Head off the beaten path to find…Bromeliads

Don't know the name of this beauty, but the red bracts and purple flowers are stunning!

Say what? What is a Bromeliad? It is a really cool tropical plant that does not grow naturally in my neck of the woods…Michigan.

Some types you might have heard of are…air plant (Tillandsia) a spiky silvery stiff leaved plant that may be seen growing on bark (or trees in their native habitat)…or silver vase plant (Aechmea fasciata) with a pink bloom and overlapping cupped stiff leaves that hold water. The plant actually forms a vase in the center and you probably could put cut flowers in it. Watering is done by filling the plant cavities and a bit on the soil or misting or dunking the air plants.

I think this is Neoregelia "Pink Sensation" x N. "Passion" x N. "Grace"...isn't she gorgeous?

Paul Wingert has been collecting, growing, learning about and hybridizing bromeliads for over 30 years! There are many more varieties than I just mentioned. His collection numbers in the thousands! Yes, he keeps them inside a greenhouse in the winter.

Yesterday I visited his collection in Farmington Hills, Michigan which he will proudly show to anyone interested…and he usually has some nice plants for sale too. Contact him through his website http://sites/google.com/site/paulsbroms for an appointment…and all the advice and help to get you started.

Not only is his house a bit difficult to find…tucked away on a dirt road next to the freeway…but his plants are in a screen house that isn’t visible from his house. You take a path up the hill, winding through the woods…nicely landscaped with perennials…until you see the plants. OMG! There are a lot of them. Hanging, sitting on benches or the ground…and in special pot holders he purchased.

A few thousand Bromeliads cling, hang or perch in Paul Wingert's shade house and a few cacti also...

It is a bit overwhelming…I didn’t know where to look first, but Paul started to point out unusual varieties and some of the hybrids he had created and I started to see the differences in the plants…even for a novice like me. I am a Master Gardener…I write about and visit gardens…I also hope I’m smarter than a fifth grader…but I know nothing about bromeliads…

Looks like I’ll have to learn. I purchased a Tillandsia attached to a piece of cork bark with a bloom starting to form…can’t wait to see it!

If you want to know more about Paul Wingert’s bromeliads, visit him, catch him at a bromeliad show…check his website or just oggle the photos I have included…

If you are live in Michigan, watch for my article in the Michigan Gardener Magazine about Paul and his bromeliads…in 2011!

Several Tillandsia's thrown in a pile...they are also known as an air plant because they live attached to a tree in their natural habitat.

Have a great week…check out those bromeliads!


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One Response to Head off the beaten path to find…Bromeliads

  1. alexalen262 says:

    I care for this family of plants…it was love at first sight when I first saw them. You have such a beautiful garden…definitely a plants lover paradise. I´m all the time pleased with pictures of it.

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