New Orleans, Louisiana||Richard McCarthy|
|Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society, St. Petersburg, Florida||Mrs. B. E. Roberts|
|South Florida Bromeliad Society, Miami, Florida||Ralph W. Davis|
|Bromeliad Society of New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand||William Rogers|
|Bromeliad Society of Greater New York||J. G. Milstein|
|Bromeliad Society of Tampa Bay, Tampa, Florida||Ervin J. Wurthmann|
|Bromeliad Society of La Ballona Valley, Culver City, California||Warren Cottingham|
|The Bay Area Bromeliad Society, San Franciso, California||John Riley|
(No article appearing in this bulletin may be reproduced without the permission of the editor.)
LYMAN B. SMITH
|L. Ariza Julia|
T OFTEN HAPPENS that field botanists see the difference in plants while the herbarium botanists see the similarities. The field botanist finds an unfamiliar species and describes it as new, blissfully unaware that it has already been discovered and described three times in as many other countries. The herbarium botanist gathers together all the material possible and presently finds that there is no good way of distinguishing these independently proposed names, and consequently reduces them to one species, the oldest.
|J. J. Jimenez|
|Tillandsia baliophylla Harms|
Since then, Jose Jimenez and Luis Ariza Julia have been scouring the wildest parts of the Dominican Republic with surprising not to say embarrassing disclosures. First, the supposed minor variant, T. baliophylla, proves to have long-exserted stamens (see photo) and thus belongs in the subgenus Tillandsia instead of subgenus Allardtia with T. deppeana. Further checking shows a good single character to distinguish the two large Tillandsias of Hispaniola. Both T. baliophylla and the much older T. fendleri have floral bracts with broadly rounded backs, while those of true deppeana are sharply keeled.
Tillandsia baliophylla was discovered in Haiti by Ekman, a collector who is famous for his work in rugged country in Hispaniola and western Cuba. Its range is small and its restoration as a good species will not have much effect in bromeliad studies. Tillandsia fendleri, on the other hand, extends throughout the West Indies and through Andean South America south of Bolivia, and will require change in quite a number of floras.
The picture of Tillandsia baliophylla shows the long stamens and quickly drooping petals that indicate relationship with Mexican species like T. grandis, viridiflora and heterophylla, instead of T. deppeana.
In the first picture, a truly giant Tillandsia fendleri dwarfs the genial Dr. Jimenez. The plant is unusually large even for this species because generally there is only one spike per branch and here there are clusters of several. The picture also illustrates the spreading spikes that distinguish T. fendleri from T. baliophylla even in the young inflorescence....
— Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.
ERVIN J. WURTHMANNIR-CONDITIONED OFFICES AND LOBBIES are a far piece down the road from the tropics, yet many a bromeliad has found a home away from mama.
As I am in the plant rental and maintenance business for commercial establishments, the effect of air conditioning is of prime concern, regardless of plant types—aroids, palms, dracaenas, or bromeliads. Air conditioning attempts to create an artificial climate that is comfortable for man to work and live in. People want to transplant a bit of living beauty into their newly created atmosphere to soften the harshness of artificiality, but many are afraid that plants will not do well in air conditioning. If bromeliads are to be grown in such an environment, certain factors must be considered if the plants are to remain in a healthy condition.
- TEMPERATURE—Temperature I feel is a controlling factor
around which the other factors orbit. By reducing the temperature to the mid
seventies Fahrenheit, the grower also slows down plant activity in comparison
to what it would be at higher temperatures. Diminished activity will enable the
plant to survive more easily with less humidity and less light.
- LIGHT—Most plants require at least ten percent of their
optimum light requirement to maintain good appearance for a reasonable length
of time. However, I feel that bromeliads should have closer to twenty percent
of their optimum light requirement to enable them to retain color pigmentation
and form. Color and form set bromeliads apart from other plants.
- HUMIDITY—Engineers strive for 50 to 55 percent humidity in
air-conditioned buildings. This might not be ideal for some bromeliads, but
transpiration will not be as high due to relatively cool temperatures.
- AIR CIRCULATION—Bromeliads in air-conditioned rooms probably
receive as good or better movement of air than they would in some greenhouses.
