More gruberi pups?

paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)February 10, 2010

Hi everyone,

A couple of my favourite Vr. ospinae gruberi plants have finished flowering, set some pods and started producing pups, or 'pup' to be more precise, just one each, close to the centre of the plant. I had been hoping for a few more pups - just a couple would do! One plant is a 'Tiger Tim' and I'd heard that they normally produce a few pups, but maybe this just happens to be a time when one doesn't.

Anyway, I seem to recall reading somewhere that people have had some success increasing the number of pups produced in some plants by dropping a pellet or two of slow release fertiliser into the water at the base of several leaves on a plant, with the idea that in each one there is a good chance of stimulating a new pup to start growing.

I'm not at all sure just how well this sort of technique could work, but my question is, has anyone tried doing this with Vr. ospinae gruberi? Love to hear from you. Any ideas or info would be very welcome.

Cheers, Paul

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A friend of mine had a Vr ospinae gruberi - he got it when it was flowering. When finished flowering, he cut the inflo and the plant produced 2 pups in the center. He let them grow to about 15cm tall and told me I can remove 1 for me. So I removed it, and then saw that both of them starting to push a flower at that tender age. So I removed his as well hoping it would produce more pups that would grow to regular size before flowering. It gave 3 more pups. Again at about 15cm tall we removed them and he asked me to keep the old mother - now looking very sad - in my shade house. She produced 5 more pups! Pup #3 is now about 25cm, still not flowering, pups #4 & #5 around 20cm and starting to flower. I blame that on our temperate climate. The original mother plant was not fed at all after the flower spike was cut, it had hardly any root system and Fanus does not do foiliar feeding.

Oh, and pups #1 & #2 : Mine died after flowering, his produced 1 pup in the center and left is there. It has taken mother over completely and is also about 25cm now - no sign of flower yet.

Sorry I cannot answer your question about the slow release pellets.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 4:08AM
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Paul, I took some pictures for you quickly.

Pup #4 pushing its flower and #10 mounted on a piece of wood.

Vr ospinae gruberi


    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 4:37AM
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Hi Paul ,i have found it to be a individual thing ,some clones do some don't ,i have never used fertiliser pellets ,so dont know ,but with nearly all of the ' Foliage Vrieseas ' if you cut the spike early on ,you do increase pupping , you can't have it both ways ,the plant(s) use energy to support the flowers and / or seedpods ,so what do you want ? i had a plant that gave 7 pups before flowering and all down low ,but it never did it the second time ,4 was best , you can try and let us all know , Jack

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 4:47AM
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Hi Guys

Ja Japie is spot-on, removing the pups will cause more (pups) in our clones here anyway...

Jap I notice they dont get very "leafy" in the Kaap? Or is that a different clone. Mine have more white.



    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 6:07AM
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Oh, and Paul-Send me your Tiger Tim and I will experiment for you!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 6:19AM
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Hi Paul,
A while back someone on the GW posted a comment on this very subject but I don't remember who it was, maybe it was bromadams or winterlager. When it was written up on the GW I seem to remember they described it as giving the plants a "the big handful" of slow release fertilizer in the vases and between the leaves as well. The term "the big handful" is what caught my attention as this seemed to be contradictory to every thing you read about slow release fertilizer. Suffice to say, this info was filed away in the back of my brain for future reference.

A few months later when I was sorting plants that had just finished flowering, I had a few of the same sorts and thought I would give this theory a go, nothing ventured nothing gained. Anyway I used a couple of plants of Vr.ospinae and a plant of Neo. Noble Descent and a garden plant of what I think is Ae. David Barry. All of these had just finished flowering and were being moved to another positon to await the production of pups anyway, that is except the plant of David Barry which was growing in the garden in almost full sun (and had just had a pup removed for a friend).

