Thursday, July 23, 2009
Neoregelia. Neoregelia is one of many genera in the family Bromiliaceae. They are known for their brightly colored leaves and their ease of culture (i.e., hard to kill). While they will last indoors, sometimes for years, they actually like fairly high levels of light and lots of water. The center is typically full of water and the flowers emerge from a pine-cone-like inflorescence in the center, each managing to open just above the water line, enabling pollinators to come in and pollinate them while keeping would-be herbivores out via the moat. The multiply rapidly and are wonderful garden plants in warmer areas of the country, adding color and ease of maintenance to the garden. They can, however, be a haven for mosquito larvae so either occasionally pick them up and empty the crowns of water or drop a little insecticide into the crowns to keep them mosquito free.
For those of you wondering what a bromiliad is, probably the most commonly seen bromiliad is the Pineapple, Ananas comosus (actually more likely a hybrid with Ananas comosus in its distant parentage). If you cut off the top of your pineapple, dry it for a week on the windowsill, pull off the bottom leaves and plant it into a pot of soil, you can grow your own pineapple! Downside, it takes a few years, especially indoors, and even if you succeed, you only get one pineapple. It is easier to buy them in the store, right? Still, they are sweeter if ripened on the plant. If you have a warm spot with a lot of sun, give it a try.