The herbaceous evergreen epiphyte Billbergia is a member of the Bromeliad family. It is very widespread in Brazil, but can also be found in Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia and other countries of Central and South America. The genus was named by Thunberg in 1821 after Gustav Bilberg, a Swedish zoologist, jurist and botanist. This genus includes more than 60 species, some of which are very popular with florists because such a plant is undemanding in care and unpretentious.
Properties of bromelia
The indoor bromelia is a herbaceous plant that is a perennial.
The root system of the shrubs is very well developed, and it holds the plant securely in the substrate. Most often its stem is shortened. Very beautiful leathery mottled often spiky pale green leaf plates form a funnel. The inflorescence, which grows at the tip of a long flower stalk in bright red or deep yellow, is either cotyledonous, cephalic, spike-like or paniculate in shape. The inflorescence looks very showy because of its large bracts.
When the bush is finished flowering, it produces capsules or juicy berries, which in some species grow into a receptacle. Today, there are about 35 different species of bromeliads cultivated by growers.
Home care for bromeliads
Bromeliads that are grown on a windowsill need special conditions. Such a plant reacts extremely negatively to stagnant air, and it also needs plenty of sunlight, but it must necessarily be diffused. The room in which the flower is growing, airing systematically and do it often enough, but be sure to protect the bush from draughts, and do not put it close to the air conditioner or fan.
If it receives direct rays of the sun, he should be protected from them at noon. The fact that the scorching sunlight can cause burns on the surface of the leaves. If possible, then put the flower on the window of eastern orientation. In winter time, after the duration of the light day will be significantly reduced, the shrub should be provided with artificial additional light, directing the source of light to the ceiling, not the flower itself.
Summer such a plant feels best at 20 to 25 degrees, and in winter - from 15 to 18 degrees.
Do not allow the temperature in the room to drop below 12 degrees, but also ensure that the bromeliad is not kept at a critically low temperature for a long time.
How to water
When growing this flower in room conditions, it should be watered very often, and in a hot and dry period it should be done every day. Experts advise, pour water during watering into the funnel formed by the leaf plates of the flower, because it is the leaves that absorb most of the nutrients. But watering a flower with this method is quite difficult, so first you will have to learn. If you have no experience in this matter, just pour water into the soil mixture in the pot.
Water when the top layer of the potting soil dries out a little and do not let the liquid stagnate in the substrate. However, there must be water in the pan all the time. In winter, the frequency of watering is reduced to 1 time in 7 days.
This plant needs increased air humidity, while it should not fall below 70 percent. Therefore, the foliage should be systematically and quite often moistened with a sprayer, and an open vessel with water or an aquarium should be placed near the shrub.
You can also use an electric household humidifier or in a tray poured pebbles and pour a little water, and then put the pot on it. For watering and moistening the leaves should take boiled water, which should stand for two days to get out of it all the chlorine. Since the leaves absorb oxygen by means of the foliage, you must be sure to keep them clean, for this at least once every 7 days, gently wipe each leaf plate with a moistened soft cloth or sponge.
To fertilize this crop, a mineral fertilizer solution for flowering indoor plants is used. In spring and summer, bushes are fed regularly 1 time in 15-20 days, in winter the frequency of such procedures is reduced to 1 time in 6 weeks.
The nutrient solution is poured directly into the substrate or you can use the foliar feeding method, when this mixture is applied to the leaves of the plant.
The shrub usually flowers in the summertime. To speed up the flowering time, you can do some tricks such as putting some apples next to the pot and then covering both them and the plant in a plastic bag that you have to take out after 1.5 weeks. These fruits secrete ethylene which stimulates the bush to flower.
The flowers of a bromeliad have no decorative value, but its bractal leaves are very showy and beautiful. The duration of flowering depends directly on the species and can last several weeks or several months. When the bush blooms, carefully cut the arrow off only after it has completely dried up. The reason is that the flowered rosette will not be able to bloom again and will die anyway, but the offspring will be left behind and with proper care can become normal adults later on.
Transplant such a flower only when necessary after the root system becomes very tight in the pot and it will stick out or hang down out of holes designed for drainage.
On average, the shrub is transplanted once every 2 or 3 years, and this procedure is recommended at the beginning of intensive growth. A wooden or ceramic container is used to grow the bromeliad. During transplanting, take a new pot, which in cross-section will be larger than the old one by 20-30 mm.