I didn't use the "big handful" as it had been described, but I did put perhaps six or so pellets of Osmocote in the vases of each plant and a couple of pellets at the junction where the base of the leaves meet the main part of the plant. The plants were put aside under a tree fern at the back of my northern shade cloth covered area and promptly forgotten about until a few weeks ago when I was again sorting out things.

I first noticed the Neo. Noble Descent putting out pups I think 6-8 in number, I don't remember exactly. Then I went looking for the Ospinaes and found one had produced two pups from the top of the plant, two from about one third of the way up the plant and a number of very small grass pups around the base. The other plant of Ospinae was dead and hadn't produced anything, but having said that, it had been knocked over (probably by a stray cat) and had been lying on its side without water for I don't know how long. I then checked on the Ae. David Barry and found that it had six or so pups as well.

So there are the results of my experiment for what they are worth, and maybe it might just be worthwhile trying it out for yourself by setting up a more controlled test which I know you will do much better than I. I hope you have success and produce lots of pups.

By the way, the Osmocote I used was just the normal "Osmocote Plus" for potted plants and from memory has a nitrogen content of about 16-18.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 3:50PM
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That almost sounds like something I said. I probably said "big hand" not "big handful". You see, back in the day, I used to go to lunch at a Thai place with this Scot who always ordered his food medium hot but sometimes it would be very hot and the Scot, with tears in his eyes, would always say "The chef with the big hands must be working today."

Here is a link that might be useful: the big fertilizer hand

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 6:38PM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi everyone,

I'm just catching up after a few frantic days. Sorry about the delay in getting back. Jack, you asked what do I want? Well, of course I want it all!

Japie, Dennis and Jack, thanks for your experiences with gruberi pupping, they give me hope that with a bit of fiddling I might get a few more, and Nev, that experiment of yours with ospinae v. ospinae at least gives me some confidence that I may not kill off the plants by putting a bit of slow-release in their axils.

So, what I think I will do is let the pods on both plants mature. The Tiger Tim has pods set with the 'purple plant' pollen and the purple plant has pods set with TT pollen, so I want that seed. By the time that happens, the initial pup will hopefully be big enough to remove from each plant, along with the flower spike, so off they come. Then, in goes a bit of slow release and we will see what happens. I'll let you know how it goes!

And Nick and Nev, thanks for your followup on the slow-release 'handful' thing. Love the 'big-handed' chef. I reckon there must be a few of them around. Having tried to dredge through my memory a bit more, I think I was remembering something I read that was quite bizarre, involving what I think was Ae. orlandiana 'Ensign' being filled up with slow release, leaves pulled together then half buried in ..... something. Of course, this could be a figment of my scrambled memories, so I'll keep trying to see if I can find the original reference.

Cheers, Paul

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 4:25PM
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Paul, check out the link below. I think that is what you are referring to.


Here is a link that might be useful: Many pups

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 6:47PM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Japie, you've found it! Many thanks. Certainly food for thought. Cheers, Paul

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 7:54PM
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A while back I tried the fertilizer pellet method of inducing pups on this Nid innocentii and it seemed to work.

Pellet on left:

Pellet on right:

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 10:57PM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi Nick, I only just realised there was another posting on this thread. Thanks for that, those pictures really seem to tell a story. I've definitely got to give it a try. Cheers, Paul

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 5:01AM
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Sorry about this delayed response, Paul.

It seems like, if lucky, you CAN have your cake and eat it too.
My Vr. 'Tiger Tim' flowered, and I performed surgery on its floral parts by attempting cross-pollination. Some seed did set, and I eventually removed the almost-ripe seed pods. They ripened in marked envelopes, on a sunny window ledge indoors (and yes, most crosses have germinated). As soon as the seed pods were removed, I cut off the old flower spike. Even before I did that, two pups were forming beside the spike, in the centre of the plant.
Once the pups were a good size (approx. 30cm high), I carefully removed them from their mum, trying very hard not to kill her in the process.
To my surprise and delight, only a few weeks after removing the first two pups, mother Tim (?!) is growing four more pups - again, from beside where the flower spike was. I did give mum some extra slow-release fert pellets around her base post flowering, as well as regular foliage fert.
I find I have to give my "grubs" more than the usual amount of water. I also believe that both forms of Vr. ospinae are strictly terrestrial in their natural habitat - so a deeper pot is probably beneficial.

