This week’s plant is Neoregelia ‘Mini Skirt’. Neoregelia is a genus of bromeliads. Mini Skirt is a hybrid. We use lots of bromeliads in the vivariums we create. They are not only very attractive plants, but extremely useful as well. In Central and South America, where bromeliads are native (some range into southern North America), they are used by many small animals, especially frogs and notably dart frogs, as shelter and even as breeding vessels for their tadpoles. Since vivariums typically house many dart frogs, we of course use bromeliads to help meet the needs of the dart frogs. Not just any bromeliad will do. They must meet certain requirements. Neoregelia ‘Mini Skirt’ is an example of the perfect vivarium bromeliad. In fact, most of the best vivarium bromeliads are members of the genus Neoregelia. There are specific requirements that characterize a good vivarium bromeliad, besides good looks, which Mini Skirt definitely has. First, the bromeliad must not grow too large. They must fit in with the scale of a vivarium. Mini Skirt grows to only about 4-5” in diameter. Second, they should have broad leaves with deep axils that hold lots of water. Mini Skirt holds a very large amount of water for a bromeliad of its size. Third, it is desirable if the bromeliad will root itself to the vivarium tree in a reasonable period of time. Some bromeliads are primarily used terrestrially, which means we plant them on the vivarium floor, in the planting mix. Most bromeliads will do very well there. But we want bromeliads that will do well growing on the tree. We call plants that grow on trees epiphytes. We need epiphytic bromeliads for the thumbnail (small), dart frogs that like to live and often breed up in the trees. Mini Skirt makes a good epiphytic bromeliad. As long as it is properly attached to the tree, kept moist and fertilized, it will root itself within a few months. So Mini Skirt is an ideal vivarium bromeliad – beautiful, small, with good water-holding capacity and epiphytic potential.