Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Orthophytum gurkenii

 Orthophytum gurkenii
I have been growing this unusual Bromeliad for a number of years and it seems never to be without one or two flower stems. The 40cm tall arching inflorescence is a striking chartreuse green in colour which contrasts well with the bronze powder coated foliage.
New plantlets appear at the end of these green bracts which have the unfortunate attribute of being edged with razor sharp spines and as they mature these spines can detach and lodge in the fingertips if you handle them without protection.
It is one of those easy care plants however preferring a dry location in sun or semi shade.
Apparently there are quite a number of different forms of this plant including ones with striped leaves.

 From a couple of flower stems I cut more than a dozen new plants though they probably would have been quite happy staying attached to the mother stem for many months to come.
And now comes the tricky part. Underneath these dried razor sharp bracts at the base of the plant tiny nobbly roots are forming and need to be exposed to give them a good start in life. With gloved hand I hold the top and peel away using small flower snips all the while taking in a lung-full of white fluff being shed form the leaves.
I will plant them into small pots using an open bark/Perlite mix and by the end of the year they should be ready for a new home.

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