Best presentation for Alcantarea imperialis?

catkim(San Diego 10/24)September 28, 2008

I've seen them with the dead leaves trimmed, and I've seen them with dry skirts of leaves. Is there a consensus regarding best presentation? Mine is in a pot, if that makes any difference. Seems like those I've seen in the ground have the skirts of dry leaves. What are your thoughts?

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Kim, this is a very good point, not just for Alcants. For the big terrestrial broms in pots I prefer the clean look to avoid the nasty critters than inhabit the leaf bases. Potted = clean. In ground = unkempt. Did you see some at the show that caused you to ponder? I was going to ask who prefers the clean or unkempt look for all their plants.
Some Tills can be cleaned no problem, while others lose years of regal old growth that adds so much character.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 6:03PM
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Hey Kim,
Firstly, thanks for your photos of the recent show you attended :)

Re presentation of the alcantareas, or any other broms, I think it boils down to personal choice. If it's for an official show - I don't know what the regulations are.
We have some 'purists' here in Oz who never cut any of the older leaves off, nor trim any damaged ones. I certainly prefer the cleaner look, and cut off all dead lower leaves of my alcantareas - both in ground and in pots. I also try to cut off any ends of damaged leaves in the shape of the leaf.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 6:28PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Nothing to do with the show, Gonzer, I was just potting up my own plant from a broken, tippy, too-small pot to something larger, broader, sturdier when the question came to me.

But you know, the Prado restaurant in Balboa Park always has an impressive potted Alcantarea just at the entrance. It's in a gigantic Chinese glazed pot, with a few other plants around its base, and it makes a stunning statement. It has perfect form, is kept neatly trimmed, and shows off that incredible blue-green color with some burgundy tipping. Also I've seen plants in my neighborhood planted outdoors on a slope in full sun, with that nice deep red color, and the dry leaves left on them. They also looked great.

I've always kept mine trimmed. It was in a black nursery pot (splitting) inside a larger clay pot. I don't recommend this arrangement -- I removed more than one kind of "nasty critter" from between the pots, ugh. Anyway, I have a couple of dead leaves I was going to trim, then I thought I'd ask the question first.

Also, is there any recommended method for the trimming? I was cutting off what I could easily reach, not all the way to the base, but I think this holds too much water, promoting an unpleasant sliminess, and I was going to clean them all the way to the base. Comments?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 6:46PM
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Does anyone else have the problem of the lowest remaining leaves on Alcantareas turning brown and dying back as soon as you cut off the skirt of dead ones? I used to try to keep them trimmed up, but as soon as I did that the next leaves up would turn brown, and as soon as I'd remove those the next ones would go, and so on, leaving me with an ever-shrinking rosette. Not a good look!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 8:08PM
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Hmmm...that's interesting Lisa, and unfortunate for you! Maybe something to do with your constant heat and humidity?

That doesn't happen to my alcantareas when I cut the old bottom brown leaves off. The new bottom leaves might droop without the support of any lower ones - sometimes a good effect, other times a bit ugly if asymmetrical - but they hold their colour and health, and don't go brown until their usual demise.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 9:04PM
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Lisa are you also getting a set of new leaves everytime you trim the dead ones? I would think your climate would produce faster growth rates

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 12:13PM
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HDD, no, not that quickly. I'm talking a matter of just a few days after I'd cut off the lower leaves, the next ones would turn brown. If I kept doing that I'd be down to nothing within a couple of months! I'm not really growing them anymore, though. This was a while back.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 1:18PM
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