Plant ID forum: Plant ID: Agave or Bromeliad?

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South Florida
May 2, 2016 4:41 PM CST
Hello everyone,

I have always taken care of these plants due to sentimental value because a family member brought one shoot from Thailand around 15 yrs ago.

They propagate by new shoots growing next to each other. The leaves turn from green to yellow when larger but here they haven't grown as much. I think the soil is not the correct Ph or acidity. When the leaves grow and start turning yellow, some red spots start forming and even along the central vein you can see a red line. The leaves then get damaged, rot, and die. The central newer leaves do stay healthy but this cycle has not allowed them to grow bigger.

I would like to know what they are so I can take care of them better by improving the soil and fetilizer. I have tried Milorganite and it seems to be working, but cycle continues. Many years ago, they were growing in another property near the ocean and they were bright yellow and huge like some big bromeliads we have. These are only about 1.5 ft tall and the ones on the pictures are as big as they get after around 4 years of growth in my backyard.

I was thinking about testing with different kinds of soil combinations, from sandy to lose bark and maybe even throwing some coffe grinds on one of them to see if it has any positive effect. It would be easier if someone could help me figure out what species they are and care of them correctly.

Thank you for your help!
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)

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May 2, 2016 4:55 PM CST
Welcome @kgonzalka.

I think we can rule out them being any variety of bromeliad. At least they are unlike any I am familiar with. You'll need to tell us more about their care. I know you tried Milorganite, which is simply a slow-release, nitrogen fertilizer. Apparently this is not a nitrogen problem. Have you tried dosing them with Epson salts, a good source of magnesium? What other type(s) of fertilizer have you used. Give those three numbers indicating the ratio. Coffee grounds won't help.

I expect someone to come up with a name for the plant. Knowing that will go a long way towards knowing what these plants need. You also need to go to your "Profile" and update your public profile so that we know where you are. Location is very important.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
South Florida
May 2, 2016 5:05 PM CST
Thanks for your reply.

I haven't tried any salts or magnesium but I did try Osmocote which I suspect might be the reason of the red spots, but regardless they have been growing for years and the same thing happens, and the big leaves die off and no further growth is acheived.

I thought maybe coffee grinds might change the acidity of the soil but I read that somewhere and I suspect acidity might be an issue. The ones you see in the pictures have just been transplanted from their original location infront of the house. My location is South Florida.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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May 2, 2016 5:18 PM CST
Might your plant be a Pandanus? also called Pandan? This is a popular plant in Thailand and can only be propagated from cuttings/shoots as it will not make seeds. Most Thai households have at least one Pandanus plant outside the kitchen door.

If yours is a is one video that might help.

Here is another link for Pandan:
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
May 2, 2016 5:34 PM CST
Perhaps what you have is the Thai yellow crinum lily.

and some care info:
South Florida
May 2, 2016 5:51 PM CST
I think that's it!!!

my plants should be as big as that one on the picture. Thats how I remember them many years ago. I live close by to the place where that picture was taken so I will make a trip down there to make sure.

Earlier today I had browsed through maybe two thousand plants searching for them. I appreciate your knowledge and quick response.

Thank you very much for your help.
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
May 2, 2016 6:17 PM CST
Welcome! @kgonzalka

You are very welcome. The flowers are fragrant and the yellow to yellow-green foliage makes them a real eye catcher in the garden.

One thing I have discovered about Crinums in general, is they do not like to be disturbed and it can take them a couple years to quit pouting and start growing and blooming. Even if you keep them in containers, they like to sit undisturbed until they become pot bound. They will go dormant in winter and appear to die back to the ground. In spring, back they come and when mature, they will bloom nicely.
South Florida
May 2, 2016 6:32 PM CST
That's very interesting to me.

From the hundreds of plants we have transplanted or seen growing in our backyards I have never seen a flower. Also, maybe due to the fact that its "summer" all year long around here, our plants have never gone dormant or appear to die back to the ground. They basically look the same.

Maybe these are all indications of the bad soil (incorrect soil) in which they live.

Naively, I thought I was the only one in the area with this kind of plant because I have never seen one anywhere else, even when I went to Thailand myself. Therefore, I HAVE to go check that plant on the picture you sent me, which is no more than 15 minutes from my home.

I will post back with my findings, and maybe I get a chance to talk to the gardener at Vizcaya, which I have visited every time when someone comes to visit ...but never noticed the huge plant at the entrance.

So is it a type of agave?

Again, many thanks.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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May 2, 2016 6:43 PM CST
I agree on Crinum lily.
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
May 2, 2016 10:22 PM CST
No, not an Agave. It is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. That is a group that includes amaryllis, crinum. agapanthus, narcissus and others.

My crinums don't all go dormant either, and some of the species are hardy in colder climates.

I look forward to your post.
Name: Feng Xiao Long
Bogor, Java, Indonesia (Zone 13a)
Purslane Tropicals Plant Identifier
May 3, 2016 2:35 AM CST
Agree. Its thai yellow crinum. It must be have a bulb or swelling at the base just like a leek. I have saw them at city garden but dont remember if i have seen them flowering.

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