Club News.

Click HERE to return to Illawarra Bromeliad Society "Club News Page".

October 2012

Hechtia matudae
Photograph by Adolfo Espejo-Serna.
With acknowledgement to the Journal of The Bromeliad Society March-April 2008, Volume 58(2)

- Articles appearing in this issue of NEWSLINK are for information purposes only and are not necessarily endorsed by the Committee or the Illawarra Bromeliad Society.
- The Society is, by the holding of meetings, displays and competitions, to provide a forum for the people of the Illawarra region who are interested in the culture and collection of bromeliads.
- Under the provisions of the Privacy Act, use of names and references to private details, such as illness, holidays, birthdays and items of a similar nature, may only be published with the written permission of the person concerned.


A very warm welcome to our new members, Anne-Marie Brun, John Toolan, Max Williams and Fred and Lorraine Mirande. We wish you all a long and happy association with our Society.


Fred Burrows, Maadi McKenna, Sharyn Baraldi, Eunice Spark, Loreen Whiddett
Lyndell Gollings, Eileen Killingley, Neville Wood, Glenrae Barker, Alexi Aleuras
Graham Bevan, Ted Clare, Maureen Wheeler, Laurie Dorfer

As The Illawarra Lapidary Club’s annual exhibit requires the use of our usual meeting room in November, we will switch to the Scribbly Gum Room which is located to the right of the main entry of the Dapto Ribbonwood Centre, on the Princes Highway side of the building.

This year’s Christmas Party will again be held at our usual meeting venue and will be a catered affair. Cost for members will be $16 and will include a choice of carved meats, salads and desserts. The Society will supply punch but wine and beer will be on a BYO basis this year. We will have access to the Laurel Room from 11.30 am on Saturday, 1st December and so, after time for setting up, the festivities should begin around 11.45 am, with lunch served at 12.30 pm. As in past years please bring a small gift for sharing. (Men bring presents suitable for men and women bring presents suitable for women [and bromeliads always welcome!]. Elizabeth needs the party money by November 3.

At our ‘Christmas in July’ celebration Val Dixon was recognised for the exceptional service that she has given to our Society for the 15 plus years that she has been a member. For over ten years Val assisted me as Minutes Secretary, records being kept in her beautiful hand, and, as she said when she was presented with her Lifetime Membership pin, she thought, at 73 when she first started this job that she was “too old” but then she carried on for those ten plus years, never missing a meeting that I can remember. Val has also been a tireless worker in the kitchen at our Shows, until recently organising the sandwich makings for the workers on the Saturday (freshly roasting the chicken so that we knew it was going to be good!). Her cakes for our afternoon teas are also renowned and she often generously shared her recipes. Although Val has not been keeping such good health of late, and we have not been seeing her quite as often at our meetings, she is still very involved and we thank her very much for all that she has given to our Society.

It is with sadness that I report the winding up of the Bromeliad Society of New South Wales. The Society was formed in 1983 with the inaugural meeting held on 7th June 1982 at the Senior Citizens Centre in Five Dock with 35 bromeliad enthusiasts in attendance. When still only quite a young Society, with the vision of one of its members, Merv Henderson, a move was put forward to start up a bromeliad society in the Illawarra. With a core group, and assistance in many other ways from the New South Wales Society, our society was formed in March 1992.

I first came into contact with the New South Wales Society when they participated with a large display and stand at the Royal Easter Show, and it was through this that I heard of the Illawarra Society. They also put on exhibitions at the Gardening Australia events, and I have such fond memories of their Shows, held first at Five Dock and later at Concord, with their spectacular displays of bromeliads and opportunity for buying from a huge range of species and hybrids. These Shows were so popular with the public that there would be long lines of people waiting for the doors to open and then a rush to find out what was on offer, almost like an ‘After Christmas Sale’.

But, sadly, the Bromeliad Society of New South Wales is no more and I wish all of those people who were involved in making their Society the success it was for so many years all the best in the future.
Please feel that you are very welcome to visit the Illawarra Society any time.


October 18-21
BERRY GARDENS FESTIVAL – Tickets on sale Apex Park $20 all gardens valid over 4 days.
$5 individual gardens, under 18 free. Gardens open 10 am to 4 pm Sponsors, The Grange at Berry, 22 Victoria Street Open for Inspection 10am to 2pm
October 19-21
GALSTON OPEN GARDENS – 10 Gardens – Open 9.30 am to 4.30 pm each day
For details of gardens: Phone:(02) 9653 2394
Oct. 20 - 21
10am-5pm & 10am-3pm
October 27-28
2012 ANNUAL IRIS SHOW – SCHOOL OF ARTS HALL, GT WESTERN HIGHWAY WENTWORTH FALLS – Saturday 11.30am-4pm; Sunday 9am-3pm; $5 Admiss, Under 16 free. Information:02 4784 2727 Email:


Register your interest at: for all the latest conference news or visit
Early Bird Offer: Until December 31, 2012 $NZ$280
World Class Conference Presenters Already Confirmed: Elton Leme [renowned author and collector of bromeliads], Brazil
Michael Kiehl [growing, creating and supplying wonderful bromeliads for over 20 years], USA
Jose Manzanares [author of the beautiful books, Jewels of the Jungle], Ecuador.
Andrew Maloy [New Zealand’s leading hybridizer of exotic patterned leaf vrieseas]
Also, Harry Luther, USA, Nigel Thomson, Australia, and Hawi Winter, New Zealand

PLANT RESULTS - August 4, 2012

1st = Nina and Jarka Rehak = Neoregelia ‘Red Empress’
2nd = Jørgen Jakobsen = Neoregelia ‘Fireball’ – Giant (labeled as such but thought possibly N. ‘Red of Rio’, similar to, but a larger form of N. ‘Fireball’ Refer
3rd = John Carthew = Vriesea ‘Red Chestnut’

