BROMELIADS IN THE GARDEN Many Bromeliads, especially nowadays with global temperatures rising will do well outdoors in many European climates, some species are more cold tolerant than others. Outdoors temperatures down to 5ºc and even lower are tolerated by some species for short periods They do best when planted in groups, carefull observation,watering and grooming will keep them looking good throughout the year, making a lush tropical display.
OVER WINTERING BROMELIADS Although some species of Bromeliad are considered frost tolerant, generally speaking tender Bromeliads outdoors would be best provided with a well lit protected position in a greenhouse or conservatory during a cold Winter. Bromeliads are very tolerant to being moved around and don't object to being uprooted. Maintaining a night time temperature of around 7c to 15c + and some humidity and warmth during the Winter months certainly keeps them more active. Careful observation, less water, some misting will all help. They are generous and forgiving plants, the pups produced as the mother plant flowers and slows down are always healthy and strong, in this respect the amount of pups varies from species to species (1-2 to10+) These offset pups can be removed when they reach a third to half the size of the mother plant, removing them carefully and as close to the stem as possible with a sharp knife or small bonsai type saw. The pups should be left for a few days before planting. I use a loose mix of medium 1-3cm crushed pine bark, dark humus, some peat moss and a little loam, any similar mix will do. Pups should never be planted too deep or overwatered when young, they will soon form their own roots and will grow fast when well cared for. Bromeliads are still being discovered throughout Latin America, with well over two thousand described, not including many hybrids and some intersting intergenerics Unfortuately many are hard to obtain making for very keen collectors!
LANDSCAPING WITH BROMELIADS. Creative landscaping with Bromeliads and allied species in your Exotic garden is a rewarding experience and can be very presentable even on a small scale giving a true jungle feel . Grouping plants together taking into consideration height, rosette and leaf colours and general form. the careful use of rotting wood trunks as a host for Tillandsias and other stoloniferous species of Bromeliad and/or the placement of rocks add much to the overall effect. If you have a good size tree available, plants can be mounted epiphytically. Most can tolerate a certain amount of shade, shade types being in the majority. and with occasional attention and removal of dead leaves they will soon reward you with their facinating, colourfull and highly exotic varied blooms.
GROOMING AND PRESENTATION Caring for your Bromeliads to keep them at their very best is just a question of the occasional removal of any lower dead leaves, in some species these are detached with ease, in others it can take quite a tug, in these cases it is always best to cut them off low with a sharp blade, it is also a good idea to keep the central tank free of debris. If grown in larger containers they make a very showy display by grouping three or more of the same species.
(All photos included in this review are from my garden in Madeira except for "Medalion" lower right)
(more guides and additions to the above guide will be forthcoming)