Friday, April 23, 2010

Quesnelia quesneliana

Quesnelia quesneliana is a great landscaping bromeliad with a bright red flower in the spring.  The plants grow 2 to 3 foot tall with an equal spread. The long, strap-like leaves have finely serrated margins. 

In early spring the brilliant red flower spike emerges from the center of the plant and rises just above the foliage. The colored portion of the spike grows about 6" to 8" long and is showy even from a distance. The bloom period can last for a couple of months.  

When not in bloom, this species is nearly indistinguishable from Quesnelia arvensis.  The bloom of Q. quesneliana appears a few weeks later, is bright red instead of pinkish-red, and doesn't rise as high above the foliage.  Also, on Q. arvensis the bract structure flares out slightly at the top, giving it an almost feather duster appearance.  There are probably some clonal variations so any two plants of these species may show slightly different characteristics than described here.

Both of these Quesnelias are very drought tolerant and cold-hardy. Mine have survived extended periods in the upper 20° F. range with no damage.Both species will grow in mostly sun to light shade.

In less sun, the foliage will be very long and green.

In more sun, the foliage will be more compact and take on a slightly reddish tint.

Some of my plants have a marbled coloration in the bloom.  Clonal variation or environmental factor?  I'll have to watch these closely again next year.
Quesnelia quesneliana is a beautiful cold-tolerant bromeliad that could be used more in landscape plantings in sub-tropical climates, or in containers anywhere.

Buy this plant!


Steve Asbell said...

Wow, all along I thought I had been growing aechmea distichantha because of a mislabeled plant! This is a spitting image of what I have growing in my yard, which was obtained by a neighbor in Orange Park. These are not only hardy in the upper 20's but down to the lower 20s as well! Mine haven't bloomed yet this year since I was dumb enough to divide them right before winter, but the guy I got it from has about 30 in bloom right now!

NanaK said...

I love broms but know so little about them. Thanks for giving me more knowledge of this beautiful specimen. That last shot of your stunning bloom is very nice.

Nic said...

Beautiful! I have never seen one of these.

BernieH said...

I've only just become interested in broms ... have only two at the moment. This one is so lovely ... I think it's time to start building a collection.

AaronVFT said...

The flower is unique and beautiful.

Helen at summerhouse said...

I found some bromeliads at a garage sale in the summer, so far no blooms. I'm on the west coast of Canada, and I'm thinking of dividing them and planting them out in pots this summer to see if that will get them blooming. I love the flowers in these photos!