Gardening Magazine

A Good Wall Pot Plant

By Gardenamateur

Keeping a diary is something I have always been very poor at. A classic gift idea, diaries. I have been given many of them over the years and I've hardly opened or used any of them. I realised, however, some time ago, that this gardening blog of mine is probably my best effort at keeping a diary, and lo and behold I've been doing it for almost 10 years now. 

And so when I checked back on my blog/diary to see when my Vriesia bromeliads last flowered, it will come as no surprise to find out it was also in late April. In fact, a scan down through the years shows they flower like clockwork ... "hmmm, the bromeliads are flowering ... it must be late April".

A good wall pot plant

Here they are settling into their work this sunny April afternoon. Now, I was expecting something weird to happen to their flowering time this year, as the weather here in Sydney sure has been weirdly hot and not remotely like any Autumn that we know of. But as far as these clockwork flowers are concerned, their inbuilt calendar isn't going to be upset by some stupid heatwave. Hell, they're from Central America anyway, and they love heatwaves.

A good wall pot plant

Now, the purpose of this rare update on my blog is simply to let you know that if you have a boring brick wall somewhere, especially one that gets no direct sunlight at all, then these are ideal plants to plant in a wall pot.

They need very little maintenance, apart from the occasional sprinkle with the hose (and not too much, either). My wall pots are completely under cover, under a covered pergola, so they never get rained on. So, I just make sure that every few days when I'm watering the vegies, that I sprinkle my bromeliads as well. As their pots sit right above the spot on the wall where my hose reel is mounted, I never forget to do that job.

A good wall pot plant

The plant label name of this commonly available bromeliad is Bromeliad vriesia, and it sometimes is also labelled as 'Isabel'. Its flowers should last for a few months at least. And when they're not flowering, at least the potted plants offer up a lot of pleasant, green, strappy foliage.

Prior to these bromeliads I had tried some other plants in wall pots and they were either too much work or at least didn't thrive. These guys loved it from Day One.

The best way to kill a bromeliad, if you really enjoy plant murder, is to place it in full sun (you cruel beast), or overwater it (I also suspect the over-waterers also own fat cats and fat dogs, but that's just a theory). 

I plant mine into a 50:50 mix of orchid potting mix and normal potting mix, and that's all they need. I never fertilise them, and I water them very sparingly in winter, but more often in summer.

They do have little water "cups" at their base which some people become obsessed about and constantly fill up, most of the time killing their bromeliads at the same time.

If you're in Australia and reading this blog now, in April or later on in May, these plants might be in flower at your local garden center. Maybe. Perhaps. If you're lucky. They should be. They're a great plant for apartments and balconies, too.

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