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Mike's Blog - Day 279

A “Bromeliad” for you today, and not the first appearance I don’t think of this plant family in the blog. The most familiar member of this family to you will be the pineapple. Do you recall the first bromeliad we had? That was “the finger nail plant”, Day 103, the same day the bamboo shoot appeared in the tropical house.

Anyway, this one is a tough one from Chile, the Crimson Bromeliad, Fascicularia bicolor and it grows well on top of the wall by the steps just down past the monkey puzzle.

In the wild, it grows on exposed coastlines and up into the mountains.  It hates wet and damp so it’s in an ideal spot. I’ve not tried it but apparently its very tolerant of the dry ground you find under a tree where all the moisture is taken up by the tree roots. It might be a useful plant for the winter garden as there is some difficult dry shade there.

It flowers late in the year, the small blue flowers would be pollinated by humming birds in the wild. At the same time, perhaps this explains the “bicolor” reference. It can develop a very attractive red colour to the leaves around the flowers.

Bit of a strange plant, certainly very different, but fine if it’s in the right place in the right ground conditions. It seems to propagate quite well. When I transplanted mine, I divided it, some side shoots broke off without root. I left these in a bucket of water and they have rooted well so there will be a few plants for the Friends plant sale.