1st = Steven Dolbel = Aechmea recurvata hybrid (A beautiful plant with stunning colour which Steven had found at the tip!)
2nd = Sandra Southwell = Neoregelia ‘Royal Burgundy’
3rd = Sandra Southwell = Aechmea dealbata

1st = Sandra Southwell = butzii

PLANT RESULTS - Sept 1, 2012
1st = Jørgen Jakobsen = Aechmea ‘Charles Allen’ (unregistered)
2nd = Jørgen Jakobsen = Neoregelia ‘Bob and Grace’
3rd = Laila and Stephen Astill = Dyckia seedling

1st = Sandra Southwell = Aechmea recurvata hybrid
2nd = Ann Kennon = Vriesea vagans
3rd = Laila and Stephen Astill = Hechtia texensis

1st = Sandra Southwell = guatemalensis
1st = Laurie Dorfer = tectorum ‘Enano’
2nd = Ann Kennon = tenuifolia
3rd = Sandra Southwell = kolbii


Nina and Jarka Rehak - Guzmania ‘Caroline’

Freda Kennedy - Aechmea recurvata

Laurie Dorfer - Tillandsia tectorum ‘Enano’

Catherine Wainwright - Cryptanthus-filled terrarium

Class a - Aechmea (7 entries)
1st = Graham Bevan = Aechmea recurvata ‘Aztec Gold’
2nd = Nina Rehak = Aechmea fasciata
3rd = Neville Wood = Aechmea ‘Bert’

Class b - Billbergia (13 entries)
1st = Edwina Caruana & Stephen Wain= Billbergia sanderiana
2nd = Ann Kennon = Billbergia distachia
3rd = Neville Wood = Billbergia ‘Bobtail Gem’ X B. ‘Medowie Gift’

Class c - Neoregelia (23 entries)
1st = Bruce Cluff = Neoregelia ‘Rosy Morn’
2nd = Bruce Cluff = Neoregelia hybrid
3rd = Neville Wood = Neoregelia ‘Hot Gossip’

Class d - Miniature Neoregelia (8 entries)
1st = Graham Bevan = Neoregelia punctatissima
2nd = Graham Bevan = Neoregelia ampullacea X olens
3rd = Neville Wood = Neoregelia ‘Rosella’

Class e - Tillandsia (11 entries)
1st = Catherine Wainwright = Tillandsia seleriana (Mexican)
2nd = Nina and Jarka Rehak = Tillandsia foliosa
3rd = Sandra Southwell = Tillandsia paleacea

Class f - Vriesea/Guzmania (12 entries)
1st = Nina and Jarka Rehak = Guzmania ‘Caroline’
2nd = Bruce Cluff = Vriesea gigantea
3rd = Bruce Cluff = Vriesea ‘Carlsbad’

Class g - Other Bromeliad (7 entries)
1st = Catherine Wainwright = xNeophytum ‘Galactic Warrior’
2nd = Bruce Cluff = Canistropsis billbergioides
3rd = Graham Bevan = Hechtia texensis

Class h - Colony: Aechmea/Vriesea (3 entries)
1st = Bruce Cluff = Aechmea ‘Zebra’
2nd = Noel Kennon = Vriesea vagans

Class i - Colony: Neoregelia (12 entries)
1st = Catherine Wainwright = Neoregelia ‘Fireball’
2nd = Noel Kennon = Neoregelia lilliputiana
3rd = Noel Kennon = Neoregelia ‘Turmoil’

Class j - Mounted Tillandsias (12 entries)
1st = Laurie Dorfer = Tillandsia tectorum ‘Enano’
2nd = Sandra Southwell = Tillandsia butzii
3rd = Laurie Dorfer = Tillandsia mauryana

Class k - Mounted Bromeliad other than Tillandsias (2 entries)
1st = Edwina Caruana & Stephen Wain = Aechmea nudicaulis ‘Zebra’
2nd = Sandra Southwell = Neoregelia ‘Tiger Cub’

Class l - Aechmea (7 entries)
1st = Freda Kennedy = Aechmea recurvata
2nd = Sandra Southwell = Aechmea recurvata
3rd = Sandra Southwell = Aechmea pineliana var. minuta

Class m - Neoregelia (13 entries)
1st = Jørgen Jakobsen = Neoregelia Fosperior ‘Perfection’
2nd = Edwina Caruana & Stephen Wain = Neoregelia ‘Shamrock’
3rd = Jørgen Jakobsen = Neoregelia ‘Lambert’s Pride’

Class n - Tillandsia (1 entries)
1st = Jørgen Jakobsen = Tillandsia ‘Houston’

Class o - Vriesea/Guzmania (7 entries)
1st = Freda Kennedy = Vriesea ‘Gulz’
2nd = Freda Kennedy = Vriesea ‘Elan’
3rd = Jørgen Jakobsen = Guzmania ‘Red’

Class p - Other Bromeliad (2 entry)
1st = Noel Kennon = Orthophytum gurkenii
2nd = John Toolan = Quesnelia liboniana

Class q - Basket/Decorative Container (4 entries)
1st = Elizabeth Bevan = Basket of Colour
2nd = Catherine Wainwright = Cryptanthus-filled Terrarium
3rd = Noel Kennon = Basket of Bromeliads

Class r - Bromeliad Garden (5 entries)
1st = Elizabeth Bevan = ‘Bird Song’
2nd = Catherine Wainwright = Large terrarium with cryptanthus
3rd = Ann Kennon = A dish garden using Cryptanthus bivittatus

Class s - Artistic Arrangement (3 entries)
1st = Elizabeth Bevan = ‘Paradise’
2nd = Elizabeth Bevan = ‘Pink Hues’ using Aechmea gamosépala
3rd = Elizabeth Bevan = ‘Branching Out’

2009 = 17th Show = 146 entries = 19 competitors
2010 = 18th Show = 113 entries = 16 competitors
2011 = 19th Show = 151 entries = 20 competitors
2012 = 20th Show = 154 entries = 15 competitors

[Hechtia matudae] occurs on cliffs and crags of volcanic rocks where it forms extensive colonies. The species is known from the states of México and Morelos, Mexico, growing between 1700 and 1900 m elevation. This species is spectacular and showy in flowering. The size, abundance, colour, and delicate scent of the flowers make it a plant with great ornamental potential.

