Growing Alcantarea Imperialis

red.barristerOctober 30, 2008

Hi everyone!

I've been reading your posts every now and then and I find it very helpful for starters like me. The pictures are very encouraging!

Recently, a friend gave me some very small pups of alcantarea imperialis and they looked like the grass in the lawn. They were about 2 inches in height with 3 to 4 leaves each. I replanted them individually in small plastic pots.

Is there anyway to make their growth faster? I feel like it might take billions of years for these pups to grow into the giants that they are. Any tips on this would be highly appreciated.

I live in a region where the temperature is usually around 10 to 25 degrees celsius most of the year with above average humidity and it rains half of the year every afternoons.

Can I fertilize these pups already? They have been replanted for about 6 weeks now after being pulled by my friend from his alcantera imperialis.

Again, thanks!

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Hi they have roots?

If they have only been removed for 6 weeks, then they probably have not developed their own root system, so I would make sure they are potted into a fast draining mix, and feed them with a liquid fertiliser. Once they do have a well developed root system, they can be repotted into a rich organic mix, & can be fed quite heavily. I have heard reports of some Alcantarea growing from seed to flowering in 4 - 5 years when well fed.

You say your two grass pups are Alcantarea imperialis, so I assume they are the green form of this species. If they are in fact Alc. imperialis Rubra, you will tend to lose some of the nice red colour if continually feeding them to get the fastest growth. A resonable compromise with the Rubra form is to fed well for the first few years, then ease off the fertiliser, & let the plants show their true colours.

Cheers, -Andrew.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 5:34AM
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Hi Andrew!

When I got the pups, about twenty of them, they all had no roots when replanted. They are the green type. So far, their leaves are still healthy and without any wilting or browning. How long do you think will they start to have roots so I can start feeding them heavily?

Is it ok to put slow release fertilizers in the potting mix at this stage? I really hope I can grow all twenty of them! I haven't seen any red imperialis around here yet, but when I do, I'd make sure I'd get some of that!

Thanks for the post!


    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 5:51AM
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If you got 20, & they all still look healthy, then you've got a very good chance that most will survive. With grass pups, their survival rate often depends on how well they were removed from the mother plant. Sometimes their bases can be damaged during removal, & this often leads to them rotting out. In your climate, you should have a good % of success, & if you get say 60% - 80% past the first 6 mths you've done well.

Typically I've seen grass pups develop roots within 3 mths when kept around 15 - 25 C. Some will be alot faster, especially if they had a few tiny roots when removed. I would stay away from the slow release fertiliser until you know the plants have developed a good root system, they will still grow well at this stage with just the liquid fed.

If you treat them like seedlings over the next 6 mths or so, by keeping them warm & fed, then you should be able to repot them and then get them onto slow release plus a good liquid fertiliser, and you will see them grow quite fast.

Good luck, -Andrew.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 3:13PM
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Hey Red.barrister, I just found some photo's.

Here are a group of grass pups taken off Alc. Grace back in Jan '05. I was cleaning up around a large mother plant that was probably some 10 - 15 yrs old, & as I removed a few of the dead lower leaves, I was surprised to find these grass pups...they looked like spring I guess because they were getting no light as they were covered with old leaves of the mother plant.

Another pic taken some 12 mths after removal. At this stage they are growing well, & will double in size each year.

And one of the plants today, growing in the garden. It probably could have been bigger if I had fed it more, but it has just recieved the odd application of slow release.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 3:57PM
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Hey Andrew!

Thanks for all the tips and the pics! I sure hope I can grow all those alcantareas properly and end up with similar looking plants as shown in your pictures. I guess patience is a virtue with these plants!


    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 1:51AM
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hello guys... its been a long time since i last posted something here. i just got back recently in my home country after being stationed offshore for work. i revisited this post after tending to the garden.

the picture above are the alcantarea imperialis pups which i inquired about four years back in this post. now they have grown from grass pups to these sizes already. all of them have survived and has since started producing more and more pups. thanks for your helpful tips.

more pics to come soon...


    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 1:41PM
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They look really nice, congratulations. I got a larger one recently. There's more purple in the leaves, especially on the under side. So not sure which variety of Alcantarea imperialis it is.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 11:02AM
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Hi Tropicbreezent!

Thanks for the compliment! :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 6:50AM
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i just acquired mine a few days ago and it's as big as the ones you've posted.
it's indeed a very beautiful plant and a show stopper on its own.
buying it was on the spurt of the moment, since i never intended buying it to begin with, but i was offered with an upright and very reasonable price for a plant of that size and age. (it is worth around 12$-13$.)The transition of the plant was a conundrum as well as i thought prior to getting it because i'm already chock full.

i live in the philippines. normally an imperialis of such that are as big as yours are tagged for 35$ above.
(i visited a local garden center once and saw a wee bit of small imperialis that they do not sell for whatever reason . but i suspect it's because they get to hold value when reaching maturity.)
hopefully, mine grow pups.

good day!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 6:32AM
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Hi Keylyn!

Thanks for your post. I am from Baguio City. May I ask from where you are in the Philippines? Is there a way I can get in touch with you via email or local number perhaps to share ideas and interests with broms? I have not met with other brom enthusiasts in my area and it would be nice to meet other brom growers if it is alright. My email is in case you will have the time. Thanks in advance!


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 4:51PM
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i'm from pampanga.
unfortunately, i'm not much of a brom enthusiast as you imagine as i started with a big one in the get- go just a few days ago. though, i'm growing fond of these beautiful plants and if i had the money, i would have gotten a big collection in no time.

you can go to Pinoyexchange>lifestyle and leisure>Home and Garden and get the latest trends in the horticultural society of our country and incoming events.

have a good day!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 2:33AM
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Thanks Keylyn! :)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 7:15AM
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