sent a photo of one of my bromeliads which is growing oddly. A friend
told me there's not much I can do about it. Have you any tips?
Vriesea hybrid is suffering from a problem known as quilling or
fluting. It's not caused by any pest or disease though the real
reason for this distorted growth is not fully understood. Some experts
believe it's brought on by lack of water while others say cool weather
brings on the symptoms. The misshapen growth seems to be caused
by the developing leaves sticking together as they emerge.
A good way to relieve
the symptoms is to mix half a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid (I
use Sunlight) in two litres of water. Empty out as much of the existing
water that's in the central vase of the plant as you can then pour
in the dishwashing solution. Pour in plenty, so the central vase
fills up and the solution overflows into the joints of the surrounding
leaves. Don't worry if it runs down into the mix, it won't damage
Leave the plant for
a week or two and you'll probably find the leaves gradually spread
apart and growth resumes its natural shape. In severe cases you
may have to give the plant several treatments 2-3 weeks apart before
it fully returns to normal. You could also try teasing the leaves
apart by hand a day or so after you've applied the solution, but
be gentle as the leaves can break away easily from the base. Leave
the soapy solution as long as you like.
Gardener, Issue 137, 2003, Page 27
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.