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Regional Picks: Large-Leaved Perennials – Southern California

Fine Gardening - Issue 161

1. ‘Orange Aide’ Bromeliad

Name: Aechmea blanchetiana ‘Orange Aide’

USDA hardiness zones: 10 to 11

Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; acidic, well-drained soil

Native to Brazil, this bromeliad cultivar develops a beautiful orange tinge on its large leaves when grown in full sun, while in shade, the hue is more of a light green. It is not tolerant of salt spray but is drought resistant once established. The coral red flowers emerge on a stalk in spring from the tight center rosette of leaves and usually last for a few months. The plant can reach 5 to 6 feet tall when in bloom. ‘Orange Aide’ bromeliad has no serious pest problems. I frequently plant it under trees with shallow root systems because it is an epiphyte and has the ability to grow in very shallow soil. Keep it away from the edge of walkways as…

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