Saturday, October 19, 2013

Random plant event: Neoregelia 'Gazpacho'

Hi again.

Efforts to bring the outdoor plants back indoors have kind of stalled; out of about 130-140 that were outside at the peak of summer, I've managed to find spaces for all but about 30-40 of those, mostly Agaves that may or may not have scale. So that's kind of both good and bad. And the scale situation inside the house hasn't really improved either; it's still confined to certain spots, as far as I can tell, but it's hit a few plants that I didn't think were scaleable. So I'm finding plants more depressing than interesting right now. What's ultimately going to have to happen, I'm afraid, is another purge,1 but that will take some working up to. (All the plants that would be easy to throw out already have been.)

So the post isn't a complete bummer (if I'm only going to post once every three days, I should try to make it pleasant enough to show up for), here's a Neoregelia 'Gazpacho' that's surprised me by blooming this month.

I knew it was old enough to bloom -- the parent plant flowered almost five years ago, and its offspring are now larger than the parent was then --

-- but it's been large enough to bloom for at least a year, maybe two, so the only reason I can think of why it would have chosen now is, I repotted it in May, along with the other two of the original plant's offspring. I also gave them a partly-obstructed south window, instead of a pretty wide-open east window, this summer, which may or may not have had something to do with it. (That still wasn't enough to give it full color: had I been able to grow it outside like it would have preferred, it would all have been red with green spots, instead of mostly green with a red-and-green center.)

The original 'Gazpacho' lived for another year and nine months after blooming, and about half to a third of the offsets survived. It would probably have had a higher survival rate if I'd let the offsets get a little larger before giving them their own pot. In any case, all three plants currently have at least one offset already, and the one from this post is going to start pumping them out now that it's bloomed, so I suppose I should brace myself for a Neoregelia population boom in the next year or two.

1 (I can't afford to buy the amount of imidacloprid it would take to dose every plant in the collection, never mind the amount of time and extra effort that would require. And there's no guarantee that, if I did spend the money, time, and energy, it would even be effective.)


Tom said...

My plant move in also stalled. It's amazing how someone can go from an 800 square foot apartment to a 1300 square foot house and have LESS space for houseplants. bah. Might I make a semi-controversial suggestion for the scale (at least for plants you're bringing in from the outside)? I've been using Natria brand multi-insect control spray and it's been fantastic. It's basically just canola oil mixed with a surfactant but I've had amazing luck with it on my plants that I bring in from outside. The only downside is that some plants react negatively to the oil sprays...but thy generally leaf out soon enough anyways. The only plants I've had any real problems with it on are Brugmansia and bamboo. Basically anything with wimpy leaves.

Paul VA said...

One of the Gazpachos that i got from you looks absolutely amazing. Its one of my favorite and best looking plants currently. I had it outside for the summer and its now completely red, all the green leafs have grown out. Although it will most likely green up again over the winter. The other Gazpachos rotted half way through the summer. I have no idea why. Ive never had a bromeliad rot before. It was outside and i came home one day and it was leaning over. The rot happened a couple inches above the soil, which i also thought was odd

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Xerographica said...

I've had far better success with the Bayer Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed granules.

Jane said...

Hey Mr. S.....just wanted to drop in my 2cents about large numbers of houseplants. I live in Rochester, MN so I have similar, but slightly colder conditions than you live in. At one point I had over 100 was the CONSTANT bug infestations that led me to give it up. I found anything over 50 plants was a disaster.....the scale got all my orchids and a severe spider mite infestation took the rest. I used strong insecticides on all my plants to no avail (and therefore will never use those again).

Once the number of plants get so high there just seems to be no way to keep the insects at bay....given the poor light conditions (and despite using plant lights), plus long periods of low humidity over the winter (I also used many humidifies), it became an exercise in total frustration. I believe I scrapped the entire collection after 3-4 years of insect hell
Maybe in Florida they have better luck growing large numbers of plants.....but here, it seems nigh impossible to do it well. I now only buy cut flowers that are disposable, need no light, and who cares if they have bugs. It's heaven.

So don't feel bad that you're struggling....I've been there and it isn't fun. Have a hug.

Beth said...

Even with just a splash of red, that's a stunning plant! In fact, if the whole thing were so vivid, it might be Too Much.