Before transplanting, a good drainage layer should be made at the bottom of the new pot, then a light moist soil is poured into it with good water and air permeability, and its composition must include peat and coarse sand, in the middle you should make a hole and fill it with water. Take the bush out of the old container and carefully free its root system from the old soil mixture.
After that, the roots are placed in the pre-prepared hole, which is then filled with soil mixture. Remember to compact the surface of the substrate well around the bush.
Reproducing such a flower can be done at the end of the flowering period from February to April. At the base of the bush, after the blooms are finished, kicks (sprouts) begin to grow. Wait 8-12 weeks, during this time they should be growing and gaining strength, after which you can separate them with a very sharp, presterilized knife and the cut areas should be treated with pounded charcoal.
Leave them to dry out in the open air for a while. Since the separated offshoots have their own well-developed roots, they can be immediately planted in containers filled with moistened substrate consisting of sand and peat. For rooting, the seedlings will need a temperature of about 20 degrees. The first flowering of these bushes can be seen after a year and a half to two years.
Bromelia pests and diseases
Diseases of bromelia and their treatment
Very rarely bromelia is affected by fungal diseases such as rust and powdery mildew.
To cure a diseased plant, spray it and the potting soil several times with a fungicide solution containing copper. Protect the flower from the direct rays of the sun, because of them on the surface of the leaves can form burns, looking like brown spots, in connection with this at noon time it needs shade, for this window can be curtained light.
If the plant root system is constantly stagnant liquid, the leaves in a bromeliad loses turgor and begins its yellowing, especially if the room is also cool. If the watering is too sparse, and the humidity in the room is very low, then the tips of the leaf plates become brown. This makes it clear that either improper care or unsuitable growing conditions are causing the disease.
Bromelia pests and their control
Many pests can settle on a weakened shrub due to improper care. Most often, it is infested by scabies or mealybugs. The pests should be removed from the flower by hand, after which the leaf plates on both sides should be wiped with a absorbent cotton pad previously moistened in a soap solution. After a while, the bush should be rinsed with clean water, and the surface of the soil mixture in the container should necessarily be covered with film. If pests still remain, the bush should be sprayed with an insecticide solution (Actara, Fitoverm or Actellic).
However, do not allow the chemical to get into the funnel during treatment. An excellent substitute for chemicals in pest control would be tobacco infusion.
Bromelia species and varieties with photos and names
From all species of the genus Bromelia, only Bromelia pinguin is cultivated by florists. This species is native to Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico and Venezuela. Such a plant contains the biologically active enzyme pinguianin.
However, not only the plants belonging to the genus of the same name, but also those belonging to other genera of the Bromeliad family are called bromeliads by florists.
This stemless epiphytic plant can be found in the wild in South Florida, Ecuador, Brazil, West Indies and Colombia. This plant is very popular with florists. Its leathery, strap-shaped leaves form a cup-shaped rosette that collects rainwater or morning dew on shrubs grown in the wild. The inflorescence is on a foliated arrow, and it consists of flowers of no ornamental value, and it also has bractal leaf plates of a rich orange, purple, yellow or red color.
The following species and cultivars of this plant are most popular with florists:
- Gusmania reed. The large bush has a dense rosette, which includes leaf plates of deep green color that are about half a meter long. There are bands of brown on the underside of the plates. The inflorescence is formed on a short peduncle and consists of small white flowers, but it's very difficult to see them because of the orange or red apical leaflets. There are varieties: Tempo and Minor.
- Gusmania Nicaragua. This species has a small bush and grows well at home. The upright, spike-shaped inflorescence consists of lemon-yellow flowers, and the bush is also decorated with scarlet bracts. The compact, tough rosette is made up of 10 to 15 smooth greenish, tongue-like leaflets, about 50 mm long and up to 25 mm wide. They have small scales on the front surface, while the reverse surface is crimson or brown.
Also cultivated in indoor conditions are species such as: gusmania mosaic, tricolor, blood-red, Ostara, unicolored, Donnella-Smith and conifera.
This tropical South American plant. The bright, large inflorescences have a spike or panicle shape. The long succulent and dense leaf plates are gathered into a showy rosette. Vriesia is represented by epiphytes and terrestrial forms.
