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Re: Bromeliad....Guzmania

This could be what you have too, Pam.  Guzmanias are the type of  bromeliad 
most seen in florists, and other retailers.  These, in many  people's opinion, 
are one of the harder for a beginner to grow....however don't  be discouraged. 
 It is a high altitude plant, probably why most  of us have problems...but 
this makes it a good indoor  plant tolerating less light than most Bromeliads.  
In  nature it grows in wetter, shadier, cooler mountainous areas of the  
Leaves are usually upward growing shiny, smooth, green (sometimes  variegated 
or such) without spines, forming a tank in the center.  The  inflourescence 
(bloom) will emerge from the center of this cup and be either a  rounded head 
or a spray of colored foliage like a fountain.  
The inflourescence lasts a long time, several weeks, to even  months....which 
is why it is used by florists a lot in their flower  arrangements.  Let the 
bloom die (dry)  totally back before  cutting.  Cool thing too, a lot of folks 
will keep this dried  inflourescense and spray paint it and use it in dried 
arrangements.  The  drawback of having the bloom last so long is that once you 
cut off it off,  the Guzmania really isn't that attractive for some time.  This 
is  when most people discard the plant, thinking it is dead.  Just keep it  
though, and it will produce more plants.  SOme Guzmanias grow  them out of the 
inside of the original plant....different than other  bromeliads that will 
shoot out new pups from the sides.  Just cut off the  dead leaves as they die 
back totally....eventually you'll be left with a nice  clump, each new plant will 
eventually bloom and produce more pups.  
All bromeliads need good air circulation.  Care of this type  of the Guzmania 
depends on whom you talk to, I have found.  Some  say you definitely do not 
put water in the tank.  Others say, put  both, in pot and tank....and others 
say pot only.  Hm...what I've found is  that you definitely do not water any 
part that is colored.....the bloom.   If you water the tank, put water in the 
areas of the leaves, not the very  center of the plant.  The excess water will 
then run down into the soil.  This keeps me from overwatering, I found....and it 
always keeps the plant  hydrated by having some water reserved in the leaves. 
 I rot mine if I  water the soil.....so I guess you will just have to see 
what works for  you.  Don't let the soil stay wet, but don't let it dry out too  
much inbetween...so as long as there is moisture in the leaf, I  guess.   Some 
people say do not use city water, hard water on  Bromeliads of any kind.  I 
use rain or whatever I have.  I suppose it  depends on your type of water...if 
it is extreme one way or the other...use  distilled or rain water. ( I've 
personally never used distilled water on  anything.)  One easy way to judge if 
your plants are getting enough  water......if the leaves are firm, they are well 
hydrated...if they are curling  at the ends and don't feel firm, they are not. 
 Just don't over water  either.  I'm sorry...sounds difficult, but just keep 
water in the leaf part  and it should be fine.  One thing that people tend to 
agree with is that  Guzmanias need more fertilizer than any other 
Bromeliad......once a month or  every second month with a balanced diluted fert. (some say 
reduced  phosphorus, center number like 20-10-20).  I don't fertilize mine, 
but that  is just because I'm lazy and don't think about it.
Hope this helps...
zone 9
Texas Gulf Coast
In a message dated 5/16/2005 11:02:20 PM Central Standard Time,  
gardenchat-owner@hort.net writes:

I just  purchased a bromeliad..   Guzmanias...    How long are  they in 
Bloom??   There  is  a baby already!  I  will print out this information also!

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