Bromeliads for the backyard

In my previous post I talked about redoing the bed you see on the right in the photo below:

But why stop there? Let's swing around to the left:

While I didn't do any major renovation here (that was done last year), I've been adding more bromeliads. This includes plants I brought home from the 2019 Bromeliad Summit in Santa Barbara and from Hortlandia.
I'm still not fully confident that these bromeliads are hardy enough to be outside all the time, although those I had were out all winter. But I don't read too much into that, seeing how last winter was so mild.

With the exception of a few aechmeas (Aechmea recurvata var. benrathii and Aechmea gamosepala), all bromeliads are in pots. To make sure they don't dry out too fast, I use black plastic pots—they're fairly easy to hide among the existing in-ground plants (like Carex and Hakonechloa). To gain a bit of extra height, I placed some of them on top of inverted pots.

While I'll continue to make tweaks over time, I'm pretty happy with the way things look right now.

So much color, most of it from foliage

Top left: Neoregelia carcharodon 'Tiger'
Center right: Bilbergia nutans 'Variegata (this one has particularly nice variegation)
Bottom left: Neoregelia chlorosticta

Wider view

The Neoregelia mounted to the chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) came from Dick's greenhouse in Portland (see this post on danger garden). It already came mounted on a piece of driftwood. I got the Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) on eBay; there are lots of sellers in Florida, South Carolina, etc. who harvest it fresh from their property.
The white-and-green striped beauty is Guzmania 'Denise'. It will definitely be a houseplant in the winter.

This year's Show and Sale of the Sacramento Bromeliad and Carnivorous Plant Society will be on June 15 and 16. I got some nice plants there last year at terrific prices—a fraction of what you'd pay in a specialty nursery. I'll definitely go back next month!

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  1. Your display looks great, Gerhard. Perhaps I need to follow your example. The raccoons have ravaged my small bromeliad area more times than I can count and it's done the plants no good. My current plan is to bury stone pieces in a crevice garden style format and wedge the plants between the stones but yours may be the better approach.

    1. I'm so sorry racoons are still giving you a headache. We've been so lucky in that respect.

      A crevice garden would be stunning! I've often thought of creating a small one...

  2. It looks amazing. So clever and a great contrast to the succulents the other side.

    1. The side where the bromeliads are is much shadier so succulents would likely struggle.

  3. good call putting them in pots like that- if we have a real winter this year it will be easy to move them out of harms way. I think that area turned out great.

  4. I was just working on my post with photos of your garden and loved hw this area looked then, now it’s even better!

  5. The bromeliad area along with the banana plant give this area a totally different look than your front. Can picture enjoying the view with a cold one. Curious how the broms do in the extreme heat of summer. Do you have to mist/spray them daily?

    1. Yeah, I wanted a different look. More lush and tropical.

      The bromeliads were OK last summer. On really hot days, I give them a spray every day, just 5 seconds or so. That seems to help.

  6. So impressed you're keeping up with the names! Must commit to memory Neoregelia chlorosticta...

    1. Don't be impressed. All I know is how to look up stuff :-)

      Here's a botanical name I recently came across. I saved it because it's the most unpronounceable name I've ever seen--all components of it:

      ×Forzzautskyia (Forzzaea warasii × Rokautskyia microglaziouii)


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