(This item was extracted from: Padilla, Victoria. In: [Bromeliads – A Descriptive Listing of the Various Genera and the Species Most Often Found in Cultivation]. Crown Publishers, Inc. : New York)
Klotzsch (heck’tya) (Named in honour of Julius Hecht, councillor of Potsdam, 1885)
Over forty species of this rugged genus are to be found growing in the arid regions of Texas, Mexico, and northern Central America. They are terrestrials, growing on desert hillsides, on rocky cliffs and in dry thickets along with cacti and other succulents. They are true xerophytes, being able to withstand extremes of heat and cold. For the most part, these robust plants have firmly textured leaves that are heavily armed with marginal spines. Ranging in size from 6 inches to 4 feet they are generally large plants. In the sun, their gray leaves often become rosy bronze, making certain species attractive specimens for the succulent garden. The flowers are usually borne on long, branched spikes that come from the side of the rosette, rather than from the centre (as is the case with most bromeliads). The flowers are inconspicuous and, with just a few exceptions, have white petals. Plants are of one sex (occasionally bisexual).

By Penrith Goff, S.E. Michigan Bromeliad Society
(Reprinted with written permission from

One of the best-kept secrets among succulent enthusiasts is the existence of succulent bromeliads. At least that’s the impression I get after glancing at a few of the books on succulents. The fact that many writers give them very short shrift—or none at all—probably reflects a certain lack of appeal. Their flowers do not dazzle like mesembryanthemums, there are no elephantine caudexes among them, and as to far-out form, they simply can’t compare with the extra-terrestrial denizens of the African desert. Still, they do have an appeal of their own. Hybridizers have been enhancing this appeal, so that there are a number of very handsome hybrids available. In general, they are very tough, drought resistant plants which make ideal houseplants and which (properly acclimated) can be put out in the summer without fear of sun damage. The following paragraphs will introduce a few of the major genera.

Bromeliads began as terrestrials. Most of them, in their struggle for light, moved from the dark forest floor up into the trees or onto open rock where there was no competition. Having adopted this epiphytic (or saxicolous) style of life, they developed a reservoir or “tank” in the centre of their rosettes in which they stored water from rain to rain. They began to depend more on their leaves than on their roots for the procurement of water and nutrients. The atmospheric tillandsias, the true “air plants”, began to use their roots only as a holdfast to bark or stone; some (e.g., Spanish moss) stopped producing roots at all under ordinary circumstances. Some bromeliads, to be sure, were quite happy with their forest floor habitat. The beautiful earth stars (cryptanthus) flourished in the dank and deeply shaded environment. They did not develop a tank because they didn’t need one. One cryptanthus species, however, C. Warasii, was forced to adapt to a more rugged way of life. C. Warasii survived under arid and sunny conditions that would quickly have killed off any of its rainforest cousins. It adapted by developing thickened leaves (a tank would have been useless!) in which it could store water and armed itself with teeth to keep animals at bay. In short, it became a succulent.

Cryptanthus warasii typifies the succulent bromeliads. It is a rosette of many leaves spiralled around the central axis. It forms new offshoots in the leaf axils, soon forming a clump. It could be taken for an aloe or agave when it is not in bloom. However, instead of being hoisted on a lofty scape, its flowers are nestled in the centre of the rosette, like all cryptanthus. Like C. warasii the succulent bromeliads often resemble an agave, aloe, or haworthia. One difference is in the leaf surface. The scales (trichomes) which produce the silver banding and the often velvety surface characteristic of many bromeliads are found also in the succulent bromeliads. C. warasii, despite its tough-looking exterior, is velvety to the touch. The leaves of C. warasii are edged with well-defined teeth (compared with the fine teeth of its rainforest relatives). The leaves of succulent bromeliads are usually armed, often viciously.

Unlike their epiphytic relatives the succulent bromeliads develop a prodigious root system and require good-sized pots in order to grow well. Many of them tolerate full sun. Although thy are succulent they require a good deal of water during the growing season. During the winter they are best kept, like other succulents, on the dry side at cooler temperatures. Some can get through the winter with no watering but most need to be watered occasionally, especially if they show signs of dehydration. They may be fertilized during the growing period but weakly as with other succulents. Their character is best developed under “hard” cultivation: lots of light, moderate water, little fertilizer.

The following list is limited to succulent terrestrial bromeliad species which can grow under the same conditions as cacti and other desert succulents, often growing in company with them in their natural habitat. Abromeitiella: Name now abandoned, its four species having recently been reassigned to the genus Deuterocohnia.

Cryptanthus: Succulents among the Earth Stars (32 species) are the exception: C. warasii, as described above, and C. bahianus, which, though not as succulent as C. warasii, flourishes in sun and sandy soil.

Deuterocohnia: Around 14 species. Deuterocohnia brevifolia and D. Lorentziana (formerly Abromeitiella) form large mats or cushions of small rosettes in the Argentinean and Bolivian Andes. Their tubular green flowers (1+ inches) emerge from leaf axils. D. Longipetala has mat-forming rosettes with 4”-12” leaves, and flowers borne on a scape 2-1/2 plus feet high. The scape, if left uncut, will bloom again in following years (unique among bromeliads!)

Dyckia: (Around 121 species) Native to arid regions of Brazil but also found in neighbouring countries to the south-west. Winter temperatures down to low 400F (40-50C). Clump- or mat-forming with small yellow, orange or red flowers borne on a short scape (but D. Remotiflora has a 12-16 inch scape). Seed borne in capsules.

Encholirium: (Around 29 species) Native to dry areas in north-east Brazil. Similar to Dyckia in habit. Flowers green or yellow-green. E. spectabile named for its inflorescence, 16 inches long, covered with 1 inch yellow flowers.

