Have you got a gruberi ?

paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)February 21, 2009

I was fascinated by Vriesea ospinae gruberi the first time I saw a picture of one, and I managed to get my first one a bit over a year ago. Since then I've decided to try to get hold of each different one I can put my hands on!

I love the overall effect these plants have - I love their detailed patterning, I love the way different clones give so many different variations on the same theme and I love the way they change through the year.

Just five in the collection so far, but increasing steadily. A few pics of mine below - it would be great to see pictures from everyone else!

The collection so far

Tiger Tim today

Tiger Tim 2 months ago

Yellow one today

Yellow one 2 months ago

Purple one today

Purple one 2 months ago

New one - wonder what colours it will go?

Tiger? occasionally sold as Tiger Tim but seems to be a bit different in the flesh - stiffer, more upright leaves and more white, extending right out along leaves. Had to go halves with a mate to get this on eBay. It lives over at his place - I'm waiting desperately for a pup!

Looking forward to seeing your pics! Cheers, Paul

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Ohhh Paul, your blowing me away with those Vriesias...in fact your making me rather jelous...*cry*
they are gorgeous mate!!!!

I think ive got the hots for tiger tim.....lol
very special fella there....heheheeee

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 5:50AM
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Those are fabulous, and very nicely grown, Paul! I didn't realize there were so many different cultivars of it. I thought that most of the differences I'd seen were due to growing conditions, but that's obviously not the case if you've been growing them side by side.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 1:46PM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Thanks bromaloonie, thanks Lisa. The differences in colours and patterns of the different clones seem to be brought out in very bright light.

Those ones growing together are under clear polycarbonate roof plus 30% green shadecloth that gets full sun from around 8.30am to 2.30pm, then dappled shade. With Sydney sun - skies often very dry & clear in between the rain - that's pretty intense, right through summer and winter.

The purple clone was the first one I bought. When I got it a bit over year ago, it was a fairly dark green with darker patterning. After a few months in the bright light that purple patterning really started coming through and I thought - Wow, I've got to see what some other ones do!

So now I'm trying to pick ones where the patterning looks a little bit different regardless of what colour they are, then waiting to see what they do in those bright conditions. And so far, each one has done something totally different! Which means of course that I just have to get some more .....

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 4:15PM
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Paul - fantastic collection thus far! Your dark purple one, in particular, is magnificent! I also love "the grub", as I fondly refer to it.

There are some wonderful variations of this species variety. I have grown a couple of different ones, but find them all quite cold-sensitive. They usually go backwards each winter when I have grown them in the open garden, but I lost them all Winter '07. Then I payed big money for a Tiger Tim. I have kept him in my green/hot house, where he sailed through this last winter without a blemish.
I have noticed it change through the seasons as well. Mine has (unfortunately) lost some of its whiteness on maturity, but is still a fine specimen.

Tiger Tim 4 months ago.

Tiger Tim in flower now.

Apparently Vr. ospinae var. gruberi does not self-pollinate. The only way to grow it from seed is if you cross-pollinate with a different clone of "the grub". Allan Ladd (Australian) has produced seed from crossing Tiger Tim with a very dark clone of gruberi, and expects the seedlings to range from white to dark, and everything in between. He has generously shared some of this special seed with me (and maybe a couple of other lucky souls), and I'm happy to report they have recently germinated. I'm treating them like gold, and will report back in 5 or 6 years with the results! - IF I don't kill them before then.

I have also started cross-pollinating my flowering Tim with other foliage vrieseas - not that I think one could improve on one of nature's best, but I can't help myself! The flower petals don't open, so it's a fiddly business to pollinate them.

Now - let's see some other grubs!


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 6:20PM
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Holy Clappin duck splat....now I have gotta get me one...LOL
They are so beautiful
Thanks for sharing yours there Kerry...amazing brom
I love its patterns, i keep scrolling up to just sit and stare...LOL
hmmmmmmm writes Gruberi on latest want/wish list

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:37PM
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Love the purple one and Tim it's a shame I don't have a spare arm, leg and head to buy one of them.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:48PM
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bromeliaddict(z6 MI)

Paul, I love your collection of 'Gruberis'. I never had any idea that they could be that variable. I definitely have to get my hands on a 'Tiger Tim'. I've got a clone of 'gruberi' that I picked up from Dennis Cathcart in 1992. This photo was taken today. So, this is what it looks like near the end of our winter.

