Friday, August 12, 2016

Bromeliads Galore

As mentioned in my last post, I attended a bromeliad show and sale last weekend.  It was held at Rainforest Flora, a tropical plants nursery in Torrance.  When I lived nearby I used to pop in there periodically, usually to buy gifts, but I haven't been by often since we moved out of the area 5 years ago.  I put the event on my calendar after Denise of A Growing Obsession posted about it but I still dragged my feet about the 30 minute drive and delayed my visit until mid-afternoon on Sunday, just a couple of hours before the show was scheduled to end.

Upon arrival, I popped into the first greenhouse which serves as Rainforest Flora's retail space to have a quick look around.

The official greeter was lying down on the job

The centerpiece of the greenhouse is a large water feature

The "rock" walls (they may be cement) are festooned with bromeliads  of various kinds and surrounded by tropical plants

Here's another hanging Tillandsia creation akin to those shown in my prior post


I spent some time checking out the wide variety of Tillandsias offered for sale.

Trays containing different varieties of Tillandsias were arrayed all along the walls throughout the greenhouse space


Here are a few examples:

Top row, left to right: Tillandsia brachycaulos, T. bulbosa 'Gigante', and T. capitata 'Marron'
Middle row: T. elongata, T. 'Issac Jouges', and T. segunda
Bottom row: T. tricolor, T. 'Upper Class', and T. xerographica


You can view the Tillandsia growing area from the retail area.

I used to think the plants on the lower level were also being grown for sale but now I wonder if they aren't used to heighten the humidity around the Tillandsias above


Next I headed toward the back of the property to the greenhouse housing the South Bay Bromeliad Associates' show and sale, passing an outdoor display of bromeliads and other tropical plants.

There was even an agave in the mix, with a huge bloom spike yet


As the back greenhouse space clearly serves as a shipping and receiving area, it wasn't a fancy setting for a show but the plant specimens made up for any omissions there.

The plants were organized by genus.  Aechmea is perhaps the genus that most often comes to mind when people mention bromeliads.

These Billbergia were far more ornamental than the sorry B. nutans I have, which is badly in need of thinning and only impressive when it blooms

I have a tendency to think of Dyckias as succulents, even though I know they're classified as bromeliads.  The 2 here are: D. 'Mary Ellen' and 'Tina Wallace'.

This is Guzmania sanguinea.  I've read that Guzmania is a common form of bromeliad but this is the first time I can recall seeing anything in this genus.

This may be my favorite Neoregelia ever.  It's N. punctitissima.

This is a hybrid Tillandsia: T. fasciculata x flabellata

Even Vriesea that lack fancy foliage often produce very fancy flowers.  This is V. 'Orange Gusher'.

And this was my very favorite at the show: x Neophytum 'Galactic Warrior'


After making the rounds of the show plants, I checked out the plants offered for sale by SBBA.  That's when the repercussions of my decision to delay my visit until Sunday afternoon became evident.  There were a lot of bare spaces that I'm guessing were filled with plants on Saturday when the show and sale opened.

I hadn't really planned on buying anything (please stop laughing!) but the show had whetted my appetite.  Bromeliads are pricey plants and although one woman commented that what was offered was a "steal," I still deliberated.  Here's a sample of what was available:

Clockwise from the upper left: A Vriesea I can't identify, Aechmea fantasia, Neoregelia 'Royal Burgundy', Orthophytum sp., a variety of Tillandsia mounted on driftwood, and V. hieroglyphica


But my absolute favorite was this one:

I stopped short when I saw this it.  It's Aechmea blanchetiana 'Orange'


However, my heart stopped when I saw the price tag.  It was just too pricey for me to justify but I did leave with 3 other plants.  I'd intended to show them here but, as this is already a long post, I'll cover my burgeoning bromeliad collection in next week's Foliage Follow-up post instead.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

18 comments:

  1. All I will say is this: I'm glad I can't keep bromeliads outside in the winter (with the exception of dyckias, puyas and hechtias), because I do NOT need another obsession. Otherwise there would be no stopping me.