Hechtia: (Around 48 species) Native to Mexico and found also in southern United States, Guatemala, and Honduras. Inflorescence intricately branched, carried on long stem. Flowers white, green, yellow-green, pink. Blooming shoot does not die immediately after blooming. This, together with prolific pupping, produces large clumps. Hechtia tillandsioides (around 12 inches diameter) has soft gray leaves and, like tillandsias, is epiphytic. No teeth.

Orthophytum: (Around 24 species) Native to Brazil and so-named (ortho+phytum = straight plant) because at maturity (in some species) the stem carrying the inflorescence also bears normal leaves, giving the plant an upright appearance.

Orthophytum foliosum grows to 2 feet high.
Orthophytum saxicola does not develop tall scapes, but covers rocks with mats of 4-6 inch rosettes, its white flowers nestled between leaves.

By Karen Andreas, Merritt Island, Florida, USA. Email:
(Reprinted from the Journal of The Bromeliad Society, March-April 2008, Volume 58(2))

The one pest most commonly found on bromeliads is scale: both the black fly-speck scale and the soft, white scale. The key to managing infestations is to try to prevent them in the first place by good cultivation practices.

Give your bromeliads room and be sure not to crowd them against each other or other plants. Tightly crowded leaves create perfect breeding grounds for pests and allow scale to move around. Remove dead or declining leaves to eliminate another area where pests like to hide. Ample room between plants, good air circulation and conscientious grooming discourages insects from getting a foothold in your collection.

When you do find a problem, however, use chemicals only as a remedy of last resort. Chemicals may also kill beneficial insects that feed on pests such as ladybugs and parasitic wasps that prey on scale. In addition, chemical runoff can accumulate in the ground and be washed into surrounding bodies of water. Before you turn to chemicals, first assess how widespread the infestation is and then look for evidence of natural predators. It could be that there already is a natural management program active in your environment.

If you need to treat scale, use insecticidal soap or a mild liquid dish washing soap. In the States, Ivory liquid soap does quite nicely. You also can use swabs and alcohol to remove individual scale for a minor infestation although you may still need to flick the scale off with your fingernail to actually remove it. Afterwards, use a strong water spray to wash off the eggs. With chemical and with benign treatments, you can only kill the adults. The eggs must be washed away or the plant will need to be re-treated.

There is a common misconception that bromeliads are breeding grounds for mosquitoes but that is less of a problem in central and south Florida than it is in northern Florida. In central and south Florida, a native mosquito displaces the West Nile-transmitting mosquitoes in tank bromeliads. No matter where you live, however, good cultivation techniques are still in order. Do not allow organic material to accumulate in the bromeliad tanks. Flush out debris with fresh water from a garden hose at least once a week; this also will flush out mosquito eggs. Bromeliads often attract lizards, frogs, snakes and birds, all of whom do their part to manage pests.

As for those large, colourful grasshoppers that some of you report are dining on your bromeliad leaves, the only control that exists for them is a mechanical one: the bottom of your shoe.

Bromeliads generally are not susceptible to fungus unless they are grown in tight, crowded conditions with little or no air circulation. Fungus usually is an indication of a cultivation problem. If you see soft mushy leaves developing on your bromeliad, check the potting medium to see if it is heavy, mucky or soaking wet. If it is, an immediate solution is to pull the bromeliad out of the soil and let it dry in the air. Remove any mushy leaves and discard them. When you return the bromeliad to your collection, be sure to give it ample room and air circulation to avoid a return of the problem. If you are not able to save the mother plant, you might set her aside and see if she will throw you a pup to preserve her line. Otherwise, throw her away! When grown in adequate space, in locations with the proper light and good air circulation, bromeliads are virtually care-free. Be good to your bromeliads and they will be good to you!

By B.J. Loudon, NSW Agricultural Department, Biological and Chemical Research Branch, RYDALMERE, NSW 2116
(Reprinted from BROMELETTER, Journal of the Bromeliad Society of Australia, November-December 1981, Vol. 18(6).

In January 1981 a Sydney bromeliad grower brought in some of his aechmea and billbergia plants to Biological and Chemical Research Institute, Rydalmere. The plants were covered in black pin head sized scales, which were identified as Gymnaspis aechmeae Newstead, known in Florida, USA as the fly-speck scale. This scale was previously unknown in New South Wales. The grower called it ‘pineapple scale’ and showed me an article in Bromeletter (December 1980) discussing a black pinspot scale implying it originated from pineapples. There is actually a pineapple scale (Diaspis bromeliae) which is occasionally recorded on some ornamental bromeliads but is much larger and is easily distinguished from fly-speck scale from bromeliads. The fly-speck scale (Gymnaspis aechmeae) is not yet recorded from pineapple (Ananas) in Australia, although pineapple is recorded in Florida as an additional host. The first record of fly-speck scale in Australia was from Brisbane in 1975 and it has also been recorded from Canberra in 1978. This scale will probably be spread throughout Australia due to the sale and exchange of infested plants. Scale infestations at the base of plants are difficult to detect.

Biology and Control. Gymnaspis aechmeae is an armoured scale (Family Diaspididae). The first stage, known as crawlers, emerges from under the mature female. These tiny crawlers have legs and are sufficiently mobile to walk onto other leaves and may even reach other plants in close proximity. Wind can blow crawlers from one plant to another. Humans can also spread scale crawlers on their clothes. The crawler selects a favourable site on a host plant, often near the parent scale, inserts a thread-like feeding tube and commences feeding. It forms a round, black protective cover scale less than 0.5 mm in diameter and then moults (losing its legs) to give the adult stage. The females form a hemispherical black scale about 1 mm in diameter. Males form an oval scale of similar size. The final moult to the mature female occurs under the same scale and the female remains encased within the skin of its previous stage. This double covering of the adult may make the fly-speck scale more difficult to control with sprays than other scale insects.

