September’s here and so is fall,
The heat is over
Autumn has come
Fall gardening has begun!
Our Master Gardener, Heather Cowley presented a program on air plants (she also teaches this program at the UF/IFAS Extension Center on Conway Road).
We Green Thumbers cried, “What is an air plant?” Autumn gardener Heather taught us that they are Tillandsia plants, part of the bromeliad family and a part of the pineapple family Bromeliaceae. Some of these Florida bromeliads are “tank” bromeliads which means they hold water between the leaf axils. These provide habitats for mosquito larvae.
Care and maintenance of these air plants involve bright light but not directly on them. Good air circulation: an occasional light mist of water. Spray until the water runs, let them dry out between watering, water them once a week regardless and occasionally use a liquid fertilizer. Air plants can be purchased at farmer’s markets, online or at garden centers.
All of Florida’s native bromeliad species and two natural hybrids are epiphytic, which means they grow on other plants. Ten of our Florida’s native species are listed as threatened or endangered due to: loss of habitat, illegal collecting of specimens from natural areas, and a non-native Mexican bromeliad weevil.
This was all welcome news to autumn gardeners.
Next month’s program will be by an autumn gardener, Sylvia Cox who will present a program about perennials for central Florida. She has invited Robert Bouden from Leu Gardens to give the presentation.