For a couple of years now I have attended the Southeast Michigan Bromeliad Society show and sale at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. The color and diversity of these plants is not to be believed! I love them all, but am always drawn to the neoregelias [(knee-o-ra-geel-ee-as) my attempt at helping you pronounce the name] . Their colors are so vibrant and I can’t resist.
The nice thing about the event is that there is also a show so you can see what your purchase will look like someday, if you grow it well. It truly makes you want to buy everything!
Here are more pics of the show and sale.
Here is this year’s purchase. Neoregelia ‘Alpine Rose’.
I have purchased a few, but they have yet to attain the size of these well grown beauties. These are obviously grown to perfection. You also have the opportunity to meet the people in the society who are more than willing to share their knowledge and tips for growing these amazing plants.
Most neoregelias are from Brazil, though some are from Colombia and Peru. The genus was named for Eduard August von Regel, the director of the St. Petersburg Botanic Gardens in Russia (1815-1892). They grow either terrestrially or epiphytically and prefer bright, indirect light. If they have too much sun, their color may fade and if they have too little sun, the color will certainly fade, so give them nice bright indirect light for the best color. The flowers are small, bloom down inside the cup, and are usually blue or blue and white. Most of them grown as houseplants, are grown in a container. The soil doesn’t have to be watered directly. The cup or vase of the plant needs to be kept filled with water. When you water, fill the cup to overflowing and that water will run down into the soil area. Change the water every week to keep it fresh. In their natural habitat, debris falls in the cup, decomposes, and provides the plant with nutrients. As a houseplant, it would like a weak fertilizer applied to the soil occasionally. Too much fertilizer will not give the plant its best color so make sure you don’t over fertilize. Use a cactus fertilizer as it is usually low in nitrogen, which is best for the neoregelias. After blooming, the mother plant will start to deteriorate, but at the same time, will send out babies around the base, which are called pups. Eventually the mother will die and the pups will grow and can be separated and grown individually.
After leaving the show, I toured the conservatory at the gardens and saw this beauty! It made me want to go back and buy more. Tillandsias or air plants are definitely the most popular member of the bromeliad family, but don’t overlook the beautiful neoregelias.