How to grow alcantarea, an amazing tropical plant for your garden
If you want to draw attention to your garden, alcantarea is one of the fastest growing bromeliads that you should consider, as it has a spectacular foliage shape and color. Landscapers, generally, tend to plant the alcantarea with other resistant plants such as: aloe, ginger, cordyline or heliconia.
The alcantarea grows up to two meters tall and almost the same wide, making it a splendid plant, ideal for places where there is full sun or partial shade. If you don’t have room to plant it outside, don’t worry, you can place it in a large container.
This wonderful plant is available in 16 species, but the most popular is Alcantarea imperialis Rubra. The foliage of this plant is grayish-green tinged with red, but in cold climates it can change color to a deep maroon.
Bromeliad thrives in a variety of climates and can tolerate light frosts once they are established. Plant the alcantarea in full sun or martial shade and protect it from strong winds.
Alcantarea thrives in most climates, from tropical to temperate and even cool, frost-free areas. It can tolerate light frosts once established.
Plant in full sun to part shade and protect from strong winds. Red tones of ‘Rubra’ develop best in full sun.
Extremely free-draining soils or potting mix is essential, as wet soggy roots are fatal. If soil isn’t well draining, build up beds with orchid mix and plant alcantarea on top, taking care not to plant too deeply. Maintain the same soil level as in the original container.
They need little water, relying on rainfall, except in the hottest, dry periods. Mist over plant and around root zone with fine spray when humidity is low; there’s no need to fill the centre cup.
Little is needed, but a sprinkle of controlled-release fertiliser such as Yates Acticote or Scotts Osmocote Plus Trace Elements around the root zone in spring will help.
Choose large pots at least 50 cm to one meter wide and deep with several drainage holes and fill with orchid mix (peat mix, leaf compost, orchid substrate or sphagnum moss). Remember that the best soil to plant is one that has good drainage, since wet and soggy roots are extremely harmful to the plant. However, spray on the plant and around the roots when the humidity is low and fertilize around the root zone in spring with a controlled-release fertilizer.
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