What's wrong with my Bromeliad?

gardengeek63April 6, 2013

Help! Can someone help me identify what's wrong with my Brom? It has small yellow spots all over and some of the spots have little black specks on them. Is it a bug or disease and how can I correct it?

I purchased this large plant at an estate sale last summer for $5. I don't know how many plants are jammed into the pot. I can't count that high... No really, they're growing on top of each other and I can't see them all. Maybe that's contributing to whatever ails it. I'm going to break it down soon, but thought I should try to get it healthy first.

I'll post a pic of the entire plant as a follow-up posting.

Thanks for your help!

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Here's a picture of the entire plant. It looks like there are two types of broms in the pot. One has long leaves and one has shorter leaves. Both have solid green leaves.

How would you recommend dividing it up? It seems like such a daunting task. Until recently the plant seemed happy so I was just going to leave well enough alone. What do you think? I really don't know anything about Bromeliads...

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Your brom has what we call fly speck. You need to spray with a stystemic spray. Any nursery near you should be able to help.
You can leave your brom as a clump or can divide it.
Dig the hole clump up and just cut the plants off with secatures or a sharp knife. Replant the amount you require. This would be a good time to spray them.
The fly speck will stay on the plant but once it is dead it is easy to scrape off with your thumb nail.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 6:25AM
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Thank you for the answer sunshine_qld. I've never heard of fly speck so what type of systemic spray should I look for? Will any broad spectrum insecticide do?

Thanks again for your help :-)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:51AM
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Not sure of the brands you have over there. Any good nursery should help.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:07PM
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Hi everyone.

I would just like to add to what sunshine_qld said, and that is that "fly speck" is a type of scale; i.e a living sap sucking insect.

Here in Australia I use a systemic insecticide called "Confidor" the active ingredient in it is called Imidacloprid. I know Imidacloprid is used in America but it may be under another name, ask a reputable nursery.

As prevention is better than cure, the other important thing you need to be aware of is that over crowding of plants and prevention of good air circulation are the fastest ways of spreading this insect and a sure way of finishing up with an epidemic in extreme cases.

Use the link below and scroll down to the "Illawarra Bromeliad Society Inc.Club News 04/08", there is an article which tells you all about this pest.


All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:41PM
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Nev, Thanks for the article. I guess I should have divided this up last year when I purchased it and I might have been able to avoid all this.

I went to the nursery yesterday (prior to your reply) and asked them about flyspeck scale and they looked at me like I was from outer space! They sold me a bottle of Earth-tone insecticidal soap spray and sent me on my way. I sprayed the entire plant when I got home and was planning on spraying again when I divide the plant this weekend (to get better coverage). The bottle is in the shed so I don't know what the active ingredient is, but I will follow-up on your suggestion.

I've never really bothered too much with bromeliads, but I would like to make a bed of them so I need to start learning something about them.

So again, thanks for your guidance!

Take care,

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:03AM
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Annette becareful with insecticidal soaps. DON'T put the plant in direct sunlight. Cover it with shade if in a flower bed until you wash it all off. It can cook your plants leaves

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:03AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Insecticidal soap is not much help after the scale forms its shell. It is only of use when scale is in the crawler stage. A systemic, as mentioned above, is much more effective.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 6:07PM
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That makes sense. Since you're in the U.S., do you have any suggestions of a good systemic that's safe for bromeliads?


    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:05PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Sorry, no suggestions. My broms are all in pots and I've not had the need for systemics. You might search on Imidacloprid and bromeliad and see what comes up.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 5:40PM
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Merit granuales works great

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 6:08PM
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