BASIC CULTURAL INFORMATION FOR NEOREGELIA BROMELIADS

 

This genus of more than 100 species is most easily recognized by the absence of a conspicuous flower spike. The flowers barely rise above the water in the central cup. The colorful foliage gives the plants their great appeal. Vivid, striking colors and mottled, striped, spotted or banded leaves are just some of the surprises Neoregelias have in store for the admirer.

 

LIGHT: If kept indoors, Neos. must have very bright light. Outdoors, 30% to 65% shade is recommended for sunny climates. If variegated, give them more shade.

TEMPERATURE: Fairly hardy, but must be protected from frost or freeze. High temperatures will not harm plants, but color of foliage fades when nights are hot.

WATER: Flush central reservoirs of bromeliads at least once a week. Avoid hard water; it can cause spotting of the leaves. Collected rainwater is beneficial.

AIR: All bromeliads like good air circulation. If a bromeliad is placed in an unshaded window, it will likely burn because there is no air circulation to dissipate the heat.

FEEDING: Fertilize young, newly potted plants for the first several months after separation from the mother plant (during the summer and fall) to produce good size. To keep compact and colorful, withhold fertilizer as plant matures. The important rule is not to fertilize heavily as the plants near maturity. Use a dilute solution (1/4 strength) of a high quality water-soluble fertilizer and drench the potting medium, foliage and central reservoirs with it. There are several formulation of DYNA-GRO fertilizer that we highly recommend. Neoregelias can also be fed by mixing a slow-release fertilizer into the potting medium. Beware of copper and boron that are toxic to bromeliads. Your fertilizer should have no more than trace amounts of these minerals.

PROPAGATION: In most bromeliad species, the plant you see blooming now will not bloom again, but begins a reproductive cycle that should produce multiple plants that should mature within approximately one growing season. The 'pups' will draw nourishment from the mother as she gradually declines. When the 'pup' is one-third the parent's size or when it begins to get crowded in the pot, it can be removed by gently twisting orcutting it away from the mother. Be sure to leave enough stem to anchor it when it is potted. Most Neos. grow best as single plants to allow their beautiful symmetry to be appreciated. Those that 'pup' on stems or stolons and form colonies can be grown in baskets where they can cascade. (Example: Neo. Fireball.)

POTTING: Don't use pots larger than necessary; most Neos. grow nicely in 4" to

6" pots. Any potting mix is acceptable as long as it is acidic and holds moisture yet drains quickly. It should also be sufficiently firm to hold the plant steady.