Bright And Variegated Carolina Neoregelia

Bromeliads have long since ceased to be perceived as rare plants, although their belonging to the exotics is undoubted. But even among these bright beauties with peculiar rosettes of leaves in the form of a funnel, there are their favorites. Neoregelia Carolina is the most popular and quite easy to care for species with spectacular mottled patterns on the leaves. And although the inflorescence is hidden deep in the rosette, this plant also has something to conquer: around the unassuming flowers, the leaves are painted a delightful bright pink.

Bright and variegated Carolina neoregelia
Neoregelia carolinae (Neoregelia carolinae). © Manisha Rathi

Neoregelia bromeliad with bright patterns

Neoregelia carolinae (Neoregelia carolinae) is one of the most unconventional representatives of Bromeliad plants. Strict graphicality and at the same time - dazzling brightness captivate at first sight. This plant surprises, first of all, not by its structure or flowering, but by its bright color. And in spite of a big choice of indoor epiphytes and other lovers of humid tropical conditions, this species of neoregelia noticeably stands out of the whole genus and today is considered a fashionable and modern favorite.

It is in interiors with a bet on futuristic design that neoregelia is able to fully reveal its beauty. A plant with an unusual and austere appearance as if embodies all the best that can be inherent in bromeliads - interesting details, laconic forms and unusual character.

Neoregelia develops in the form of rather spreading, wide and flat funnel-shaped rosettes, typical of all bromeliads. The height of neoregelia is limited to 20 cm. The diameter of this plant is capable of reaching half a meter. The rosettes are formed by tongue-shaped, even, deep green leaves with rounded, slightly pointed edges. The glossiness adds beauty to the patterns and coloring, and the spiky edge gives the plant originality, but still does not detract from the simplicity of the lines.

Neoregelia Carolina on sale is more often found not with uniform green leaves, but with bright contrasting stripes of white or pink color, various variations of marbled pattern, which equally remain catchy and give the plant a defiant graphic. The "Tricolor" variety is considered the most beloved and "exemplary" variety.

The most attractive and most striking feature of the plant are the colored inner leaves closest to the inflorescence. With the beginning of flowering, they turn a dazzlingly bright pink-red. The nearer row of leaves is colored almost completely, the subsequent ones - partially, up to half or less. But there is a purple spot at the ends of all the leaves. Thus, it looks as if the plant is flaring up from the inside, paint has been poured into its center, or the rosettes are bleeding. The bright colors of the inner leaves combine perfectly with the rich green tone and mottled patterns of the rest of the rosette.

Unlike many bromeliad competitors, Neoregelia does not form a massive, rising above the rosette of leaves on a pedicel inflorescence. The flowers of this beauty are as if bashfully hidden in the axils of the inner leaves, the inflorescence is hidden in the depth of the rosette. So, the flowers of this beauty can be appreciated only up close when looking closely. Asymmetrical with narrow pointed petals, rather pale in color (brighter, lilac-blue only on the tip), with fused with stamens petals, the flowers are arranged in a peculiar cyst-like inflorescence, which is hardly visible from a distance and forms an unusual lush center in a funnel.

Flowering of neoregelia traditionally lasts from June to September, but even at other times of the year you can find varieties blooming at other times and adorned with brightly colored inner leaves on sale. After flowering, the mother rosette dies off, forming replacement daughter rosettes.

Home care for neoregelia

Neoregelia will suit both experienced and novice florists. This plant feels great in normal room conditions and is not too demanding to the temperature regime. For success in its cultivation it is enough to take care of careful watering, proper feeding and increasing the humidity of the air. No special difficulties are caused by Neoregelia carolinae.

Bright and variegated Carolina neoregelia
Neoregelia carolinae. © Jon VanZile

Lighting for Neoregelia

Selecting comfortable lighting for Neoregelia is easy enough. This plant does not tolerate direct sunlight, but regardless of its stage of development and time of year, it needs stable, bright, diffused light. In summer, the plants are placed so as to eliminate the risk of sunlight, but also to provide as much light as possible. In winter, the light level is changed by moving the neoregelia to lighter places or organizing additional illumination. In artificial light, both partial and full, Neoregelia grows quite well.

Comfortable temperature regime

The Neoregelia does not give trouble with the selection of the temperature range. This plant in the period of active development feels perfectly well at normal room rates, develops well and actively flowers at room temperature. The temperature range of 20 to 25 degrees is considered optimal. If there's no possibility to make the plant overwintering cooler, the Neoreghelia will feel well in the room conditions, but in this case the mother rosette will not last as long. Increasing the temperature to 16-18 degrees will prolong flowering of the plant, and to be exact, the period during which the bright color of bracts will remain (up to half a year). If the temperature is not lowered compared to spring and summer temperatures, this period will last only 3 months. Lowering the temperature is necessary solely to preserve the rosette of leaves for a longer period.

This plant needs as frequent aeration as possible, constant access to fresh air. In places with stagnant air, in close proximity to other plants should not be placed neoregelia. At the same time, ventilation must be carried out carefully, since neoregelia is afraid of drafts regardless of the stage of development. The plant should not be taken out into the fresh air, even if placed in sheltered places on a balcony or terrace.

