Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making a Neroegelia Kahili

Some species of Bromeliad reproduce by stolens. In nature, the stolens root into the ground, where they establish roots.  One can use this characteristic in cultivation, to display the plants. In this article, I will demonstrate how to build a Kahili, using very inexpensive materials.

The bromeliad species I used is Neoregelia Fireball 'Donger.'

You will need some welded wire fencing with 2" x 4" holes. You can purchase this in different widths. I chose 36" wide by 18" long to make two Kahili. The cooler pad is an inexpensive alternative to Sphagnum moss or Coco Fiber to line the inside.

Cut out the frame of the Kahili, leaving 1/2" of wire at one end. You will fold this over to fasten.

Cut a piece of cooler pad to match the frame, leaving a very small overlap. The overhanging netting will be used for the bottom to hold the potting soil.

Shape the frame and pad into a circle, fastening the 1/2" wire.
This is what the Kahili should look like at this stage.

Take the hanger you will use to hang the finished product, and cut off two pieces of excess wire. Weave the wire through the excess netting and bend the ends around the bottom of the Kahili.
The bottom of the Kahili should look like this.

This is what the inside should look like.

Fill the Kahili with a good quality potting soil, and attach the hanger.

The Kahili is ready for its plants.

Cut the stolens off the host plant that you wish to use on the Kahili, using a single edge razor blade. Make the cuts at a slight angle, so the pointed end can penetrate the cooler pad more easily.

Insert the stolens in a uniform pattern into the Kahili. Since Bromeliads get their moisture from the rosettes of the leaves, it may be necessary to tie the stolens against the Kahili until the roots are established.

Hang the finished product, label, water and enjoy!

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