Red (and Purple) Surprises Again

A quick follow up to my excited posting nearly a year ago about my bromeliad Billbergia coming into mass flower. It was late March and the bright red flower clusters emerged, en masse, from the necks of the bromeliads.

In the comments that followed, it seems these synchronous flowerings are typical for this species (Billbergia pyramidalis), and probably others in the genus. There was also a second flush 3-4 weeks later, in late April.

Well, in 2011 it's late February and the first dramatic flush is happening now. Not only in my garden but in the front yard of a place around the corner. So whatever triggers it has triggered it earlier than last year.

In response to a comment asking whether heavy rain in early February might be caused by the heavier than usual flowering and perhaps the second flowering in April, I said flowering time can be due to day length changes (i.e fixed) or rainfall and temperature - and probably a few other things too, like nutrients and stress to a plant by storm damage and so on and so on.

So given this flowering flush is a month earlier, and in more than one garden, we could theorise that it is triggered by weather rather than day length. As to when the critical 'weather' happened, that would take a little science to work out.

Image: Billbergia pyramidalis flower stalks, old and new (photographed in a previous year - this year's are still all new...)