Brought to you by Black Orchid Management, Ltd.
If you were to ask me what I like most about flowers, I will tell you, they make me happy. They are beautiful to look at. Have you ever seen someone gaze upon a beautiful flower and stay in a bad mood? NEVER! Flowers, lift our spirits, they can change our mood, they make us happy and it is the one way, that we can tell someone we love them, simply by handing them a flower. Please follow me on my journey through the Belize rain forest jungle, to explore all the different flowers there are to see. I sincerely hope you enjoy my series entitled "Flowers of Belize".
These fascinating tropical flowers, are native to Belize and decorate our tropical rain forests. They come in a wonderful variety of sizes, shapes and foliage colors. They seem very strange and exotic, but one common fruit in this family is the pineapple. There are many varieties of Bromelaids, one for any given situation. Some make very good indoor plants, while others can be quite spectacular grown in the garden.
Many bromeliads are very colorful but this color comes from floral leaves or bracts which hold the smaller, less obvious flowers. Many bromeliads color more vibrantly when the plants are flowering. Bromeliads are very hardly and grow easily in the Belizean rain forests.
Here is a list of a few varieties of Bromelaids. We will discuss some of these in the next few blog posts.
The plants in this genus are mostly epiphytic. One of the best known is Aechmea fasciata or 'Silver King', which has long lasting, pretty pink flowers and is often used as an indoor plant.
The commercially grown pineapple, Ananas comosus is a member of this genus.
There are around 60 species of Billbergia, which are colourful and well suited to growing in the garden around the base of trees. They clump up quickly to form good flower displays, although the inflorescence (flower head) on some species is short lived.
This is a terrestrial group from Brazil, which needs plenty of room for root development. They are best suited to warm climates.
Plants in this genus have interesting and varied foliage, and sword like eye-catching flowers. They are easy to grow and are good bromeliads for beginners to try.
True air plants, tillandsias range in size from the tiny T. bryoides (1cm or 0.4") to the giant T. grandis which can grow up to 3 metres (9') tall. Also in this group is T. usneoides, commonly known as old man's whiskers or Spanish moss, which looks like spider webs hanging from the trees. Apart from its ornamental uses, this material can be used for padding in upholstery.
Members of this family have beautiful green foliage and colourful, big open flowers. The coloured flower spikes last many months.
Neoregelias and their many hybrids are very colourful and easy to grow. The inner leaves of many species turn a brilliant reddish colour just before flowering. The most commonly grown species is Neoregelia carolinae, also known as the 'Blushing Bromeliad'.
Bromeliads are hardy plants which can be grown outdoors in most areas. They're also worth a try in mountain regions but they need protection from cold and frost. Bromeliads grow well in pots. They require a light, open potting mix with good drainage. When potting don't forget that the leaves hold water, so it's important to keep the central cup upright. Bromeliads can also be grown in the garden in a well-drained compost on top of the soil. They like warmth and humidity, but must have good air movement. Bromeliads like moist conditions but not too much water. Over watering may kill your Bromelaid, so please be careful.