EASY STEPS TO BROMELIAD PROJECTS
BRANCH OUT WITH YOUR BROMELIADS
There’s nothing quite so spectacular as having a bunch of bromeliads growing out of a tree – their thick, variegated foliage and exotic flowers in stark contrast to the tree’s branches and leaves. In their natural habitat, this is what bromeliads do but you may have to give them a helping hand.
GO OUT ON A LIMB Make your own bromeliad tree (see Project 1) or decorate your garden trees. Ideally, the trees have low branches to give shelter from the wind and sun, and rough bark to give something for the bromeliads to cling onto. It’s best if the trees don’t shed their bark.
Wrap the roots of the bromeliad in sphagnum moss or coconut fibre and tie it around the trunk or branch with pantyhose or hessian. Over time, the roots will grip the trunk or branch.
GROWING FAMILY Eventually, each plant will produce pups and so a colony is made. If you run out of trees – or space – hang a bromeliad bauble (see Project 2) from the rafters.
Gather your supplies
• PVC pipe, 25mm x 1m long
• 2mm and 1.5mm bonsai wire
• Coir fibre matting, 100cm wide
• Button head screws
• Bromeliad plants with pups and cuttings (we used a combination of Aechmea, Vriesea and Neoregelia)
You’ll also need Drill with 3mm drill bit; side cutters; natural twine; timber offcut; hammer; four small head nails; elastic bands
PROJECT 1 BROMELIAD TREE
STEP 1 If you want to hang your bromeliad tree, drill 2 holes through one end of the PVC pipe and make a loop with 2mm bonsai wire.
STEP 2 Attach end of coir matting to pipe by inserting 4 button head screws, evenly spaced.
STEP 3 Roll matting around pipe and tie at 5 evenly spaced points with natural twine for growing roots to attach themselves to.
STEP 4 To make a tree stand, hammer 4 small head nails into timber offcut and press pipe into nails to stand it upright.
STEP 5 Slip about 10 elastic bands around the pipe, evenly spaced.
STEP 6 Remove bromeliads from pots, shake off excess potting medium, leaving only bark/material attached to roots. Cut pups from mother plants (see Puppy Love, page 76).
STEP 7 Slide bromeliads, cuttings and pups in between coir and elastic bands from the top down.
STEP 8 Secure plants in place with 1.5mm bonsai wire around top of roots. Over time, the bromeliads will attach to the twine and matting, and you can remove the elastic bands and wire. PROJECT 2
Gather your supplies
• 2 hanging baskets with coir fibre liner
• 2mm bonsai wire
• 12 bromeliads
• Sphagnum moss
You’ll also need Side cutters; nail; scissors; cable ties (optional)
For you to note:
Don’t use wire made from copper, galvanised steel or zinc. Aluminium wire is best.
STEP 1 Remove chains from baskets and attach coir fibre liner to baskets with bonsai wire, using nail to poke holes in the liner for the wire.
STEP 2 Remove bromeliads from their pots, shake off excess potting medium, leaving only bark/ material attached to roots.
STEP 3 Decide where you want your plants –
6 for each basket. Use nail to make holes in liners, then cut incisions the same size as the diameter of the bromeliads’ root balls with scissors.
STEP 4 Carefully poke bromeliad roots through to inside of baskets.
STEP 5 Reattach the chains to one basket with bonsai wire or cable ties. Hang the top basket.
STEP 6 Fill bottom basket with sphagnum moss and build a mound of the moss so it will fill the top basket.
STEP 7 Attach bottom basket to top basket with bonsai wire or cable ties. Regularly turn ball upside down to ensure all plants get the same amount of sunshine and cups get equal amounts of water.
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