Tropicals

Alcantarea Imperialis rubra
A spectacular and truly tough feature plant requiring little water or fertiliser once established. The luxuriant red underside of the broad leaf deepens in cooler weather and brightens any surrounding environment.
Full sun but suitable for shade
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Dimensions: 2m X 1.5m.
Flowers: a branching spike reaching up to 3.5m tall covered in hundreds of delicate white flowers. The flower stem will last up to twelve months on the plant. Bird attractant, copious amounts of nectar bring Honeyeaters, Wattlebirds, Friarbirds and Silver Eyes.
Foliage: red or maroonish underside with grey broad leaves. When grown in the shade it appears greener, with more intense colour displayed through the cooler months. Thornless.
Uses: Use in large containers around the pool or on apartment balconies to heighten tropical themes. Create a high impact by displaying the underside of the leaf in exposed elevated planters or raised garden beds. Tolerates very cold temperatures in frost-free positions.

Alcantarea extensa
The striking silvery grey foliage of this giant demands attention when set among dark greens and reds. Golden flowers are a bonus, as is the appearance of purple markings at leaf terminals with winter’s cooler night temperatures.
Full sun but suitable for shade.
Dimensions: 1.5m X 1.5m.
Flower: in 4-5 years with a spike reaching 2m, golden flowers.
Foliage: silver grey leaves spotted with purple markings towards the leaf tip. Thornless.
Uses: Feature plant or large container specimen. When planted on top of bark or mulch mounds it makes a distinctive, irrigation-free feature.

Alcantarea Imperialis Peter Tristram
A massive, full sun bromeliad with broad crimson leaves, certain to become a focal point in any landscape. A true giant in the bromeliad world and the largest Imperialis clone cultivation in Australia.
Full sun but suitable for shade.
Dimensions: 2.5m X 2.0m.
Flower: creamy white flowers with a deep red bract on a spike that reaches up to 3.5m.
Foliage: is in between Imperial rubra and Imperialis purpurea and appears greener in shade. Thornless.
Uses: Where a more intimate scale is desirable, use close to the most viewed point; or at the end of a long sight line to punctuate the view.

Alcantarea brasiliana
This colossal green bromeliad with broad corrugated leaves will effectively punctuate long sightlines, as at Cairns’ Flecker Botanical Gardens; and help define the shades of neighbouring foliage.
Full sun but suitable for shade.
Dimensions: 2.0m X 1.5m.
Flower: creamy yellow flowers with pinkie red bracts on a spike to 2m lasting 12 months on the plant.
Foliage: is a deep green with slight mottling, very wide corrugated leaves. Thornless.
Uses: Wonderful feature or large container plant that contrasts well against feature walls in strong colours, or for defining larger gardens.

Alcantarea Imperialis Purpurea
With its eye-catching Indian Red leaves, the year-round colour of this distinctive Alcantarea will lift the tone of gardens with a sub-tropical theme.
Full sun but suitable for shade.
Dimensions: 1.5m X 1.5m.
Flower: produces a flower spike to 1.8m with creamy white flowers.
Foliage: is a deep purple or maroon broad leaf. A much darker leaf than Imperialis rubra all year round. Thornless.
Uses: One of the most impressive large Bromeliads for colour, this feature plant tolerates full sun and temperatures to -3 C (in frost-free positions).

Alcantarea geniculata
Glistening, slender green leaves and a clustering habit define this unusual variation. A more petite plant, it is excellent as a filler and boasts golden flowers on a tall, candy pink spike.
Full sun but suitable for shade.
Dimensions: 1m X 1m. Larger clones will be available in the future.
Flower: a spike that reaches up to 1.5m, with golden yellow flowers and crimson pink bracts.
Foliage: is a glossy green leaf. Thornless.
Uses: Excellent en-masse, contrasted with an ultra-fine texture such as miscanthus or carex. Will tolerate wind and temperatures to -3 C (in a frost free position).

Alcantarea vinicolor
A smaller Alcantarea that still enjoys all day sun, the vinicolor has appealing burgundy foliage and stunning pale peach flowers, ideal for setting off smaller gardens
Full sun or shade.
Dimensions: 1m X 1m.
Flower: 3-5 years to flower pale peach flowers on a 1.5m tall spike.
Foliage: is burgundy red in the sun or greener in the shade. The leaves are narrower than Imperialis. Thornless.
Uses: Beautiful smaller container plant or filler, with smooth margins for high traffic areas. Will tolerate high sun and wind exposure. Especially striking contrasted against shiny black stones and pebbles.

