Explore the many-hued, multifarious world of bromeliads with our exclusive photos and read the story of David Shiigi, bromeliad-grower and hydridizer extraordinaire, who serenades his bromeliads with a Hawaiian guitar.
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Among the plant world’s shape-shifters, bromeliads range from prickle-top pineapples to skeins of Spanish moss to yuccalike, desert-loving dyckia. Mostly tough and willing growers, bromeliads are native largely to the South American tropics, where they swing from trees, cling to rocks and cliffs, and hug the rainforest floor. Only one, the pineapple, is grown for food, and its sweet taste and exotic look hit Europe hard when Columbus brought it home from his second voyage in 1493.
Susan Heeger’s most recent story for GARDEN DESIGN was “A World Apart,” April 2011.
Left: Vriesea ‘Princess Annique,’ named for David Shiigi’s granddaughter, is a violet-pink, striped hybrid that grows up to 24 inches tall. Vriesea like diffuse light, circulating air, and frequent mistings with purified water.