The following species are most commonly grown in the home:
- Vriesia Sanders. The rosette reaches about 0.6 m across, with a height of up to 0.4 m, it consists of smooth and leathery greenish-gray leaf laminae, often with a purplish tint, which is most clearly visible on the underside of the leaves. The straight or drooping flower stalk at the top has an inflorescence consisting of spike-like tassels, which include yellow flowers and spikes.
- Vriesia shiny, or lovely. This plant can be found in nature in the humid rainforest. The rosette consists of broad-lanceolate leaf plates that are about 0.4 m long, they are mottled and their surface is as if covered with transverse strokes of dark color. The stripes come in both purple and dark green.
At the top of the upright peduncle is a broad, lancet-shaped spike-like inflorescence that consists of yellow florets and carmine-red bracts.
Also cultivated in the room are viresia keeled, royal, pierced, hieroglyphic and giant.
This epiphytic plant is native to Central and South America. The bushes have funnel-shaped rosettes formed by leaf plates with a serrated edge. On a thick and long flower stalk a spectacular inflorescence is formed.
The following species are popular with florists:
- Echmea matte red. The funnel-shaped, dense rosette consists of tongue-shaped leaf plates that reach about half a meter in length, have scales on their surface, and their edges are finely serrated. The front surface of the leaves is greenish, while the underside is pale purple. The inflorescence includes rich red bracts and bluish flowers.
- Echmea sparkling.
The loose rosette consists of strap-shaped leaf plates with a rounded apex and toothed edge, they are about 6 centimeters wide and up to 40 centimeters long. The foliage has a greenish coloring with a bluish patina. An inflorescence is formed at the top of the flower stalk, which consists of deep pink bracts and coral-red flowers with a blue apex.
You can also find Echmea holostebel, Echmea caudate, Echmea striata, Echmea braidedata, Echmea curlybosa, Echmea weilbachii etc. in the home
There are about 500 species in this genus of herbaceous plants.
Under natural conditions they can be found in North and South America. Most species of such a plant are epiphytes, but there are also lithophytes that grow on rocks, as well as terrestrial species. Some species are widely cultivated in the home:
- Tillandsia "Medusa's Head". This species is the most popular; it has a shape that is not quite ordinary. Externally, the bush resembles a bulb with leaf plates closed at the base, which bend aside only in the upper part.
As a rule, the leaf rosette is inverted, the flowers are about 3.2 cm long and the inflorescence is finger-like or linear in shape.
- Tillandsia blue. The leaf plates are curved and narrow, reaching about 0.3 m in length.
The brownish-red base of the leaves is covered with small scales. The dense inflorescence is elliptical, spike-shaped and consists of small purple or blue flowers and pink or lilac bracts.
Also in the room grow Tillandsia Duer, Linden, Sitnikova, silvery, Gardner, violet-colored, etc.
This herbaceous perennial plant is native to Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. The glossy and smooth leaf plates have a broadly linear, strap-shaped form, and are spiky along the edge.
In the middle of the rosette the leaves are often pale mauve or whitish but when the bush is flowering their tips or they turn completely red. A tassel-shaped inflorescence grows from the middle of the rosette. The most popular species:
- Neoregelia Carolina. The funnel-shaped, broad-branched rosette reaches half a meter across and is composed of glossy, rich green, tongue-shaped leaf plates with a large number of spikes on the edge. When the bush blooms, the upper leaf plates of the rosette turn red.
At the base of the rosette a simple inflorescence is formed, which consists of milk-green bracts and light lilac flowers, up to 40 mm long. There are varieties with longitudinal stripes of green, pink or white color on the surface of the leaves.
- Neoregellia tiger. The dense round-shaped rosette consists of tongue-shaped leaf plates with a pointed apex, with brown spines along the edge. The foliage looks very spectacular due to the irregularly shaped brown stripes that are located on its surface, at the base of the plate is covered with small scales.
The multi-flowered simple inflorescence consists of light purple flowers and spatulate asymmetrical bracts of pale red tint near the top.
Other species are cultivated in room conditions: Neoregelia blue, bubbly, scion, bitty flower, beautiful (ornate), gloomy, marbled etc.
Bromelia and their watering method.