Good luck with your experiment Paul. And thanks Nick for showing us those pups induced by the fert pellets in the leaf axils. Very interesting indeed!


    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 11:17AM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi Kerry,

Great news! That has given me a lot more confidence and I'll give the whole shebang a try including Nick's pellets.

A quick question - how did you tell when the pods were almost ripe? When was pollination and when did the pods come off?

If you could let me know, that would be great. Many thanks, Paul

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 3:27PM
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I don't want to take any credit for the fert pellet idea. Theresa Bert is the one who told me about it. It certainly doesn't always work and it seems to work best after the plant has flowered. I routinely put some pellets in the leave axils after I remove the inflorescence.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 5:49PM
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Hi Paul,

Glad my experience has given you more confidence.

Now dates...hmm. I pollinated a few flowers on each of Tim's ten branches in late February 2009.
The set pods took longer to mature than usual for foliage Vrieseas. By late November/ early December 2009 the set pods were light brown and hard, and starting to get a slightly "withered" look about them, but still hadn't split. I was also getting slightly "withered looking" from my impatience, so that's when I removed them, pre-splitting. They took another few weeks to split after separation, in their envelopes. I admit some had a helping hand from me to split. Also, some just withered completely, without viable seed, so I eventually threw those out. I sowed the seed around Christmas 2009.

Although I did the micro-surgery pollination attempts at the same time, I noticed some pods were faster to ripen than others, depending on what pollen parent I used. I have noticed this before with other foliage Vriesea pollination attempts. My friend Frances has also found this. We have both experienced earlier ripening of seed when the pollen parent is a fosteriana variety - I don't know why.

I also find that on the rare occasions that I remove the seed pods before they are ripe, and then on even rarer occasions use a bit of force to split them, those seed take longer to germinate as well. Obviously, the seed was not quite ripe. But hey, they still germinate - which of course is the ultimate goal.
Has anyone else had this experience?

So no holding your breath Paul. Be patient, my friend.

K :)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 6:05PM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi Kerry,

Great info again. I really appreciate it, many thanks. So, with pollination back in November, it looks like around about September - October might be the time for me to start thinking about a bit of pod and pup removal. Now Paul, take a big, big breath ........

And Nick, thanks again for your extra info. I really must give this a try. Have you done the pellet thing with fosteriana-based foliage Vrieseas by any chance?

Cheers, Paul

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 8:32PM
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I've never had a fosteriana type Vriesea bloom or put out a pup yet but I'm hoping to get there one day. We don't grow a lot of Vrieseas in South Florida but that seems to be slowly changing.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 9:54PM
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Yes Kez I found that some pods take not even 6 months and others may take 9 ,with ' Big Red " some took 12 months to ripen , other than that i dont take much notice as long as they dont all ripen at once ,Tamera and i found Gruberii does best if the pot is sitting in a saucer of water at all times ,it growers wetter than most Vr, this goes for all our Ospinae's

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:08AM
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thanks for bringing this topic up again Paul. The info in this and the related posst is invaluable. I removed my first pups from Hannibal Lector, Blushing Tiger and Bilb. Hallelujah today - quite exciting as these are some of my fave broms so is great to seem them multiply and now after reading these posts its even more exciting knowing there'll be many more to come!


    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 2:41AM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi Kristan,

You're very welcome, but the real thanks goes to everyone else who shared their knowledge and experience - great stuff! And good luck with your de-pupping. Isn't great fun when you can get a few of them doing their thing around the place.

Cheers, Paul

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 3:22AM
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