The host preferences of fly-speck scale are mostly within the bromeliads although it has been occasionally recorded on other plants. Amongst the bromeliads, species of aechmea and billbergia are the most commonly recorded hosts in Florida, USA where it is regarded as a serious pest of bromeliads.

The first step in control is to isolate affected plants and it may be advisable to burn severely infested plants. Newly acquired plants should also be checked for scale infestation.

The normal control method for scale insects is by spraying but success depends on obtaining good contact of the spray with the scales. Spraying to control fly-speck scale must be very thorough to reach scales at the base of the plant and repeat spraying after several weeks may be necessary. It is advisable after spraying to turn potted plants on their side, if possible, to allow excess spray to drain from leaf bases. It is important to ‘experiment’ first—i.e., only treat a few plants of different species first to see the plant’s tolerance to insecticide. If there is ‘burning off’ from the spray then it is better to lose only the first few plants rather than the whole collection.

To see if treatment is working allow about three weeks to elapse, then remove a leaf and attempt to wipe the scale off, particularly at the base. If the scales are dry and wipe off easily with a finger then they are dead; if they require some help with a fingernail, then they are probably still live.

CANOLA WHITE OIL – {For Treatment of Fly-Speck Scale}
By Rob Smythe, Townsville

At the Cairns Bromeliad X conference {in 1999} I spoke about "Growing Neoregelias in the Dry Tropics". A small part of this lecture captured the imagination of the delegates and that was about my successful use of canola oil for eradication of flyspeck scale and any scale for that matter. When I started to speak I am sure all the audience was saying under their breath was, "Oils are oils". "Why are we to listen to this, every book ever written says don't use oils on broms?" By the end of the talk I think I convinced them that, "Oils aint oils, Sol," as per the TV advertisement. In case you don't want to bother with my scientific explanation I will set out some rules for those who just want to try it out. Could I say first the story of canola versus mineral white oil with plants parallels the difference between butter (animal) and polyunsaturated margarine (vegetable) for humans. In both cases they look much the same but they function quite differently.

How to make it?
I can honestly say I have only used measurements once and that was to have something to write in this section. It does not matter much what quantities you use. It is just how much you leave on the plant that is important.

Canola White Oil
750 ml Canola oil, 3 Tablespoons "Sil" Detergent, and 1250 ml water.
I usually mix this in a two-litre milk bottle and shake it violently. You can use a blender. Let the white oil emulsion rise to the top. Put a small hole in the bottom of the milk bottle and carefully open the lid. Drain off all the excess water and detergent and then put the white oil into a new milk bottle. You will find it fairly quickly separates back into oil and water layers. It should be used fairly promptly when fresh. You will find with time that the white oil left behind will stay as an emulsion longer and longer. This can be explained chemically but not here. The message is to make big batches and store it. Each time you use it shake it well.

{“Sil” brand detergent is a Queensland product and not usually available in the Illawarra; however, when Neville contacted Rob Smythe regarding a suitable substitute Rob recommended Woolworths “Home Brand”.}

Canola White Oil Spray - How to mix it.
300 ml Canola White Oil, 300 ml vinegar* or ammonia, 4 litres water.

*Vinegar-brand does not matter.
*Ammonia, stick with ‘Superior’ brand as my tests in 1997 have shown that it then did not have any phytotoxic detergents added. It is also the cheapest, per unit of ammonia present, that I have found.

The only detergent I have used is ‘Sil’ and {algae control/sanitizer} Alginox. My tests have shown that these are not phytotoxic at low concentrations. My experiments have shown that 3 ml of Alginox/5 L of water is OK for the smallest plants. My studies were done growing orchids in flasks and actually growing them in the solution. As an aside I have found Alginox, when used to kill algae, is more effective if used more concentrated than this but be sure to wash it off after an hour or two of being in contact with the algae. You will know if it works by the stench of dead algae. Algae are very small and have a very high surface to mass ratio and hence take up toxic levels much quicker than other plants. Don't mix ammonia and vinegar together as one destroys the activity of the other. Remember when plants (Neoregelias) are coloured up use vinegar (actually enhances red colour and cleans calcium deposits off the leaves as well). When plants are in their greener {growth stage} use the ammonia. I often use the vinegar spray just to brighten up the plants when I am expecting brom visitors.

The other positive thing is that vinegar prevents mosquitoes: strangely, adult larvae don't appear bothered too much, but immature larvae don't survive.

How to Use Canola Spray!
Spray on the plants during overcast or wet weather. If you must use it during fine weather, spray it on in the evening. After a few hours or in the morning in the latter case use a strong jet of water to wash the bulk off. Be sure to wash out the vase. Very thin film is safe for neoregelias in Townsville. Now during the next couple of days UV light and moisture will degrade the canola oil. Some of it will be turned into weak acids that will dissolve in water but a fine layer of white wax can form which lifts off in a day or so. This wax has what we chemists call carboxylic acid groups which also make it very slightly soluble in water.

So if you have done things correctly you have put a small film of oil over the plant, softening and smothering the scale, whereas paraffin oil (garden white oil) will do the same but it stays in place blocking the trichomes (scurf) and the underlying breathing/transpiration apparatus of the plant (stomata) preventing the taking up of moisture and nutrients. Bromeliads have most of their stomata on the underside of the leaf so special care should be taken when spraying there. Plants should not be thickly closed in as to exclude light from this area.

I use preventative spraying in autumn and spring and I only spray the top surface. If I find a plant subsequently showing scale on the top surface, I remove it and spray it while upside down as well as on top. One good spray is usually enough. Usually I return them directly back to the collection. If I acquire a badly infested plant I quarantine it until I am sure it is OK to add to the collection.

This is a shortened version of the original talk given at the Cairns Conference, if anyone wants the whole article just let me know, Neville Wood.

From a follow-up article by Rob, which appeared in the Bromeliad Society of Australia’s January/February 2000 Bromeletter Vol. 38 No. 1, I have extracted the following information—Ed.

What Can Go Wrong?
• The mix was developed for neoregelias. Soft leafed plants like guzmanias growing in the shade would need considerable testing.