- ADAPTABILITY OF PLANTS USED—Aechmea miniata var.
discolor, A. fulgens var. discolor, and A. × 'maginalii' hold their inflorescences
in good condition about one half the normal time under ideal conditions. All
three will readily offshoot, maintain good foliage color, but the leaves will
become much elongated. In Aechmea ×
'Foster's Favorite' and A. ×
'Royal Wine', the color of the foliage will last, but the inflorescence is
of a short duration. Aechmea fasciata, noted for its long lasting color
of the bracts, does very well under air-conditioning. Aechmea orlandiana makes
a good account of itself, retaining the chocolate markings but losing the pink
blush of a well-grown plant. Aechmea mertensii is a most remarkable
plant that seems determined to flower almost anywhere. We have seen it flower
under 250 foot candles of light, and ripen seed which was planted and
germinated. This same plant produced an offshoot which had long loppy leaves,
but the plant flowered, although the inflorescence was smaller than that of the
parent plant. An Aechmea mexicana located near a show window of a bank
that received sunlight up until 9:30 A.M., but none after that, tripled in size
in fifteen months to almost blooming size, maintaining very good form but
lacking the whitish hue and pink leaf margins characteristic of this plant. An Aechmea
lueddemanniana in flower was used at this same location and produced three
offshoots which bloomed the following year. The inflorescences were about
three-quarters the size of that of the parent.
Aechmea tillandsioides var. kienastii does well, possibly requiring more water than other Aechmeas. The offshoots will bloom producing smaller plants with smaller inflorescences. Aechmea pineliana, var. minuta holds its form and coloration better than the larger variety. This small plant will hold its coloration for several months if placed in an environment of 400-foot candles or more. The loss of color is a gradual fading to grey purple. Good form is maintained because of its slow growth.
Two plants of Nidularium innocentii var. innocentii grown in the show window did better than those grown in my greenhouse and showed less tip burn. Three plants of Neoregelia marechallii flowered in this location, a feat I have not accomplished in the nursery. The foliage coloration, however, has been a little disappointing, the pink color appearing and then fading and then returning in the center at flowering. There was very little spotting of the leaves, a problem too often encountered in a greenhouse. Neoregelia ampullacea proved to be most satisfactory, not being fussy at all to location and retaining its attractive form and color markings. Neoregelia concentrica lost its distinctive form when brought indoors. Neoregelia × 'Marcon', which I think should be called "Spotted Leopard," created a sensation when it was first put indoors, but in two months, unfortunately, the leopard lost most of its spots.
Billbergias, for the most part, cannot be considered satisfactory for our purposes because of their short flowering period and early loss of foliage color. Billbergia × 'Fantasia', however, can be considered an exception. Billbergia pyramidalis var. striata also shows much promise. The one used as a center plant in a dish garden of Cryptanthus occupied an executive's desk for eight months. At the end of this time, it still presented a good appearance.
Cryptanthus in variety will tolerate quite a bit of abuse; precaution, however, should be taken against watering and over exposure to too much light, which tends to bleach the foliage.
Vrieseas in flower are always eye stoppers. V. splendens lasts better in the cool of air conditioning than at higher temperatures. V. × 'Mariae' and V. incurvata both have long lasting inflorescences. Vriesea saundersii holds its form and leaf coloration well.
My experience with Guzmanias is too limited to comment on at this time. This condition is one which I hope to remedy as soon as I have a more plentiful supply of these plants. I believe some of the Guzmania lingulata varieties should do well, but I would not be optimistic at all about using Guzmania vittata or G. lindenii.
I have not used many Tillandsias in my work, the only exception being T. lindenii, which has been satisfactory. T. ionantha loses the red color of the foliage soon after it is placed in less than optimum light.
Dyckias are highly desirable, but unless given very bright light soon assume a plain green appearance.
- SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS—The establishments which use my
plants are visited once a week and at that time I give the plants any special
care that they need. Under this system of management, special techniques are
called for. Potting medium is heavier than 100 percent shredded tree fern.
Sphagnum moss is preferred for attaching bromeliads to driftwood, as it retains
its moisture longer than tree fern does. In addition, a non-ionic wetting agent
is used in the water once every two months to facilitate moistening of the
moss. I always keep water in the cups of bromeliads, especially those mounted
on driftwood. I fertilize lightly, using only enough fertilizer to maintain
good health and not to simulate much growth. A soluble fertilizer low in
nitrogen and high in potash, such as an African Violet fertilizer, at the rate
of one teaspoon for a gallon of water applied once every six weeks is ample for
- CONCLUSIONS—Reduced temperatures under air conditions
slow down plant activity, enable the plant to exist on less light, water, and
humidity. Circulation of air under such a situation seems to be adequate.
Potting mixtures are a consideration but need not cause as much concern to the
home owner who can give more frequent attention than once-a-week maintenance.
