Blushing Bromeliad/Neoregelia Carolinae ‘Meyendorfii’
This Brazilian Bromeliad is a rosette-shaped,plant which grows on tree branches in the jungle; the cultivar Neoregelia carolinae ‘Meyendorfii’ is the one most often grown. In Summer, mature plants produce an attractive and well-hidden lavender-violet flower surrounded by colourful bracts. In the plant’s native habitat, the flower lasts just one night: if purchased in this state, the Blushing Bromeliad should be regarded as a short/medium-term houseplant. Like most Bromeliads, once the plant flowers, it begins to die off and is replaced by any offsets around the parent plant. As a temporary plant, it is ideal for a poorly-lit, cool home; once flowering is initiated, the ‘blushing’ foliage remains attractive whatever the growing conditions and will often keep going for 3-5 months.
To grow-on the offsets, the Blushing Bromeliad needs a lot of heat, plenty of good, but indirect, light and a fair amount of humidity; all of which do not add up to the conditions found in most living rooms. Plants take 2-3 years to flower and do not start to ‘blush’ until just before they are about to flower.
Provide this soft-leaved Bromeliad with a Winter minimum of 15°C (59°F), with a lowest daytime temperature of around 18°C (65°F). From late Spring to late Summer, a stable 21-26°C (70-80°F) is preferred.
Neoregelia carolinae ‘Meyendorfii’ needs good, bright, but indirect, light all year through. However, it will tolerate light shade.
Water with tepid rainwater: during the growing season, keep themoist at all times. In Winter, only water when the compost is dry on the surface, then allow it to dry again before watering thoroughly once more. During cool periods, reduce the amount given.
Mist this plant daily, and twice a day in warm conditions: keep the rosette filled with water from Spring through to Summer. Do not mist in cold periods, as rot may follow. Again, use tepid rainwater.
Established plants may be fed with a half-strength, proprietary feed at every third watering. If feed collects in the rosette, it will need cleaning out regularly to prevent a build-up of salt deposits.
Repot young plants regularly, using a proprietary Bromeliad compost; alternatively, mix 2 parts (by volume) of moss peat, 1 part loam-based (but lime-free) potting compost and 1 part sharp sand for a free-draining blend. Otherwise, these plants may be grown in hanging baskets or as wall plaques.
Remove offsets from the parent plant only when the latter is really past its best: this allows the maximum amount of time for the offset to produce its own roots.
Crown rot: The crown of this plant may rot in cold growing conditions: if the environment is cool in Winter, empty the rosette of water and keep the plant slightly drier.
Scale may gather at the base of the closely-clasped rosette of leaves: remove them with a cotton bud and methylated spirit, or treat with a suitable insecticide.