• Too much canola oil can lead to a change in chemistry. Instead of getting a soluble decomposition product which, of course, washes away, you form what we chemists call a condensed aldehyde polymer, which can form a film under such conditions. This polymer will coat the leaf like a coat of paint that has not set and the plant can smother. If it is not too thick, black sooty mould will form on it and destroy it. If you find a build-up of sticky stuff or the leaves go black you need to scrub the plants with detergent. Best to avoid the problem by using a thin film even if you have to treat the plants a second time.

• The oil can damage new leaves emerging from the water if the oil is left in the vase. Anyone spraying insecticide knows the problem well. Insecticides come dissolved in things like Xylene which make a milky white emulsion in water but after spraying on bromeliads the oil base rises and settles on the water surface and wrecks new growth.

• You may think, as with paraffin-based white oils, that the plants should be put in the shade. NO! THEY MUST BE LEFT IN BRIGHT LIGHT TO DEGRADE THE CANOLA OIL.



While we have been given permission to list these gardens in this edition of Newslink, as a courtesy please note that YOU SHOULD CALL AHEAD TO SET A CONVENIENT TIME AND DATE to visit.

Ian Hook – NORTHMEAD (near Parramatta)
Phone: (02) 4359 3356/0418 471 754 Email:
Ian is President of the Bromeliad Society of Australia Inc.

BROMELIADS/ORCHIDS – Ross Smith – 13 Sidney Street, TEA GARDENS (02) 4997 2880 Mobile: 0438 723 121

BROMELIADS AUSTRALIA NURSERY – Robert, Gleness, Jamie and Jennifer Larnach.
49 Rutleys Road, WYEE - Phone: (02) 4359 3356/0418471754 Bromeliads for sale.

Rick Collins - 6 Boonbilla Street, MARYLAND. Phone: (02) 4951 7782
A great private collection of bromeliads, cacti and succulents - Limited plants for sale

CLIFFDALE GREENS: Carol and Gary Van Hof - 33 Denva Road, TAREE. Mob: 0404043722
Phone: (02) 6551 3722 - Email:
2-1/2 acres of beautiful gardens built up over 10 years, including succulents, natives and bromeliads.

42 Pee Dee Road, BELLBROOK, NSW (Inland from Kempsey) - Phone: (02) 6567 2186

Jan and Jon Townsend – 215 Braford Drive (down Moet Lane), Bonville, 10km south of Coffs Harbour - Bonville next exit after Repton (Peter Tristram) heading north. (Formerly CAVES BEACH NURSERY). Phone: 0418574030 Email: Bromeliads for sale.

Heidi East and Steve Hogan - 19 Patemans Road, ASHBY, NSW 2463 (Near YAMBA).
Phone: (02) 6645 1319. (Members of the Gold Coast Succulent and Bromeliad Society, Heidi and Steve have a hobby nursery – Plants available for sale.)

EXOTIC LIFE – Tillandsia Specialist – Ari Stein Mob. 0414510345 - Tandy’s Lane (adjacent to Uncle Tom’s Pies, Old Pacific Highway, BILLINUDGEL—on way to Mullumbimby).

Burt Dunn - 4 Fimiston Place, BURLEIGH WATERS - Phone: 0412 699 399
A private collection in a very unusual and special garden.

Jennifer Laurie - 6 Gilward Drive, MUDGEERABA, 4213 Phone: (07) 5530 5510
(Jennifer has been a member of the Gold Coast Society since 2004 and she and her husband have a great collection of very interesting plants.)

Genny and John Catlan - 17 Pelican Parade, JACOBS WELL - Phone: (07) 5546 1401
An amazing collection of bromeliads and exotic plants. Plants for sale.
JACOBS WELL - A lovely little fishing village, with very nice camp ground.

Greg and Narelle Aizlewood - 15 Royal Palm Drive, WOONGOOLBA, 4207 (Just about 5 km north of JACOBS WELL, but on the same turnoff from the highway) Phone: (07) 5546 1161. Narelle is Secretary of the Gold Coast Society while Greg was appointed a Director of the BSI. Narelle and Greg have a collection of most bromeliads; however, Greg particularly enjoys growing tillandsias, cryptanthus and billbergias—and he also grows a lot from seed. They have plants for sale.

Len and Sheryl Waite - 4 Prudence Court, UPPER CABOOLTURE, 4510.
Phone: (07) 5496 7795/Email: - A truly lovely garden. Plants for sale.

Debbie and Hans Kruger - 376 Honeyeater Drive, WALLIGAN (HERVEY BAY)
Phone: (07) 4128 6026. Debbie was instrumental in setting up the Fraser Coast Bromeliad Society a few years ago (of which she is President) and it has gone from strength to strength. Debbie and Hans have a beautiful garden covering 5 acres, with large shade houses and plants for sale.

Russell Holzheimer – 159 Birthamba Road, SOUTH KOLAN (25 km outside of Bundaberg).
Phone: (07) 4157 7136. Email:
Has a 2-1/2 acre garden and while Russell sells mainly by mail order, he also welcomes visitors (if contacted beforehand). Has a huge number of neoregelias, a large number of billbergias, plus aechmeas, alcantareas, etc.

Barbara Davies - 5 Sharp Street, MT LOUISA (TOWNSVILLE), QLD Phone: (07) 4779 7568 Barb is President of the Townsville Study Group.

Rob Smythe – 69 Bundock Street, Belgian Gardens, TOWNSVILLE, QLD 4810 (07) 4772 1704

Pat Coutts - ALLIGATOR CREEK (TOWNSVILLE AREA) Phone: (07) 4778 8149

Pat and Pam Ring - TOWNSVILLE - Phone: (07) 4779 2527

Margaret Bartley - 1/24 Denman Avenue, SHOAL POINT (MACKAY)
Phone: (07) 4954 8919 Email:
Margaret and her husband Jeff were founding members of the Illawarra Bromeliad Society and worked for nearly 10 years building and setting up the framework which still guides our Society today. Margaret maintains the exquisite, small garden which she and Jeff set up at their home address, and there are additional shadehouses with plants for sale.

