Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hello walls

Until I tried bromeliads I never really had all that much success with wall pots. They're terrible things to grow plants in, as far as I'm concerned, but bromeliads are the kind of unfussy plants which really don't give a toss where they grow, provided it's warm.

And so, today, folks, my wall pots of Vriesia bromeliads are in bloom, as they have been for the last few weeks, and they will be for the next few weeks as well. Here they are.

I had tried other plants in these wall pots, such as impatiens, 
but they were all high maintenance and, in the end, too much
work and not that successful. These broms have been here
more than two years now and hardly need any attention.

There's hardly a boring bromeliad flower
in the pantheon, and this tropical fantasy
of youthful colour doesn't let the team down.

I guess if I was better at growing broms that
I might be able to egg it on to produce more
blooms, as multiple blooms do look good
together, but what I know about bromeliad
growing doesn't take long to share.
The first thing about them to know is that in their native rainforest habitats they don't grow in soil. They live on tree trunks, as ephiphytes, just like orchids. So for gardens, their potting mix should be very coarse and just somewhere for their clingy roots to hang out in. I use the one recommended to me, of a 50:50 mix of orchid potting mix and ordinary potting mix.

I also feed them with slow-release granules formulated for orchids. And I water them every now and then. I've been told that the quickest way to kill a brom is to over-water it, and so I take great delight in being a slacker about watering my broms. Seems to work.

The wall pots themselves are under a covered pergola that faces north, so it's very bright, but all light is filtered and the plants are never directly kissed by sunshine. That also seems to suit them fine. And of course I am in Sydney, which is frost-free through winter. Never gets that cold here. And that's it, that's everything I know about growing broms.

However, my main point with this post is simply to recommend bromeliads for wall pots in shady or semi-shaded spots, such as down the side passage of houses. I cannot for the life of me understand why optimistic desperados try to grow vegetables in wall pots down the sides of their houses. That is such hard work with the odds stacked against you right from the start. If you want some year-round greenery plus interesting flowers as a bonus that lasts a few months, I'd always go for bromeliads for that difficult assignment.


The Gumboot Greener said...

Oh they look nice. I have a south facing wall I would love to brighten in this way. I was thinking Clivias might work?

Jamie said...

You'd need quite big wall pots for clivias, but they are fab plants that tolerate dry soil well. You'd also need to repot them every few years because they like to expand and form clumps too. But if it's shady and they like the spot, it could look great.

Lithopsland said...

Lovely pots, brom flowers & wall! Is it Pistachio? :)

Jamie said...

Lithopsland, not sure of the colour's name, as we painted it about nine years ago, but it's an even brighter green than pistachio. Pam loves green.

Karen said...

Your broms look very pretty sitting on the wall there. Unfortunately we tend to get a few frosts in the greater west. Have a lovely day.

Karen said...

You have a lovely blog, do you still grow native plants? I am your newest follower.

Jamie said...

Hello newest follower Karen! Welcome.
Yep, I still have some natives, such as a Grevillea Peaches and Cream, and my front garden is mostly native, with lilly pilly hedges and an outrageous Cootamundra wattle ground cover.
Check it out here:

Best wishes