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    1. The fact that I haven't had much success planting these in the ground is all that keeps me from veering toward crazy with these plants, Gerhard. Unfortunately (for my pocketbook), I've discovered that they do very well under the Magnolia tree in my front garden, where they get shade and regular watering courtesy of the automated irrigation system.

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  2. Well, I wish I had Gerhard's common sense, for I find I have a growing obsession (to steal a phrase) for bromeliads, especially the cylindrical ones like Billbergia. I have a few bromeliads and quite a few Tillandsia, and have to either leave them indoors, or schlep them in and out seasonally.
    Aechmea blanchetiana 'Orange' (and yellow and burgundy, too) has been high on my list for over a year, but you are right: so pricey. Thanks for showing highlights of your visit. So many gorgeous things. My only consolation is knowing that a lot of the character of these guys is imparted by expert growers in optimum conditions (or at least that is what I tell myself!).

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    1. You need to get yourself a little vacation place in Hawaii, Tim! ;)

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  3. It's amazing how often a price tag will stop you in your tracks. That water feature is amazing. There were some beauties though and most I have never seen. Love that Neophytum. I have the Aechmaea, bought at the grocery store. It lasted for months and still looks good outside. I wonder if it will ever flower again.

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    1. Bringing the plants into flower seems to be a skill of sorts. I conducted an on-line search on one of the 3 I picked up last Sunday only to learn that it very seldom blooms but, after seeing a rare photo of the bloom in question (so dark a purple it was almost black), I now feel I have a challenge to overcome.

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  4. What a grand display! I don't have an obsession but have found that just a few tend to grow and multiply and need more space.

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  5. Why are you also joining the Bromeliad conspiracy to push me into more more more??!! Augh.

    Beauties, I can't wait to see what you took home (and I am glad you did take something home...I would have been worried about you otherwise).

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    1. Bromeliads do seem to be popping up in posts all over but methinks you are also an integral part of that particular conspiracy. As to my own purchases, I guess the plant addiction has become a part of my identity now - even my husband is surprised on the rare occasions I come home from a nursery or garden center empty-handed.

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  6. These are amazing. Bromeliads look like they would need a lot of water.

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    1. Their requirements vary, Susie, but many are surprisingly drought tolerant. Some, like the Tillandsias (air plants) take moisture from the air but, in dry climates like mine, they may need to be dunked in water once a week. Aechmeas and Vrieseas are generally watered by filling their cups with water rather than by watering the soil. The most controversial issue with them here seems to be whether or not those water-filled cups provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes. (I empty the cups fairly often if the plant don't absorb the water I provide them.)

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  7. A-ha! So that's what my younger son was doing earlier. He was practicing for a job as an official greeter.

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    1. In the case of a garden center greeter, cuteness counts for a lot, which isn't something every teenage boy can pull off, Bun.

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  8. I bought one of those enormous orange Aechmea blanchettiana two years ago from Rare Plant Research in the Portland area, and mine has had a hard time holding onto its orange color. Right now it's more like burnt yellow. As in yellow with sunburnt black spots. So maybe you did the right thing leaving it behind. Keeping it looking that good has been tricky. This was a really fun post, and I bet it was fun being there! I'm working on my Bromeliads right now (well, off and on the last few days). That's a fabulous specimen of N. punctissima.

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    1. I've been wondering how sun sensitive these bromeliads are, Alison. Thus far, all of mine spend the majority of their time in the shade. Even my agaves are prone to sunburn here.

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  9. It shows you where my head is at these days that I went straight to the broms for sale and missed the show benches! Thanks for getting photos of those. And even tho it's Torrance and on the coast, I was amazed to see Rainforest's display garden in full sun, for both agaves and bromeliads!

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    1. I used to live less than 2 miles from Rainforest. The area's a good 10 degrees cooler on average than it is in my current location (although I suspect your place is cooler than ours too). Still, I was also surprised by the sun exposure of the outdoor specimens. My guess is that not all varieties are equally tolerant. My small collection receives shade during the hottest part of the day.

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