Last time it flowered, I had a Vr. ospinae var. ospinae that I managed to cross with it (both ways). I planted out the seed about 10 months ago. They're still too small too tell how they might color up. The good news, Kerry, is that they grow a lot faster than many Vrieseas that I've grown from seed- they're already about 5 cm. across. You may find that you have some nice colorful plants in 3-4 years! I should start have a good idea by the end of our summer whether crossing with var.ospinae was a waste of time, or not!


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 4:21PM
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Hi Everyone

Love all the plants and what a varied lot they are.

Paul, When you did the crossing, what time of the day did you do it or is it also one of the night time ones?

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 3:08PM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi Paul, this is Paul. Love the markings on that clone of yours - hope I can find one like that over here. Interesting to hear that they develop relatively quickly from seed.

Kerry, great to see pics of your Tim. Can't wait until mine flower & I can try a bit of pollinating as well. I hope the seeds from Allan Ladd get through OK, as well as your own pollinations - that is really exciting! I can't wait to find out what they are like.

I wonder if different variations will come through in the F1 generation, or if it will be the F2 generation that really starts to go ballistic with different variations, like it has in some Vriesea hybrids? I guess there's only one way to find out - great that its happening! Just keep those goats away. Cheers, Paul

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 9:31PM
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bromeliaddict(z6 MI)

Hi Nev. Vriesea ospinae flowers are small, tubular yellow flowers that don't flare open at all. They are day bloomers. To the best of my recollection, I did most of the crosses from mid-morning to early afternoon. The flowers certainly won't be confused with night bloomers like V. fenestralis or fosteriana.
Paul- my guess is that the F1 generation (between 2 very closely related forms of a species) would be fairly uniform. But the parents are so beautiful to begin with, it's hard to go wrong!


    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 10:44PM
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Hey Paul and Paul and Nev and all,

Yes Nev - Allan also said to pollinate in the morning. I am using fridge-stored pollen of the night-time flowerers, and the reverse.

I received an email from Bruce Dunstan yesterday telling me his flowering Tiger Tim set seed on every (closed) flower WITHOUT his help - which has intrigued us. He also said, like U.S.Paul, that seedlings are faster-growing than most foliage vriesea - good news indeed. Bruce has seedlings in 200mm pots after only 1.5 years! They are from seed set by Peter Tristram, using another superior clone of gruberi crossed with Tiger Tim. Rumour has it that patterned foliage could well be obtained in seedlings of gruberi crossed with green-leaved vrieseas as well. How exciting is that? Imagine something like Tim with an orange or red flower spike....

Aussie Paul - those neighbour's #@**!# goats are now tethered. If they step hoof near my garden again, I'll be searching for recipes of goat stew.

Have you ever seen a more mottley and uglier goat?


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 1:03AM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Kerry, I've tried to id. it but always come up with satay

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 3:24AM
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Good luck with your gruberi crosses, Kerry! Years ago I tried crossing it with fosteriana. It took all right, but the resulting plants were pretty disappointing. They did show traits of both parents but the mix turned out to be less attractive than either one of them, which was not at all what I was expecting. Also the leaves of the hybrids were extremely prone to yellow die-back, which I took as a possible sign of some underlying compatibility issues. I was always having to clip off the leaf tips, and in the end it just didn't seem worth it, so onto the trash pile they went!

Hopefully you will have better results, but keep in mind that we have very selective filters when we think about what a cross should look like. Usually we imagine it combining what we perceive as the best traits of each parent, but from a genetic point of view those traits that most catch our human eye may be just a footnote or an afterthought, and not what the plant thinks is important to pass on at all!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 1:24PM
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Very funny Paul! Capricious satay - yum!

Thanks Lisa. That's very interesting, albeit a little disappointing. I suppose we just try these things and live in hope. As "they" say - nothing ventured, nothing gained.

K :)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 5:08PM
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awww the poor goat has kept the grass off the area around the greenhouse...don't cook him...with a hair cut he would a real cutie

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 6:23PM
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