On the lookout for unfussy, drought-resistant plants that would fit into a home landscape design, I stopped by Rancho Soledad Nursery. The terrestrial bromeliads, relatives of the pineapple family (Bromeliaceae), grabbed my fancy immediately. All had a round form of fleshy, almost leathery-leaved rosettes, reminiscent of a pineapple plant. Some had dreamy marbling and textures on their leaves, while others stood out by their foliage color. Some would bloom repeatedly, and others would develop majestic flower inflorescence that would stand out in any garden for months.
You can admire many beautiful terrestrial bromeliads at San Diego Botanic Gardens in Encinitas or the botanical building at Balboa Park. Here are a few I saw at the nursery that would make great additions to any modern garden design:
Grown for its burgundy, evergreen foliage, this maroon or white bloomer attracts birds and butterflies. Grow in sun to partial shade.
This striking, red bromeliad has sharp, spiky leaves that also turn red while the plant is flowering. They need moderate to bright light and protection from wind damage.
Aechmea cv ‘Prietro’
Black leaves, the color of which have been likened to highly polished ebony, are just part of the allure of this plant that has striking orange-red blooms. A great companion to purple, chartreuse and/or yellow succulents, it likes full sun.
This is one of the few bromeliads that adapts to full sun. It produces large orange blooms that last three to four months. It makes a fine centerpiece with other succulents.
Residential landscape designer Christiana Holmquist