Alcantarea glazouiana
Looking for a plant that will tolerate high sun and wind exposure? This amazing Brazilian native is not only hardy but also boasts impressive grey foliage and fragrant night-blooming flowers.
Full sun but suitable for shade.
Dimensions: 1.5m X 1.5m.
Flowers: after 3–5 years it produces a flower spike to 2m, which is multi- branching with pink bracts. White flowers that open in the evening with a sweet perfume.
Foliage: light silvery grey smooth foliage. Thornless.
Uses: Excellent for use in sea walls, within the first dune zone and in poor sandy soil. Tolerates constricting containers but prefers well-drained soil.

Werauhia sanguinolenta Rubra
In the dappled shade the sinister sleek black leaves and stem are a startling contrast to most other plants. The large size of the plant can create great interest.
Black bromeliad
Shade to dappled bright light.
Dimensions: 1m X 1m.
Flower: off-white flowers with black bracts on a spike that reaches 1m.
Foliage: an amazing black as the plant matures, as a younger specimen it has more green. The colour of the foliage can be influenced by the amount of light, too low and it will be greener.
Uses: the startling foliage and amazing flower spike colour make it an excellent accent plant. If put with a brighter colour like Justicea adhatoides, it’s even more eye catching.

Aechmea blanchettiana
A showy plant featuring orange-gold inflorescence and Venetian blind-like foliage, that actually thrives on neglect.
Full sun
Dimensions: 1m X 1.5m.
Flower: spectacular and long lasting yellow flowers on an orange stem.
Foliage: golden orange in full sun, turning green in the shade.
Uses: Excellent for mound plantings or back of the border combinations requiring bright foliage. Useful where an ornamental effect is required despite conditions of neglect, low water and poor shallow soil: such as nature-strips, traffic roundabouts and their equivalents. Will tolerate temperatures to -5 C and colours best when grown hard.

Vriesea platynema X fosteriana
Green with immense texture is the best way to describe these. The variations in patterns are subtle to the undiscerning but will be fascinating to the astute. The gorgeous patterns will tempt you to stay and examine them.
Shade to dappled light.
Dimensions: 1m X 1m.
Flower: creamy white flowers on a spike that can reach up to 1m, usually opens at night.
Foliage: is a patterned green with stripes. Variation is common and adds to it as an interest plant.
Uses: as a garden plant it inserts texture to shaded areas and the variation in patterns make it useful as a filler or small container plant. These are grown for the patterned foliage.

Neoregelia carolinae
A ruddy filler plant that opens up the garden with is variate shades of cerise. Popular as a dainty bromeliad but nevertheless a hardy specimen that adds impact with numbers.
Shade
Dimensions: 20 cm across.
Flower: lavender rosette in the throat of the plant.
Foliage: shiny green leaves that will change colour depending the amount of light and fertilizer, bright light with no fertiliser will give foliage a reddish tinge. The centre eventually develops crimson to cerise colour.
Uses: brilliant for long lasting splashes of colour in the garden or as a small pot plant.

Neoregelia correa-araujoi
A tough, giant bromeliad from coastal Brazil that thrives in sunny positions and provides colourful accents to green garden areas with its splattered red on gold foliage.
Full sun but suitable for shade.
Dimensions: 1.2m across.
Flowers: white rosette in the throat of the plant.
Foliage: is green to gold with splashes of red on a broad leaf.
Uses: Lovely accent plant able to tolerate all day sun when acclimatised.

Neoregelia Gee Whiz
Brilliant red on yellow-green leaves surround astonishing mauve flowers: a classic large ornamental bromeliad that offers a stunning summer display of colour.
Full sun during winter, dapple light to shade.
Dimensions: 1.2m across.
Flower: mauve flower rosette in the throat of the plant.
Foliage: a stripy red leaf with a lower profile than the Alcantarea’s.
Uses: Use where sight lines look directly down or in near-plan view to the planting, so the viewer appreciates the ultra-flat open rosettes with strong pink ‘halos’ around the central water-holding tanks. Also, mount long, impressive lines of these plants on ‘fallen’ tree trunks in full sun.

Neoregelia cv Knockout
A block of solid red colour that impacts in shaded positions. In a sea of green this is a dazzling plant that is enhanced by its fabulous purple flowers.
Shade
Dimensions: 1.2m across.
Flower: a magenta rosette in the throat of the plant.
Foliage: an outstanding light magenta. When the plant is pupping it appears as a cluster.
Uses: feature plant for the shaded garden that needs impact.

