Not exactly a bulb question

Thomas Glavich
Tue, 09 Nov 2004 16:55:32 PST
Start them in late April or May.  I use coir, pumice (or perlite) and granite sand in near equal proportions, with the seeds just pressed in the potting mix, and a light gravel coating.  I use a wet mix, in a plastic bag and start under lights.
Keep them humid, with bright light throughout the seedling phase.  I do mine in Southern California under 50 to 70% shade cloth.
Spray the small plants with a weak liquid fertilizer after about 6 weeks.  They don't have many roots, but like all bromeliads can absorb water and nutrients through the leaves.
If the seed mix compacts, they won't set roots.  If you see this happening, replant the small seedlings into a fresh loose mix.  
Tom wrote:

I am looking for advice (especially the voice of experience) for germinating 
terrestrial bromeliad seeds. I would especially appreciate knowing the secret 
for keeping the seedlings alive after germination and growing them on to 

I have killed several species of terrestrial bromeliad (e.g., Puya and 
Dyckia) after easily germinating them in sandy soil mix. 

The problem is that they don't make/keep roots and eventually die as tiny 
little plants, about 1/8 or 1/4 inch tall.

When they are bigger I have no problem growing them. They seem ideally 
suited to year round rain punctuated with 1-, 2-, or 3-month droughts as long as 
they have fast drainage. Sometimes they don't even insist on sandy soil, only 
fast-draining humus-rich soil.

They are great companions for Crinum (see, I made a bulb connection), in the 
garden. The Crium do well in the ground, and the terrestrial bromeliads do 
well in pots--the contrast of leaves and flowers can be very nice.

Please write to me if you know how to keep the darn seedlings alive. 

Conroe Joe
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