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Not an orchid, but maybe someone can help me!

This is a discussion on Not an orchid, but maybe someone can help me! within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I have an old bromeliad noid that I sadly have not been caring for well ...

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  1. #1
    Carolla's Avatar
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    Default Not an orchid, but maybe someone can help me!

    I have an old bromeliad noid that I sadly have not been caring for well enough. Most of the plant has died, but I have three starts from it - healthy growths, but without roots. Mostly I just didn't water it enough, it was in the wrong place. Its one of the smaller ones (I'll try to get pictures later), not a tiny one, about a foot tall and the growths are narrow, about 2" across. It's bluish. It's a tough old thing, I've had it for years and my grandmother had it for at least 50 years before me!

    I'd like ideas on how to restart my plant and what to plant it in. I was surprised at the amount of root growth, it needed repotting years ago, I just forgot it until it was in terrible shape. I was growing it in potting soil, which seemed to work ok, it was solidly full of roots in a 6" plastic pot. I suspect I can just put the starts in potting soil again, give them something to hold them in place while I water the tops, until the roots grow, but am interested in any other ideas.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    The babies are called pups. If you google "Guide to Bromeliad Pups" you should get the info you are looking for.

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    mmosley is offline Junior Member
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    I have quite a few bromeliads; I may be of some help. I know it's a NOID, but what genus of brom is it? If it's a neoregelia or aechmea, their care is similar. How big are the pups in comparison to the mother plant? A pic would help. Before you do anything, don't remove its pups. I'm already thinking the best thing to do is to simply mist them (especially the underside of their leaves where their trichomes are located) every other day while attached to the mother, misting the inner cup only once a week. Are they being grown indoors or in a nice, warm, humid greenhouse?

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    The type of bromeliad can make a difference. While the terrestrial species do need a media, most of the epiphytic types do not. In epiphytic broms, the roots serve little purpose beyond anchoring the plant to the surface it is growing on. As such, media is often not required at all. A photo would help.

    Keep in mind that if the mother plant had previously bloomed, its death was inevitable. It is simply the normal life cycle. The mother plant's demise may happen quickly once blooming is finished or it can take a couple years. Before its death, the plant will usually form one or more pups.

  5. #5
    Carolla's Avatar
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    The mother plant and all the previous pups died from a severe case of neglect and underwatering. It has flowered before and I am famliar with the death of the mother and growing on the pups (didn't know what they were called though), this time I lost more than just the mothers.

    When I went to do a little clean up, I discovered the condition of the plant - it fell apart in my hands, I only have the three pups, which are the size of the adult plant. I no very little about bromeliads and have no idea about what genus it is, sorry. I tried to find some pictures on the 'net this morning, but I only found one flower like it's flower and that didn't show a plant. The flower is an arching stem with smaller individual flowers dangling out of it. I will google about Bromeliad pups, thanks.

    ---------- Post Merged at 11:46 AM ----------

    I was looking at the pictures of various genera and think it may be a Vriesea - at least that seems the closest of any that I've found so far. I've also found some good advice on how to get the pups started, should work out fine. I appreciate the help in getting me started.

    Also, fortunately, my son and his wife have a good healthy start of this plant, if I lose mine I can get a replacement.

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    mmosley is offline Junior Member
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    Characteristic arching stems with smaller flowers dangling from it? Sounds like it may be Billbergia nutans "Queen's Tears." Billbergia care is similar to neoregelia and aechmea care. Epiphytic bromeliads are quite different from epiphytic orchids, such as phalaenopsis. Their roots mostly serve to anchor them to trees, with very little uptake of water and nutrients. A bromeliad's cup is as important as an orchid's roots. Unlike a phalaenopsis, which can be repotted anytime of the year, epiphytic bromeliads do far better with repotting during the summer months with warmer temps and higher humidity. The reason is simple. Most epiphytic bromeliads are from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. It has a wet and dry season. During dry season, an epiphytic bromeliad's metabolism and growth decrease in order to preserve its energy for growth during the upcoming wet season and, ultimately, to produce pups. It's a time of rest.

  7. #7
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    You may well be right! I don't remember the pink bract being quite so large and obvious when it blooms and the leaves seem more gray, but the flowers sure look right otherwise and it does have a pink bract. My memory might be off on the flower. Thanks, it's nice to have a name for my old friend. Now I will have to find a way to get the pups to grow and make me another specimen plant... Sounds like I'll be putting them in a pot with support and watering the cup until they grow some roots, probably in the spring. For now they are just sitting in a tall empty vase to keep them upright until I figure out exactly what to pot them into (though the mother plant has always done just fine in my regular potting soil, watered lightly). I suspect they are very tough, this one must be at least 60 years old. It's a family heirloom! My son's family makes generation #4 to keep starts of it.

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    mmosley is offline Junior Member
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    That's a special bromeliad, whatever kind it may be! It must be happy (: Broms are my favorite plants. Repotting isn't even necessary. If one chooses to do so, they tolerate a variety of well-draining soils; their fertilizer is leaf and animal matter, not liquid fertilizers given in careful doses; their thorny leaves keep away all kinds of hungry critters; not to mention, they come in a plethora of colors! The ones I have planted around my bird of paradise resemble a coral reef in terms of color. I love orchids, but broms are my first passion (:
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  9. #9
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    I can tell. I haven't had great luck with most of the bromeliads I've tried, but this one is an old trooper! I sent the name to my DIL and she said, yes, that is the right one. Hers has bloomed more recently than mine, she takes great care of it. I'll get this one set up when I get my potting soil thawed out in a day or two - its stored in the garage and it was 3 degrees when I got up this morning, it's a balmy 12 degrees atm. If I put the pups under the lights with the Phals, they should be where I'll monitor them a lot more easily. I talk to that group pretty much every day, particularly since I have a few spikes coming up to encourage!

  10. #10
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    Again, you may be able to skip soil entirely. My Vriesea splendens ( I realize yours may be a Billbergia ) is in a pot of glass marbles -- no soil of any kind -- and has been for years. When watering, I just make sure to get water in the leaf axils and the center "cup". When the water in the cup is almost completely gone, I give it some more. I use the same method with most of my other brom-type plants (mainly Tillandsia). I think the only members of the brom family I have planted in some sort of media are the Cryptanthus .... but then members of that genus are all terrestrials.


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