—5602 Theresa Road, Tampa, Florida
WILLIAM DRYSDALEEVERAL YEARS AGO I procured several dwarf Puyas. One was reputed to be blue, whereas the other was offered as a dwarf form of Puya berteroniana (P. alpestris). The first effort to establish these plants ended with their rotting under regular garden care about a year after being set out. A subsequent attempt was made after allowing the plants to attain some size in their pots before permanent placement. Growth was at a more rapid pace than the normal sized variety, and maturity was reached several years sooner. A plant which could easily be accommodated in a five-gallon container threw five scapes about the same time in late spring. These resembled those of its larger cousin in all but the size of the flowering stalk. Where the cultivation of the lordly Puya is precluded because of bulk, the dwarf form might satisfy, to some extent, the desire for this exciting Chilean.
—1212 Isabella Street, Riverside, Calif.
RICHARD OESER, M.D.
N THE SUBTROPICAL ZONE of the southern hemisphere, especially in the region of South America beyond the Tropic of Capricorn, a number of Tillandsias of considerable horticultural value are to be found. As a consequence of the intimate relationship that has existed between the former Spanish colonies and their mother country and the other regions on the Mediterranean, the species from this part of America are perhaps better known in Europe than in the United States. Some very pretty Tillandsias from Argentina, Paraguay, and southern Brazil, however, have been found to be suitable for outdoor culture in Florida and California. In this article we will not consider Tillandsias such as T. recurvata and T. usneoides, which occur through out the whole bromeliad belt of the new world, but will limit ourselves to some typical "southerners," those which are entirely different from their northern relatives.
Living outdoors at Les Cedres, the botanical garden of M. Julian Marnier-Lapostolle on the French Riviera.
The Tillandsias attached on a wire-mesh frame are a part of a large stock developed over a period of 30 years.
The first species I want to present is T. bergeri, which is not only found in the famous botanical gardens of the French Cote-d'Azur and the Spanish Costa Brava, but also especially in this latter locality, as a common ornamental, used for adornment of balconies, walls, and roofs. The plants are simply fastened to their support with some iron wire and left to themselves because they are believed to live on the air and to be insensitive to the hot summer sun and the moderate frost which occurs occasionally during the winter. In the course of the years, these colonies have formed huge, uniform balls, some of the ones I have seen being up to three feet in diameter.
I have cultivated this species for the last few years out of doors from May to September. In winter, it is kept cool, but frost free, with as much light as possible and rather on the dry side. The pale pink bracts and the densely arranged, light blue flowers are very decorative when grown in a large colony. It is easy to get seeds, which ripen in June, and they germinate readily when sown on small bundles of thin conifer twigs.
T. bergeri, which has colonized so successfully in the western Mediterranean coast-lands and also in the Canary Islands, is endemic in its country of origin to an isolated mountain range, the Sierra de Tandil, south of Buenos Aires. This Tillandsia is nearing extinction and is now only found on some remote, steep rocks.*
|Tillandsia aeranthos—on left is 2-year old seedling|
A second species, very similar in vegetative habit, is Tillandsia aeranthos. When not in flower, it is practically impossible to distinguish it from T. bergeri. It seems to be somewhat less hardy, occurring in the region of the mouth of the Rio de la Plata and growing near the river banks as an epiphyte, preferring Celtis spinosa as a support.* This is the real "clavella de aire," the carnation of the air, of the Argentineans. In many collections it still carries the older name. T. dianthoidea, which alludes to this designation. Although it needs somewhat higher temperatures for optimal growth than does T. bergeri, it is no doubt more valuable from a horticultural point of view, growing faster and flowering profusely in magnificent colors. The bracts are bright red and the petals are a wonderful deep blue. The picture shows a specimen that consisted of only two shoots in 1961, both of which flowered at that time. The seeds were sown immediately and developed extremely well. In 1962 the plant did not set any flowers, perhaps because it had been kept too warm during the winter, but in 1963 there were seventeen inflorescences, even small shoots forming stalks under the influence of perhaps a little too much growth hormone. A good specimen of T. aeranthos in full flower is perhaps one of the most fascinating sights bromeliads can offer.
