Billbergia Domingos Martins'

brom-nutterFebruary 13, 2009

First time to flower.

Cheers Richard

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Very nice flower. There must be something wrong with my DM it doesn't have any banding in the leaves just huge white spots

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 10:08AM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi Richard, love those flowers. I got mine about 9 months ago and I was hoping it would flower this season but it doesn't look like it will - having seen yours, I can't wait until it does.

HDD, the one I bought did not have much in the way of either spots or stripes and I must admit I had been hoping for more. However, the pup that this not-very-spotty, not-very-stripey plant has put out has just gone ballistic in the pattern department - everything I had hoped for.

B. Domingos Martins with pup this morning

The pup has grown with the plants where you see it in the photo. This spot gets full sun from around 7.30am to a bit before midday, with dappled shade through the afternoon.

Because the spot is sheltered, the air temperature goes up very rapidly when the sun hits it to around 35-38deg C, then stays at this level until the full sun goes off it. The temperatures go up to this level even if the ambient air temps nearby are down around 20-25degC. The only time this doesn't happen is if there is a strong breeze blowing directly into the sheltered spot to prevent the build-up of hot air.

I was interested in what was happening in this particular spot and was surprised at the extremes in temperature and the amount and speed of variation, so I put a bit of effort into checking the measurements. I ended up putting a max/min thermometer in a white styrofoam box with no top and no bottom, so the thermometer was completely shaded and completely insulated from the sun's rays, but was still exposed to very good flow of the surrounding air. This was placed in among the plants and checked as often as possible to see what was happening, so I'm pretty certain the temperature measurements are accurate.

Until I took these measurements (this all happened just over the last 5 months), I never would have thought the routine temperature variation could be his extreme, and I never would have thought that the plants would be perfectly happy in temps up to 38deg C for a good part of every day.

Interestingly, you will see a plain B. vittata in the backgound of the photo that has done exactly the same thing as the DM. The parent plant was grown elsewhere in bright light (a bit of full sun but mainly 30% shade) but in a more open place with nowhere near the routine extremes of temperature variation, and it didn't have much distinct striping. Like the DM, the pup on this plain vittata, grown where you see it in the photo, has very much more distinct striping.

Maybe it is just coincidence, but maybe the large regular daily variation in temperature has an effect on the striping? Or maybe it is the extreme high temperature it routinely reaches? Or maybe it is both? In combination with the strong light?

(NB I don't think feeding is an issue - they all get a good splash of the same half-strength balanced NPK fertiliser ("Phostrogen") every couple of weeks, whatever or wherever they are)

Interesting!? I'd love to hear what other people have found. DM is such a spectacular plant when it really does its thing that it would be great to find out how to reliably make it do it! (Richard - hope you don't mind - I've gotten a bit carried away with your thread!)

Cheers, Paul

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 8:37PM
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Hi Richard and Paul - Nice plants you both have. I tossed up the idea of getting a DM but was put off by all the negative info. I read about it being slow and hard to grow so I didn't get one.

Paul, the colour in your plant certainly contradicts what I've read about feeding taking the colour from Bills. and turning them green.

What part of Aus. are you from Paul? With temps. like that, up in sunny Qld I'll bet.

Thanks for the info., all the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 1:52PM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi Nev, I'm just a few k's up the coast from you in S.E. Sydney. These temps are just retricted to a couple of metres of sheltered sunny spot. It seems that it is sheltered enough so that it traps the heat from the sun and the temperature builds up quickly, but there is still enough air circulation so that when it gets hot, the hot air starts rising and it doesn't get much hotter.

Maybe lots of sheltered sunny spots are like this. I had no idea what was happening until I started measuring the temperature.

Mind you, it does start to get shaded from a bit before midday - I suspect that if it copped the full afternoon sun it would be a bit much in summer, even for these tough plants (some other Bills, some Ae. orlandianas, some Vr fosterianas/hybrids, some hard-leafed Neos and an Alc imperialis).

I should mention too that some plants I tried in this spot just could not cope, eg a Neo Kahala Dawn and a Vr. platynema variegata. They didn't show any signs of being able acclimatise over several months - the Neo. KD just kept bleaching with a few burns and the platynema just kept burning.

Cheers, Paul

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 4:33PM
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Good to know I'm not the only one who has...difficulties making this plant tick.

Heres a group of three I have. They were bright green initially, but they are in a spot that receives full sun from around 1000 till dusk. Theres been a few brown spots here and there but I can make do with.

Heres a pup that's mother is marginally striped but has large spots.

I'll need to get some updated photos of them, theyre blazin with color now.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 5:13PM
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