Adventures in Repotting

I finally got around to repotting and dividing my Billbergia (pyramidalis?) ‘Foster’s Striate’.  I’m not convinced the species is actually pyramidalis but I do know the cultivar is Foster’s Striate.  I got it from the Como Park Conservatory in Saint Paul, MN about two years ago for the budget stretching price of $5.  It probably is one of the best bargains I’ve ever found (I never find plain old Guzmania for $5 let alone a rather uncommon bromeliad).  It turns out it was a division of a plant in their collection.  The summer after I purchased it it flowered.  The flowers were beautiful but short lived.  I don’t think I ever even ended up getting a picture of it.  This one is grown for its true flowers unlike most bromeliads which are grown for their showy bracts.  They basically looked like the flower of the plant on the Wikipedia page except on steroids (the inflorescence was about twice as large).  Anyways onward to my repotting adventures!

It was a fairly standard repotting, the only thing different than normal was the types of soil involved.  Customers at my old job were always intimidated by repotting bromeliads but it’s really not that hard.  You don’t want to use regular potting soil.  When I took this one out it was potted in what looks like an epiphytic orchid mix.

The roots were really tough so I wasn’t really worried as I pried loose all the old soil.  The roots were surprisingly similar to Phragmipedium orchids (thin and leathery).

This guy wasn’t horribly root bound but I still wanted to repot it because the top growth was getting a bit out of control.

After getting all the soil out it was simply a matter of dividing the plant into two clumps and repotting it.  The two sections were the original pups that sprouted after the mother plant bloomed (and then passed on).  They’ve now got 4 new plants growing in each clump.  For the sake of my sanity (and lack of real estate) I left it in two clumps instead of making 8 new plants.  They were connected by a thick stem that simply got snipped so they’d break apart.

The soil I selected is basically a mix of coir (shredded coconut husk), horticultural charcoal and tree fern fiber.  Nice and well drained with a bit more moisture retention than the last soil (that I was watering almost every day).  The actual repotting was pretty straight forward…cut off the dead roots, stick some soil in the pot, stick plant in pot and back fill.

The two finished plants ended up really nice.  They look a lot more clean and healthy (the second one has some trimming to do on it but I’m going to let it recover before attacking it).


5 thoughts on “Adventures in Repotting

  1. I don’t even like bromeliads, but this is a pretty plant!

    Also – mwahahaha, I don’t have to do my repotting on newspapers any more! I should really post about all the repotting I’ve done, but I’m too lazy.

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