In this respect there is serious competition from a part of the variable group which used to go under the name of Tillandsia pulchella until Dr. L. B. Smith changed its name a short time ago to my great dismay. The old name, meaning the pretty one," seemed to be one of the most appropriate in the bromeliad world, so I am going to use it. T. pulchella is not confined to the south. I once received a specimen from Venezuela which was very small and had modest, pale flowers. The best varieties seem to come from southern Brazil, Paraguay, and northern Argentina. As with T. aeranthos, the real beauty of this plant is to be realized when it has become a good-sized colony. To attain this takes years of good culture. T. pulchella resembles a pine twig. The leaves are thin, nearly straight, and dark green. The shoot is more caulescent than in the other species. In certain varieties the leaves are tightly adpressed to the hanging stem, which curls up gracefully at the tip.
I must admit that I am not able to differentiate clearly between the varieties of T. pulchella and T. araujei described in literature. T. pulchella from Brazil and Paraguay flowers very dependably every year somewhat later than T. aeranthos. But as the flowering times of the two species overlap, there is the chance in the greenhouse, with both in close proximity, that hybrids are formed. I am sure that among the innumerable seedlings growing here there will be some pleasant surprises in this regard.
from Paraguay and southern Brazil
A word about the cultivation of these plants. They should be kept with as much light as possible and not too warm. The flowers fade very soon when the temperature is too high, whereas at 17 to 22°C. they keep for weeks. The plants, like all Tillandsias, do best in fresh, moving air. In "captivity," where the wind does not provide all the necessary nutrients (including mineral salts and especially magnesium) we have to feed them. This is, in my experience, best done by immersing the plants regularly (e.g. weekly) with their support of conifer twigs into not too cold, soft water, containing some inorganic manure (N, P, K, and Mg). The commercial products seem to be perfectly acceptable, and the concentration I use is about 0.1 percent. Fertilizing of the air by volatile ammonium carbonate also seems quite useful. After "diving," the plants should dry in about one-half to one hour. The humidity of the air should be between 60 to 80 percent during the night. This is sufficient to start the swelling of seeds which initiates germination. Seedlings are treated like mature plants. The bundles of thin conifer twigs I use as "seed beds" are immersed in water or occasionally in manure solution at least daily. I have observed that growth is faster the more often this process is performed. (to be continued)
—7801 Stegen b. Freiburg/Brsg., Schulweg 2a., Germany__________
*Personal communication of Prof. K. Stopp (Mainz) and Dr. J. Rutschmann (Basel), members of the Bromeliad Society.
A SPECIAL SALEMiscellaneous issues taken from broken sets of the Bromeliad Society Bulletin can now be obtained for a limited time only for the low, low price of
When sending your order, please designate whether you wish Set. No. 1, includes bulletins taken from Volumes 1 through 10, or Set No. 2, which includes bulletins taken from Volumes XI through XIII.
Make check payable to the Bromeliad Society and send to the Editor, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles 49, California.
Take a clean four-inch pot and pour boiling water over it, inside and out. Into this clean pot, put one and a half inches of crock or gravel and fill to one-half inch of the top with a mixture of tree-fern fiber or peat moss, and some black sandy soil. A prepared orchid mix can also be used. Pour near boiling water over the top soil. Spray this top soil with a soluble fertilizer and mix into the spray a little fungicide. Stir the top soil to loosen it: then put about thirty seeds on the surface.
Take a clean polythene bag, pour in a cup of water, and place the pot inside this, standing in a little water. Loop a piece of cord and tie the bag at the top and hang the lot to a nail or hook above the kitchen stove or on the wall above the stove. Within an hour the plastic bag will be fogged over with condensation, and within three to six days the seedlings will appear. Keep the pot under these conditions until the small plants put out leaves and stand up. Remove the pot from the bag and place in a warm airy position or in a glasshouse and keep watered in the usual way.
The fertilized soil is important because the seedlings will immediately start to grow. The fungicide is also necessary because without this, fungi will thrive under the conditions in the bag and could easily kill the seed at the tiny growing point at the moment it shoots. In this case each seed will show a small white blob of fluff, which is often thought to be the growth of the seed, but is in reality the fungus and the seed has already been killed.
The writer has received seed from Germany by airmail, and in nine days from the day of picking, the seeds had already germinated.
—W. B. Charley, Bilpin, N. S. W., Australia
E HAVE ALL READ ABOUT the various ways to grow bromeliads from seed. For the homegrower my method might prove successful as it has done for me. I planted some Aechmea bracteata seed in very damp sphagnum moss in a flat pan, four inches high, covered with a sheet of glass. In less than two weeks, tiny plants were in evidence. These grew quickly and became so dense that in about six weeks they had to be pricked out. Some I planted in 5 by 8 inch oval pans, using composted soil with bits of charcoal and fine sphagnum added. Others were planted in two large flat-sided fish bowls. I used the same potting mixture with one inch of gravel at the bottom of both bowls; then covered them with plastic across the top openings, tying it snugly with string. How they grew in that little world of their own! All the pans and jars were on a shelf in out door slat house, where they received both sun and shade.
