New Grower Needs Help.....

alameda/zone 8May 26, 2011

My daughter in law received a bromeliad - dont know the name but strap leaf, green with pink, most likely a common florist type. She has taken very good care of it - I told her it would probably make pups....but she hasnt seen any yet and gave it to me to repot. I really have no idea what to do from here and would appreciate some help. I told her I thought the mother plant would die but pups would appear - they have not. So am at a loss as to what to do now....could anyone give me any advice? Thanks.....

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Has your plant flowered yet? Most throw pups after they flower. Can you post a picture of the plant.
As it is growing ok I would just keep looking after it as you are.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 5:10AM
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Hi alameda,

My advice to you would be to go to ""; select "Bromeliad Information" from the index on the left of the home page.

From the "Bromeliad Information" page, select "Culture" and that should tell you everything you need to know.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 4:45PM
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Having never been much of a green fingers I have single handedly managed to almost kill my Tillandsia. They were being sold for cheap in the supermarket whilst in bloom and I couldn't resist. I got it home, watered it once a week (as the instructions told me too), it was also winter time and it was receiving very little sunlight. The flower went green, then grey then droopy. At that point I didn't know it was a flower! I asked a local florist and they told me that it would be fine and the flower would drop off, which it did. I then took it out of it's original pot to find that the poor thing was drowning to death!! It had been sitting in about 2inches of water. I took it out and let the roots dry out. I have now repotted it, though I'm worried that the soil in which I have replanted it in may be too rich. Would it be ok to repot it? With some orchid soil?

I'm clearly not very good at these things, but my guilt of neglect now makes me want to do the best for my plant. Some of the leaves have gone very brown and crispy, is it ok to chop these at the unhealthy bit? And what can I expect from my plant now?

Please help a total amateur! (thanks)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 5:12AM
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Hi sillygirl,

Firstly let me say I am not a Tillandsia grower, but your case gets back to basics. I know that all bromeliads (and Tillandsias are bromeliads) hate "wet feet".

As the majority of bromeliads are epiphytic (they grow on trees), they like good air movement around their roots. This is easy if the plants are mounted but with plants that are in pots, the best way to provide air around the roots is to grow them in an open well draining mix which will allow water flow to through freely and not lie in the bottom of the pot and stagnate.

I was once told by a nurseryman that more plants are killed by overwatering than anything else and if you aren't sure if a plant reuires watering or not, then leave it for another day or two before you water it.

As there are different types of Tillandsias, namely ones that are always mounted and ones that can be grown in pots, it would help to know what type you have. If it was of the type suitable for mounting and it has been grown in a pot, it is definitely not getting sufficient air around the roots.

As for the instructions to water each week, well I wouldn't do it that often in Australia during winter so certainly not in Scotland. I think your plant is overwatered as well as not draining properly, a sure path to plant death if not rectified.

What I've said is info. for bromeliads in general and not specific for Tillandsias but maybe our resident Tillandsia expert could advise you more specifically about your plant. (Over to you Gonzer.)

Also a picture of your plant would be a big help when giving advice.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 3:43PM
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First thing I do is tell people to throw the instructions for care of your plant away. "Run Forest, run!".
Most of the supermarket ID tags are for the wrong plant anyway and the "care" is too generic.
Sounds like you bought a T. cyanea which is about the only blooming Tillandsia found in the supers. It has a paddle-shaped 'flower' (actually a whole bunch of flowers) and is very popular.
There are mainly two types of tills; grey-leaf and green-leaf. The grey's are mostly rock and tree dwellers and like high light and get their scant water from fog, mists, and occasional rain. They can go weeks without a drop and still look good. Notice I said "good" and not "great"? Proper watering brings out the best even in dry loving plants.
The green-leaf forms are usually much bigger and handle lower light and can hold water in their cups like a "normal" bromeliad. Their potting mix should be very fast draining ie., 50% orchid bark and 50% good potting mix. They do like to semi-dry out between waterings. When your plant gets dry and needs a bath, water it thoroughly then pick the pot up. Feel the weight? This is your indicator of when it needs water. Just pick up the pot and check how light or heavy it feels.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 7:12PM
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Speaking of T. cyanea, I really like the new one with the red flowers. Very impressive.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 11:50PM
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Where???? Is it something out of Corn Bak nursery?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 3:14PM
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Thank you all for your help! I'm not sure how to add a photo, but it is the one with a paddle shaped flower, and I think it may be the green leaf variety. So far it's looking a lot healthier. However, I think I will repot it with a lot more drainage as mentioned. As for watering I've barely touched it, a light spray every couple of days and only when the soil looks really dry a little water in its cup.

Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 3:29AM
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