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Ordering bromeliads to bloom on cue.

Tropical bromeliads come from places with no marked seasonal differences in temperature or day length to trigger growth and flowering. As a result, their bloom season isn't entirely predictable. Christmas-jewels (Aechmea racinae) tends to produce its nodding cluster of yellow-tipped scarlet beads at holiday time. But not all plants perform on cue.

You can ensure flowering on many bromeliads (including the popular silverbanded, pink-plumed A. fasciata) by treating late bloomers with ethylene gas, Simply put the plant in a polyethylene bag, drop in a ripe apple, close the bag with twisted wire, and wait about a month for a flower spike to appear.

The apple generates enough ethylene to stimulate flower bud production. The principle is the same as that used to hasten ripening of kiwis or persimmons. (This same gas also hastens the maturing-and subsequent collapse-of flowers, cut or on the plant.)

Force in early November to have fully opened flowers by Christmas.
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Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Nov 1, 1988
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