Those in the pans grew slowly; a few here and there would show mold, and these I removed immediately. The ones in the fish bowls did not show any mold or wilt. Seedlings in the bowls soon became too high for the container and had to be potted into individual tiny pots. The slower growing ones were then moved from the pans into the fish bowls. They showed growth within a few days. I believe any large squatty glass jar would serve as well if fitted with a plastic top, so light could penetrate.
At the present time, since warm weather has set in, all seedlings are in two-inch pots. Growth slowed down, but the plants are all developing thickness at the base and have good green color.
They are still on a shelf in the slat house but are protected from heavy rains. The pots are in shallow trays, and I spray them with rain water when needed. About once every two or three weeks, they all get a drink of a weak solution of manure water and have also had a wee pinch of the essential minerals.
I lost a few seedlings with damping off, but that danger seems past now. I keep a daily watch over my plants. My baby Aechmea bracteatas are almost six months old, some have six strap-like leaves and the sturdier plants are thickening at the base. All have a good root system. I am going to replant some of them on cypress logs, in hollow places filled with moss. I also am going to try some on coral rock. I have enough young plants to experiment with, hoping in this way to find out how they grow best—whether they do best mounted on logs or rocks or in a pot or directly in the soil. It has been fun and I realize that I may have to wait several years for blooms, but vase-shaped plants are so attractive, I won't mind watching.
—Hattie Davidson, Rt. 1, Box 204, West Palm Beach, Florida
DENTIFICATION PLEASE—This interesting photograph was recently received from the Dole Pineapple Company of Hawaii with a letter asking whether we could inform them as to the source of the print. None of our records is of any help. If any member can identify this picture, will he please so inform the editor. The information can then be relayed to the head librarian of the Dole Company.
A word in passing—any member who visits Honolulu should not fail to visit the Dole Company and also see this company's very interesting library, containing, as you can guess, much material on the subject of pineapples.
A letter from Luis Ariza Julia, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, reads as follows: "Herewith a post scriptum to my article "Pitcairnia Hunting in Santo Domingo": the plants we collected were Pitcairnia samuelssonii! Regrettably it is a short-lived flower, light cream with more or less red in the tips of the petals, sepals green-bronze. In the July-August number there is an article entitled "Chooponee"—A Burbank Bromeliad. The name is of course Spanish: Chupon, chupones (plural) and signifies in English "sucker, offshoot," so Mr. Burbank must have had his tongue in his cheek when he placed that plant on the market with such a designation!"
Dr. J. J. Wurdack, Associate Curator of the Department of Botany of the Smithsonian Institution, says: "I have just noted the excellent reproduction of Pitcairnia clavata L. B. Smith on the back cover of the September-October issue of the Bromeliad Society Bulletin. In the remarks below the photograph, however, an erroneous inference as to the cultural requirements of this species was drawn because the elevation of 9,740 feet noted is not correct. In both my field notes and Dr. Smith's original description in Phytologia, the habitat elevation was correctly given as 250 meters (about 820 feet). P. clavata grew on the ground in the very moist and warm rainforest near Pongo de Manseriche on the Maranon River in Peru."
Speaking of Peru—the Bromeliad Guild of Los Angeles certainly established a new precedent last August and September by sponsoring a trip to the headwaters of the Amazon. A private DC3 was leased and 24 excited and enthusiastic members set forth to see what they could see in this fabled country. For an account of this fantastic trip, read the article appearing in the next issue of the Bulletin. No doubt, there will be a number of you ready to follow in the footsteps of these brave Californians.
VICTORIA PADILLAThis article is the first of a series written solely for the many readers who are just starting their bromeliad collections. The experienced grower need make no reference to this page, for it will contain an oft-told tale with which he should be familiar.
URING THE PAST YEAR MANY bromeliads have made their initial appearance in nurseries and florists. In the Los Angeles area alone approximately 3,500 plants of Aechmea fasciata were distributed. It is to be hoped that these bromeliads all found good homes, but from the number of inquiries I have received regarding their care, I wonder how well these plants survived.
How does the novice get started? The first thing he should consider before purchasing any bromeliads is to determine what growing conditions he can give them. Will he grow the plants in a steam heated apartment (as many appear to be doing successfully in New York City), in a glass house, under lath, or in a succulent garden or rockery? Does he want to use his plants as potted specimens for the patio or terrace or does he desire to naturalize them, attaching them to trees?
