Another year had flown by with its highs & lows & challenges. True continues to enjoy the Bromeliad Judges Schools run very efficiently by Narelle Aizlewood in Brisbane. The next one is in fact tomorrow. Bob is still immersed in his foliage vriesea hybridising & a few plants are turning out ok.
The main topic for this newsletter is the genus Nidularium. However first there are a few short notes.
POTTING MIX: We are now adding coal ash as a source of silicon (see Newsletter No 15). So the basics of our mix are now - Pine bark 60%, coco chips 20%, coco peat 10% & coal ash 10%.
ANANUS 'Lava Burst': We brought this brom back from David Fell in Hawaii & was told it was called 'Lava Flow'. However David has now registered this same bromeliad as 'Lava Burst'. So we have changed the name accordingly. Whoever has bought this plant from us will need to do the same.
WAVELL HEIGHTS EXTRAVAGANZA: The next show is being held on Saturday 28th February 2015 (8-3) & Sunday 1st March (9-2) at the Wavell Heights Community Hall, 175 Edinburgh Castle Road, Wavell Heights, Brisbane. Lots of broms for sale for the collector & the gardener. Off street parking & refreshments available. Look forward to seeing those of you who can attend.
EXPLANATION OF BROMELIAD TERMS: We are going to include some meanings in each newsletter. It's quite interesting to know why a bromeliad has a particular name or description. Will only list the more common terms.
albo-marginate: a form of variegation where the edge of the leaf is white
alpestris: growing in mountains; alpine
amoena: beautiful; charming; pleasing
ampullacea: flask or bottle shaped
aquilega: resembling an eagle; aquiline
arvensis: pertaining to cultivated fields
aurantiacum: orange coloured
biflora: two flowered
bromeliifolia: with leaves like those of the genus
capitata: formed like a head; aggregated into a very dense/compact cluster
capitate: forming a rounded head
carcharodon: with shark like teeth
cordate: heart shaped
crypt-, crypto-: hidden; covered; concealed
These beautiful bromeliads are often overlooked by collectors which is a pity because they are attractive, varied & wonderful for landscaping in shady conditions.
The genus Nidularium belongs to the sub-family Bromelioideae & was named in 1854 by Charles-Antoine Lemaire, a French botanist. The name is taken from the Latin 'nidus' meaning 'nest'.
This is a small genus consisting of around 45 currently recognised species, all native to Eastern Brazil where they grow on the ground or on lower limbs of trees in shadowy, humid rainforests. There are around 54 registered hybrids.
Nidularium usually have a flat to semi-erect rosette with a tank in the plant's centre which stores a limited amount of water. They are compact, medium to large plants with mostly shiny, soft foliage & fine spines. They often have fragile, very soft leaves that are easily damaged by wind, insects or other broms. They vary in colour from lime green to dark purple & can be spotted, striped (longitudinal) or plain green.
A rosette of shortened inner leaves forms before flowering. The inflorescence has large, colourful primary bracts which often rise only slightly above the central leaves (eg Nidularium longiflorum). However the stem can be taller placing it well above the central foliage (eg Nidularium procerum). The small three-petaled flowers nestle in the bracts & are white, red, purple, blue, yellow or rose depending on the species.
Temperature: They are tropical plants whose natural habitat is humid rain forests in Brazil. They prefer temperatures in the range of 12 degrees C to 30 degrees C & need protection in winter, particularly from frosts. They also need good air circulation so don't crowd them in your shade house.
Light: They will tolerate the lowest light conditions of all bromeliads, but don't put them in too dark a spot because the leaves will become strappy. During summer most like to be grown under 90% shadecloth, & 70% for the rest of the year. They adapt well to indoors as long as they get bright indirect light.
Fertiliser: Use a controlled release fertiliser that is higher in potassium for those with coloured leaved (eg Nidularium 'Chantrieri') & a more balanced nitrogen & potassium for those with green leaves. We also use a foliar fertiliser fortnightly that is a little higher in potassium. As with all information re fertiliser, look at the results & adjust as necessary.
Water: Keep the potting mix moist but not soggy. As a guide water thoroughly 2-3 x week in summer & less often in winter. Too much water can rot the plants.
Bob & True Grant