Plant of the Month

Fasicularia bicolor - October 2017

fasicularia bicolor K Keeton
fasicularia bicolor K Keeton
Photographs ©K Keeton
You can be forgiven for thinking that this plant is some form of triffid. It is found growing in the Mediterranean climate garden (area L on the map) The famous gardener Christopher Lloyd referred to it as ‘an exciting, show-off’ plant, and that is exactly what it is. It is one of the few bromelaids that can be grown in Britain, and apparently has now naturalized in the Scilly Islands.

The Bromelaids (pineapple) are a family of monocot flowering plants native mainly in the tropical Americas. We normally grow them as house plants but Fasicularia bicolor is reasonably hardy if it is sited well. It’s home is Southern Chile, South America, where it can be seen to grow in exposed areas near the sea in soil or on rocky cliff faces. The plant forms a crowded rosette of narrow serrated leaves. Its inner leaves turn a vivid fiery red in the autumn, and the purple flowers are borne deep in the centre of the plant.

You will find it growing with other plants from South America including the exotic Lobelia tupa, with the Puya berteroniana and Puya chilense. These will be real ‘showstoppers’ if and when they eventually flower!!

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