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Dyckia rariflora

Growing Dyckias and other spiny Bromeliads can be a painful, and sometimes bloody, experience.  Fortunately nature has given us Dyckia rariflora!  The spines of this form are tiny and flexible, making them virtually painless to deal with.  This attractive Brazilian species can take on a grass-like appearance when the plants are grown close together.  Each summer they send up a beautiful flower stalk 2 to 3 feet tall.  Dyckia rariflora is easy to grow, and probably frost-hardy to at least 20 F (-7C).  Freshly picked seeds aren't seen for sale very often.

Dyckia rariflora

Dyckia rariflora

Dyckia rariflora is a variable species, but this particular form has bluish-green succulent leaves that get about 7 to 9 inches long.  The plants multiply readily along stolons, and they are easily separated if desired.  The flower stem usually has about a dozen flowers, each just under an inch long and a vivid shade of orange.  The stems are great for cut flower arrangements!  Unlike many Bromeliads, this one does not die after flowering.  The plants are long-lived and flower each year.  You may cross-breed them with some other related plants to create new hybrids. 

Dyckia rariflora

Dyckia rariflora is a terrestrial bromeliad that may be grown much like a cactus.  It likes fast-draining soil and tolerates hot, arid conditions.  It reportedly can handle temperatures of 20 F for several hours, and possibly colder if kept dry.  The plants grow well in a pot in a sandy soil mix, such as 1 part potting soil to 2 or 3 parts coarse sand.  The plants are drought-tolerant, however the leaves look the best if given regular water.  Either full sun or a half day of sun works well.  Overall, this is an easy, low-maintenance plant.

Dyckia rariflora

Photo #2 by Stan Shebs

 

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