for cool spots
LIVE on a sunny site on a hill near Nelson and wondered if the cold
climate would suit some bromeliads. There are some frost-free areas,
one being protected from harsh winds with palms, succulents and
ferns growing. But I need an injection of colour. Would I be best
to grow them in pots and bring them on to a covered veranda for
orchids, the bromeliad family contains some species that require
warm conditions to thrive and others that are adapted to cooler
temperatures. Unfortunately, the hardiest types, such as puya and
dyckia, which can tolerate several degrees frost, are generally
not very colourful and tend to be rather prickly.
You could try the slightly
less prickly varieties of Aechmea recurvata which have colourful
flowers and at the same time the surrounding foliage becomes brightly
coloured. Varieties of neoregelia with colourful foliage should
also do well - 'Sharlock', 'Fireball' and 'Noble Descent' are just
a few of the many hundreds of hybrids available that grow in a range
For impact as well as
colour, you could try some of the more stately varieties of vriesea
such as V. fosteriana, V. platynema, V. hieroglyphica
and their hybrids, which are becoming more in demand as gardeners
realise their potential. Also worth considering are varieties of
alcantarea, though they can get quite large. Check out www.kiwibromeliads.co.nz
for more information on vrieseas and alcantareas.
Most of the above will
grow quite happily planted in the ground in frost-free spots, but
they're also great container plants. It sounds as if the area under
your palms is an ideal spot to try your first planting of bromeliads.
As a general rule, aechmeas can stand full sun, neoregelias can
tolerate some sun, while vrieseas vary in their light tolerance,
depending on variety. For example V. hieroglyphica is best
in light shade, while some of the vriesea hybrids are best in quite
strong light yet sheltered from direct hot summer sun.
Gardener, Issue 174, 2005, Page 28
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.