HUDSON’S BROMELIADS DOWN UNDER: Bob and Lynn Hudson, 47 Boden Street, EDGE HILL, CAIRNS. Phone: (07) 4053 3913 Email: Lynn and Bob need no introduction as they have been tireless workers towards our more recent Conferences and have a truly outstanding collection of bromeliads. Lynn for the larger bromeliads, and Bob has to be “Mr. Tillandsia of the North”!

Dave Weston and Brendan Leishman – CAIRNS - Phone: (07) 4057 8604/0432 068 645
Email: An interesting garden with cycads, terrestrial bromeliads, neoregelias, etc.


BROMELIAD SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA INC. Meets on 2nd Saturday of the Month, commencing at 1.00 pm (Sales start at 12.00 pm) in the First Floor Conference Rooms/Auditorium, The Burwood RSL Club, Corner Shaftesbury Road and Clifton Avenue, BURWOOD, NSW.
President: Ian Hook Phone: (02) 9614 6334 Email:
Secretary: Marilyn Heaps Phone: (02) 9502 3231.

BROMELIAD SOCIETY OF QUEENSLAND INC. Meets on 3rd Thursday of the month (except December) at 7.30 pm at the Uniting Church Hall, 52 Merthyr Road, NEW FARM, Brisbane.
President: Olive Trevor Phone: (07) 3351 1203 Email:

BROMELIAD SOCIETY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA INC. Meets on 2nd Sunday of the month (except 1st Sunday May and August) at 2.00 pm at the Maltese Cultural Centre, 6 Jeanes Street, BEVERLEY.
President: Adam Bodzioch Phone: (08) 8293 6304 (No meeting December)
Secretary: Bev Masters Phone: (08) 8351 4876 Email:

BROMELIAD SOCIETY OF VICTORIA INC. Meets bi-monthly on 4th Wednesday of every second month, commencing in February, at 7.45 pm sharp at Phoenix Park Community Centre, Rob Roy Road, MALVERN EAST – Melway Map 69 D2
President: Bruce Lee Phone: (03) 9726 6126 Email:
Secretary: Lynton Johnson Phone: (03) 9800 4018

CABOOLTURE & DISTRICTS BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meetings on 4th Saturday of the month (except December at Combined Services Club, 21 Hayes Street, CABOOLTURE - 1 pm for 1.30 pm start. President: Kayleen Courtney - (07) 3886 9521; Secretary: Lyn Trail - (07) 5429 0487

CAIRNS BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meetings are held at members’ homes.
1st Saturday of the month, commencing at 1.00 pm.
Secretary: Lynn Hudson Phone: (07) 4053 3913 - Email:

CENTRAL COAST NSW BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meets on 4th Saturday of the month, commencing at 1.00 pm at the Anglican Church Hall, WYOMING (Entrance off Parkhill Road).
President: Greg Kiernan Phone: (02) 4324 5562. Secretary: Caron Walsh (02) 4365 6454.

FRASER COAST BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meets usually on 4th Saturday of the month, except December, in members’ gardens. Meetings start at 1.30 pm, with plant sales starting ½ hour before the general meeting.
President: Debbie Kruger Phone: (07) 4128 6026. Email:

President: Bette Gill Phone: (07) 4978 1957

GLASSHOUSE COUNTRY BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meets alternately at Mary MacKillop Centre, Peachester Road, BEERWAH and members’ homes, at 2.00 pm on the 1st Sunday of the month. PO Box 424, Glass House Mountains, Qld 4518
President: Pat Pennell – Phone: (07) 5438 7375; Secretary: Keith Pennell

GOLD COAST SUCCULENT AND BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meets 4th Saturday of the month at the Carrara Community Centre, Nielsens Road, Carrara. (Exit 73 off the Pacific Motorway.) Meeting commences at 1pm, with plant sales from 12 noon.
Contacts: See

HUNTER DISTRICT BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meets on 3rd Saturday of the month at 1.00 pm at the Henderson Park Hall, 38 Lockyer Street, ADAMSTOWN.
President: Paul Maloney Phone: (02) 4948 4245.
Secretary: Elizabeth Kentish Phone: (02) 4957 0565

ILLAWARRA BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meets 1st Saturday of the month (February to November) at 12 noon in the Laurel Room, Dapto Ribbonwood Centre. Exit Southern Highway at Fowler’s Road and use Heininger Street Car Park. President: Graham Bevan (02) 4261 1173

IPSWICH & DISTRICT BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meets on 1st Sunday of the month, at 2.00 pm Seventh Day Adventist Church Hall, 56 Hunter Street, BRASSALL, QLD.
Secretary: Patricia Barlow Phone: (07) 3202 6854 Email:

President: Carol McKenzie Phone: (08) 8927 4640 Email:
Secretary: Lyn Hutton Phone: (08) 8931 3743 Email:

PORT MACQUARIE ORCHID AND BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meets on the Fourth Monday of the month at Port Macquarie Panthers at 7.00pm. No meeting in December. We will be holding two shows in 2013. Autumn Show – Mother’s Day Weekend, 10th to 12th May and Winter Show 24th to 25th August at Port Macquarie Panthers.
Secretary: John Matthews. P.O. Box 2171, Port Macquarie 2444 (02) 6582-0186 Email:

SUNSHINE COAST BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meets on 3rd Saturday, commencing at 1.30 pm at Millwell Road Community Centre (eastern end of Millwell Road), MAROOCHYDORE (Near entrance to P4 parking area for Sunshine Plaza).
President: Cheryl Basic Phone: (07) 5472 8827 email:
Secretary: Carol Stewart Phone: (07) 5445 3488, email:

President: Barbara Davies Phone: (07) 4779 7568
Kathleen Greenway Phone: (07) 4778 6876 Email:

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN BROMELIAD SOCIETY INC. Meets on 3rd Sunday of the month (except December) commencing at 2.00 pm at Rotary Hall, Sandgate Street, SOUTH PERTH.
President: Yvonne Przetocki Phone: (08) 9342 6102
Editor: Vic Przetocki Email:
Secretary: Margaret Walters Phone: (08) 9337 7283

From an article by Robert Meyer (under the title “In Case You Missed It”) which appeared in BromeliAdvisory, the newsletter of the Bromeliad Society of South Florida in March 2011.

