Got six of these at an auction, and need to know exactly what they are so we can plant, feed, and water correctly.
This post was edited by Keggie on Fri, Mar 15, 13 at 21:48
we dont need a picture..
in good soil.. they dont NEED food.. they are not children..
you water them when they 'need' water.. insert finger and water when NEAR dry ..
plant .. get this.. roots down.. lol ... at the level planted in the pot ... mulch well to help you manage water per above ...
and finally.. NEVER fertilize a recent transplant ... to much potential for more shock..
We want to make sure they are not house plants as we are in zone 6 and don't want to kill them by planting them
They are houseplants, in fact. Some kind of bromeliad, Guzmania probably. While they'll enjoy being outside in the summer, bring them in before it frosts. They aren't cold hardy.
In addition to watering the pot, you can put water in the center of the leaves - these are epiphytes, they grow naturally on tree branches and the like, and catch water in their leaves because they aren't really growing in soil. Although you can pot them up like a normal houseplant, in potting soil. I don't feed mine often and they do OK; I don't think getting nutrients from the soil is as important for bromeliads as for most plants. As suggested above, do let the soil dry out a little before you water, I think sitting in constantly wet soil will rot the plant.
Those brightly colored bracts last a long time; eventually, new little plants will start growing around the base and the original flowering stem will die. That's the normal growth habit.
Weedwoman is correct. The roots on these are more intended to anchor the plant in its natural habitat rather than feed it. Outdoors it would obtain a lot of nutrients from water sitting it the "well" of its leaves - bits of leaves, insects etc would fall and decay and provide it nutrition. It still needs food though so a few slow -release beads on the top of the pot would be ok, or a terribly weak dose of water-soluable fertilizer but more sprayed over the leaves.
The potting mix itself should just be free-draining and not allowed to sit in water.
As they really feed through the leaves more than a lot of plants its important to keep the leaves healthy and free of dust, even indoors.
Maybe a couple of times a year give it a light spray under the shower or hose to get off dust, never use a leaf-cleaning product especially anything oil-based as that can really clog them up.
As was mentioned above the natural growth habit is for the plant to flower, and slowly die. Don't throw it out, put it somewhere where it can get similar conditions and it should produce one or more "pups" or babies which eventually (usually in another 2 -3 years) in turn will produce their own flowers.
Imagine how nice to turn your original 6 into a whole lot more of those beauties.
Can I just mention the Hippeastrum aka Amaryllis in the background? It appears to be sitting in glass of water with the bulb submerged. If that is the case it is not going to be happy for long.
I noticed that too, Flora!