|Alcantarea imperialis in flower|
|Neoregelia Fireball type|
|Neoregelia Fireball variant|
In our local climate in coastal Miami, we can grow so many interesting plants that one lifetime really is not enough to tackle all of them. You could spend a lifetime on just one group.One of the most useful and diverse groups of landscape plants is bromeliads, which are surprisingly misunderstood as well as underused. Many people know bromeliads from what they see at big-box stores or at the supermarket. These flashy but rather weak soft-leaf plants can last for several months as houseplants, but fail fairly fast in the landscape. My interests have gone toward the landscape-grade bromeliads, and what a marvelous variety there is in this group. The array of landscape bromeliads ranges from small, rock-dwelling types a few inches tall to massive, 7 foot landscape giants with 6 foot flower stems. Many of these landscape types require rather little care once established, can grow in nearly all day sunlight and qualify easily as xeriphyte landscape plants.
One of the troublesome aspects of landscaping with "new" or underused plants is that they are seen so rarely in public landscapes. Many of the so-called "hard-leaf" bromeliads are incredibly easy to grow, multiply into tightly bunched groups, can grow into rafts on trees, and can be planted easily in the leaf bases of palms. This is almost impossible to do with almost any other plant group except orchids, and even then it isn't a fair fight: bromeliads win. The largest downside to many of the good landscape types is that they have small teeth on the leaf edges, but a skilled gardener can weed amongst many of them with bare hands ( as I do). Apparently, small leaf-teeth make all hard-leaf bromeliads unacceptable, but what a disservice to the plants !
|Aechmea Blue Tango|
|Neoregelia Passion hybrid|