Nat DeLeon came to speak but the three items of focus when attempting to better produce suckers or pups for plants.

The talk revolved around: (1) light; (2) potting medium and (3) fertilizer. Each, with intrinsic character or variable effect upon the other items of focus, can greatly aid or deter the production of a bromeliad’s offspring.

The basic rule for light is that at the plants with enough light produce more pups than those with not enough light. And, sometimes, the suckers which abut the lower leaf sheaths of the parent are helped when you cut back the dead leaf matter of the parent which may curl down and ultimately shade the emergence of the pups. Good examples include Alcantarea imperialis and Aechmea ‘Little Harv.”

Potting medium has been the topic of other discussion and what makes the best is a great topic of debate. But, for purposes of improving the growth of pups, Nat asks for three things: (a) loose; (b) good drainage; and (c) full of nutrients. In order to facilitate drainage, Nat endorses the Landmark A-600 six inch pots as they have four side holes in addition to four bottom holes.

Interestingly Nat believes the soil he used years ago remains the best he ever used—a fern soil. Its ingredients were fibrous peat and perlite. Today, he states, the peat moss is often too powdery and lacks the fibrous character needed for drainage. And Nat adds that he stopped using perlite and opts for Styrofoam pellets instead.

Soil issues may also arrive from the plants you buy. At the larger nurseries they use potting machines which most likely implement peat moss without perlite or other drainage aids. If the soil dries, the medium becomes extremely difficult to soften, thereupon strangling the roots and diminishing the ability of the pups to reach adulthood. Places like Home Depot and Lowes stock up on such plants and Nat advises that the pups be removed from this soil into a new potted medium that you make or buy which has fibrous compound and perlite or Styrofoam.

Fertilizer’s basic mantra is Nutricote. Unlike Osmocote, Nutricote will endure heat and water better, and therefore last longer and not release as readily. He asks for topical fertilizer as opposed to liquid fertilizer. But, at the nursery, they commence plants in pots with good drainage, and apply 20-10-20 for two weeks with liquid fertilizer, and follow with calcium/magnesium mix which is sprayed for two weeks. Upon the completion of this fertilizing ritual, the plants are left on their own.

Nat, the granddaddy of the BSSF, offered more tips to listeners. Best way to start a pup is to pot the plant—and he showed us a secret to holding the plant up (see photos). The plants with “arms or legs” he held down with one dowel. The plants with no “arms” or “legs” (maybe stoloniferous as opposed to non-stoloniferous) he held down with two dowels. The dowels could be bought, or ad-libbed with oak tree twigs which fall down from a storm.

Beyond the concern of light, soil and fertilizer is the concern of when to institute the regimen for the pups. Nat believes that the time arrives to remove the pup when it is 33% the size of the parent.

1560 Yandina-Coolum Road, YANDINA, QLD 4561

Alcantarea, Foliage Vriesea, Neoregelia and Other Genera

Phone: (07) 5472 8827 Mobile: 0403 193 069

THE POCKET (Near Mullumbimby)

Large range of bromeliads, Agents for Deroose Exotic Plans of Belgium and Andrew Maloy’s KIWI COLLECTION OF VRIESEAS

Phone:(02) 6684 5374 Fax:(02) 6684 5168

Located at REPTON, south of COFFS HARBOUR

from mostly imported stock.

Beautiful Tillandsia, Vriesea (including ‘silver’ species), Guzmania, Aechmea, Neoregelia, etc.

Visitors welcome but phone first:
(02) 6655 4130 A.H.
Send S.A.E. for MAIL ORDER list of quality plants
P.O. Box 2, BONVILLE, NSW 2441
Proprietor: Peter Tristram

The Larnach Family – Robert, Gleness, Jamie and Jennifer
Supplier of quality Bromeliads with 35 years’ experience!

Home of “Aussie Dream Series” and other Australian Hybrids!
Collectors’ plants are available in a wide range of genera.
We welcome wholesale and retail customers by appointment. Please contact us.
Mail Order also available!

Phone/Fax: 02 4359 3356
Mobile: 0418 471 754

M.J. PATERSON (Margaret)
212 Sandy Creek Road, GYMPIE, QLD 4570
P.O. Box 385, WARDELL, 2477

Large range of Bromeliads for sale, especially our own hybrid Neoregelia and Tillandsia

Do call in if you are up this way, but please phone first.
Phone/Fax:(07) 5482 3308 Email:

Ross Little and Helen Clewett
114 Pine Street, WARDELL
P.O. Box 385, WARDELL, 2477
Phone/Fax: (02) 6683 4188

Aechmea, Alcantarea, Guzmania, Vriesea, Tillandsia, Neoregelia and many more

12 Mussett Court, Glenella
Phone:07 49426671 Fax:07 49429471 Mobile:0488 426671

Large Range of Bromeliads for Sale
Specialising in Tillandsia, Neoregelia, Orthophytum, Dyckia and many others


The Cheapest Bromeliads on the Internet!

Cradle Nursery is a small wholesale nursery on the NSW far south coast, currently selling via their website and on eBay, as well as at the local markets in the area:
- Moruya Market - Every Saturday
- Candelo Market - 1st Sunday
- Pambula Market - 2nd Sunday
- Batemans Bay Market - 3rd Sunday
- Bermagui Market - Last Sunday
Tim and Ernie Berger - Phone: 04 4758 7618

Click HERE to return to Illawarra Bromeliad Society "Club News Page".

Updated 16/11/12