Bright and variegated Carolina neoregelia
Hybrid Neoregelia Corolina, cultivar 'Inkwell'. © Jardin Boricua
Bright and variegated Carolina neoregelia
Hybrid Neoregelia Corolina, variety 'Crayola' (Neoregelia 'Crayola'). © Jardin Boricua
Bright and variegated Carolina neoregelia
Hybrid Neoregelia Corolina, cultivar 'Frasiers Grande'. © Jardin Boricua

Watering and Humidity

The watering regime of Neoregelia is very simple. This plant is watered directly into the rosette of leaves, using the classic method for bromeliads. But there are quite a few rules for such watering. Watering should be carried out only in the morning hours, and the water should be used not only soft, watered down, but also quite warm: the water temperature should be 3 degrees higher than the air temperature in the room where there is this fashionista. In winter, the risk of rosette rotting increases and neoregelia can be transferred to more restrained watering by the classical method (under the root, not inside the rosette) for the whole period of keeping in low temperatures.

Like all bromeliads, neoregelia needs high air humidity. It is worth to focus on a minimum of 60%. The best humidity regime for this plant is provided by florariums or flower showcases, keeping in a greenhouse with other tropical plants. But you can achieve spectacular flowering and leaf beauty from plants in ordinary living rooms as well. To do this, take care of two measures to increase air humidity at once: frequent spraying, up to several times a day in combination with the installation of humidifiers or trays with wet moss, pebbles, expanded clay.

The large, glossy leaves of the plant are very easily attracted to dust. The simple lines and concise forms of neoregelia cause any neglect to be very visible. Frequent wiping of the leaves with a damp cloth or sponge helps keep the plant attractive and keeps it healthy. When wiping the leaves, take care not to touch the serrated or spiky edge of the leaf plates.

Fertilizers for neoregelia

This plant is fed by foliar method, still adding fertilizers to watering water as for most indoor plants, but watering the nutrient solution not the soil, but pouring it directly into the rosette of leaves.

Fertilizers for this plant are made only from May and until September. The frequency should be quite rare: an overabundance of nutrients in the soil neoregelia does not like. It is enough to carry out 1 procedure with an interval of 3-4 weeks.

For Neoregelia, it is better to use special fertilizer mixtures for bromeliad crops. Universal fertilizer is not suitable for this beauty.

Bright and variegated Carolina neoregelia
Hybrid Neoregelia Corolina, variety 'Lady Linda'. © Jardin Boricua
Bright and variegated Carolina neoregelia
Hybrid Neoregelia Corolina, variety 'Twinkie' (Neoregelia 'Twinkie'). © Jardin Boricua
Bright and variegated Carolina neoregelia
Hybrid Neoregelia Corolina, variety 'Wild Rabbit' (Neoregelia 'Wild Rabbit'). © Jardin Boricua

Trimming Neoregelia

Damaged leaves on the plant are best cut off in a timely manner. The mother rosette dies off by itself after flowering, and it is simply removed when transplanting, replacing it with young plants.

Transplanting and substrate

Transplanting neoregelia is carried out only as needed, after the mother rosette dies off.

For neoregelia use a special soil for bromeliads. The main thing is that the earth mixture should be loose enough, rough, airy, allowing the plant to breathe. Neoregelia Carolina, like all epiphytic species of this genus, prefers soils containing sphagnum and pine bark.

The transplanting procedure itself should be done very carefully, with minimal contact with the plant root system, except for the necessary separation from the old dead rosette. It is better to treat the places of damage with charcoal or fungicide. At the bottom of the container necessarily lay drainage. Its height should be at least a third of the height of the container. When transplanting, the key to success is to maintain the level of neck submergence: even a few millimeters of sprinkling with substrate can lead to death from the spread of rot. So, the level of submergence of the root neck should be paid increased attention.

After transplanting, young plants should preferably be kept under a hood or in high humidity, in warmth, at temperatures from 22 degrees of heat, if possible - with lower heating for optimal rooting. In the initial period it is very dangerous for them to get too wet.

Diseases and pests of Neoregelia

Neoregelia often suffers from powdery mildew, aphids, scale, spider mites if the comfortable conditions of cultivation or improper care are violated. And the scales are most often represented by a specific pest - bromeliad scales, which affects the leaves on both sides and sooner or later leads to their yellowing and dying off. It is desirable to fight any pests on this plant immediately by treating with insecticides.

Sometimes neoregellia suffers from fusariosis, but the only reason for its appearance is overwatering of the soil. A quick correction of care helps to save the plant, but if it spreads strongly, the lower part will die completely and it will be very difficult to save the neoregelia.

Common problems in cultivation:

  • appearance of light or brown spots on the leaves when exposed to direct sunlight;
  • drying of leaf tips in low humidity or in drafts.
Bright and variegated Carolina neoregelia
Hybrid Neoregelia Coroline, cultivar 'Nonis' (Neoregelia 'Nonis'). © chiajm

Propagation of Neoregelia

The easiest way to propagate this plant, like the rest of the bromeliad family, is to separate daughter rosettes. After the end of flowering, neoregelia form numerous offshoots. They can be carefully separated together with the formed roots as soon as 3-4 leaves are formed in the daughter rosette. But in order to keep such offspring, it is necessary to provide them with greenhouse conditions and extremely high temperatures of 22 to 28 degrees.

Daily ventilation will reduce the risk of spreading diseases and pests until growth resumes. After signs of rooting, resumption of growth, young neoregellia should be slowly accustomed to standard conditions, stretching the period of adaptation over several weeks, including gradually changing both air humidity and temperature.

It is also possible to propagate neoregellia by seeds. Before sowing, they should be treated in a manganese solution and dried after disinfection. Seeding is carried out not in the substrate, but in crushed sphagnum, covering the containers with film or glass and placing them in a temperature of 25 to 28 degrees. Spraying for seeds is carried out daily, along with airing the greenhouse. Usually, the seeds of neoregelia germinate in 2-3 weeks, but it is not easy to save the plants. Sprouts can be pickled only after 2-3 months, flowering will have to wait at least 3 - 4 years.

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