In their native habitat, the American tropics, bromeliads are to be found thriving under all kinds of conditions. Nidulariums and Neoregelias prefer the dense shade and the humidity of the jungle floor; Puyas thrive on the wind-swept slopes of the high Andes; and Dyckias are perfectly content if they have a rock on which to cling. Vrieseas and Aechmeas want to be perched on the limb of a tall tree, although there are some species to be found on beaches enjoying the salten spray of the ocean waves. Tillandsias are happy on tree tops or sometimes telephone poles or wires or sometimes resting on sandy deserts. The experienced grower knows that if he is to be successful with his bromeliads, he must duplicate their natural environment in so far as possible.
What should guide the beginner in making his first list of plants? Adaptability to environment, ease of culture, dependability of bloom, and distribution of flowering periods are all basic considerations.
Those bromeliads which seem to be the most adaptable to the different kinds of cultivation are the air-minded tree-dwellers or epiphytes. From this large group, the easiest to grow are the Aechmeas and Billbergias. Though these plants prefer the tree tops in their native haunts, they seem perfectly content to settle down in pots, provided their soil is porous and rich in humus, they are watered and washed at intervals, and they are given some light and air.
Billbergias are among the hardiest of all bromeliads and will survive a temperature as low as fifteen degrees. Though their individual blooms are fleeting, Billbergias tend to multiply so rapidly that a fair-sized plant will be in flower for a considerable period of time. However, if one is desirous of having a plant that is attractive in contour, he should not be afraid to keep his pot of Billbergias thinned out, so that the attractiveness of the individual "vases" is discernible. Among favorite Billbergias are B. saundersii, for the unique mottling of its leaves, B. × Mead for the length of its blooming season, B. × "Fantasia," for its startling mottled foliage which at times can be almost pure cream in color, and the B. thyroidea hybrids for the dazzling brilliance of their inflorescence.
Some Aechmeas are particularly recommended for the novice, for though they are less hardy than Billbergias, their colorful flower heads remain objects of arresting beauty for many months. So that he will be encouraged in his growing of bromeliads, the beginner should select the "sure-bloomers"—those that will send up flower spikes unfailingly year after year. Aechmea miniata discolor, A. fulgens discolor, and A. fasciata are a triumvirate which in this regard cannot be surpassed, and the novice making up his first list should not fail to include them. These three bromeliads will withstand the ordinary rigors of apartment house living. Such is not true of all Aechmeas, however, and the novice, difficult though the choice may be, should beware of such tantalizing beauties as A. chantinii, which needs careful greenhouse treatment. This plant thrives in the jungles of the Amazon, a habitat which cannot very well be duplicated in the average home or patio. Until he is thoroughly familiar with the background of his plants, he should select those which he himself has seen and knows to be of easy culture.
Many inquiries come to the editor's desk regarding how certain bromeliads should be grown. This is an almost impossible question to answer. Some bromeliads thrive in one part of the country but sulk in another. Take the Billbergia, for instance. B. nutans, considered a weed in southern California, is more difficult to grow in Florida. Just the opposite is true of B. pyramidalis. This is probably the most common of all Billbergias in Florida, blooming faithfully year after year. In California B. pyramidalis blooms when it finally gets around to it, taking a good five years to flower for some members, and there are some who have never seen its inflorescence. Rare is the person who can grow all bromeliads to perfection or even successfully. Those who have grown these fascinating plants for a number of years realize that they cannot have success with all varieties. Some species, they will find, will grow easily and flower regularly for them, but with others—well, that is a different story. Growing bromeliads and finding just the right conditions for them is a challenge, and the novice must realize that in the beginning he will have to do a lot of experimenting. —(To be continued)
ANANAS COMOSUS VAR. VARIEGATAThis variegated form of the pineapple has long been a favorite among horticulturists in Europe, and at the turn of the century was seen in almost every fine plant collection both here and abroad. In late years, however, it has become a rarity and is highly prized by those lucky few who possess a plant. Perhaps one of the reasons for its scarcity is that it cannot be propagated from seeds, but only by offsets. This slow form of propagation, unfortunately, is a costly process for the nurseryman.
This fine photo shows one of the plants grown by Mr. Charles Hodgson of Australia. New offshoots forming at the base of the fruit can easily be discerned. This particular plant, however, lacks the usual pink coloring of the foliage, which is seen in most of the plants grown in the United States.