Neoregelia kautskyi
A superb small specimen whose leaves transform from rich emerald splashed with red in shade, to stunning butter yellow in full sun.
Full sun to dappled light.
Dimensions: a smaller bromeliad to approximately 30cm.
Flower: a sweet rosette of purple and white flowers in the throat of the bromeliad.
Foliage: depending on the light it varies between a luxuriant green with splashes of red to butter yellow with red splatters.
Uses: Use en masse at the front of a border and contrast with ultra-fine texture such as the shorter carex, poas or miscanthus. Excellent attached in long lines to ‘fallen logs’ and viewed from above.

Aloe barberae
Tallest of the tree aloes, this specimen stands alone in drier landscapes where a striking multi-branching tree is called for. Rich corked bark gives the tree a distinctive texture and its foliage shares a similar growth habit to the pandanus.
Full sun
Dimensions: tree to 18m with a trunk up to 3m in width in the wild but far less, at around 4-6 m in cultivation.
Flowers: in autumn and winter, with a swollen appearance to the orange pink flower.
It resembles the Red Hot Poker.
Foliage: thick fleshy thorned green leaves arch from the terminals of the branches. Again a Pandanus comes to mind but its solid leaves of a richer green and quicker growth habit distinguish them.
Uses: Use with hard-edged modern architecture where a stark, severe form is required. Especially arresting against intensely coloured feature walls. Will tolerate the poor soil, low water and neglect typical of commercial settings – both in-ground or in large containers.

Pachypodium gaeyii
A truly striking tree, its thick barrel-shaped trunk is covered in cross-barbs with fantastic pink-ribbed, silver-grey foliage. It thrives in hot dry positions and bears a small white flower.
Full sun
Dimensions: it has a similar growth habit to Pachypodium lamerei but a taller tree. The tallest recorded was 10m in its native habitat of Madagascar.
Flowers: white delicate flowers, similar in appearance to frangipani flowers but much smaller
Foliage: straps of silver grey leaves which can grow to 40 cm in length and compliments the grey barrel shaped trunk, hang from the terminals of the branches
Uses: An eye-catching feature tree excellent for a dry hot position where little access creates a harsh environment. Will flatter the succulent garden design with its size, shape and excellent colour.

Pachypodium lamerei
With fragrant frangipani-like flowers, this barrel-shaped tree exudes character. Accompanied by a thorny trunk the deciduous tree flowers while bare of leaves and thrives in the harshest of environments by storing water in its trunk.
Full sun
Dimensions: reaching to 6m with a trunk covered in clusters of three spines, which spiral around the trunk
Flowers: white fragrant blooms similar to the frangipani in the warmer months
Foliage: long straps of green leaves that are deciduous, leaving an amazing barrel of spines on the trunk visible in winter
Uses: An ideal plant for semi-arid and sub-tropical themes and looks appealing planted with agaves, aloes and kalanchoes.

Euphorbia poysean Thai hybrids
These are ‘lucky plants’ planted by the front door of Thai dwellings to bring positive forces to those within. A resilient, continuously flowering plant.
Full sun to part shade.
Dimensions: a compact bushy shrub to 30-60cm in height and width
Flowers: The bright colour on these plants comes from the vividly coloured bracts surrounding the insignificant yellow flowers. With an extensive range of colours from white to yellow, green, pink and red and almost all of the combinations in between, it adds amazing colour to the garden.
Foliage: Lush green leaves envelope the thorned stems making it appear as a mass of flowers and leaves with no apparent branch structure
Uses: In beach-side locations where sandy soil, fast-drainage and parched conditions make alternatives difficult, these can be used as a spiny, flowering hedge across front boundaries. Good for non-irrigated spaces and semi-arid/ sub-tropical themes where lavish flowing interest is required.

Curcuma australasica
This exceptionally hardy ginger is native to northern Queensland and the Northern Territory. Known for its lush green leaf with the red vein down the centre, followed by an exotic pink flower: it is known as the Aussie plume or Cape York tumeric.
Full sun to dappled light.
Dimension: it can reach to 60 cm and forms a tight clump
Flowers: are hidden amongst the foliage in some instances. A large white, deepening to pink, 30cm plume appearing en masse from November to February.
Foliage: a deciduous ginger with broad green leaves emerging early spring.
Uses: Use in pots as the summer equivalent of winter bulbs, or to punctuate spaces near the front of a border. Also good under the canopy of small trees, like the Leopard Tree, where sun penetrates but root-ridden soil is expected.

Curcuma Laddawan
This Thai beauty, seen as superior among curcumas, bears a delicate blush of long-lasting pink flowers, creating softness in the garden.
Full sun to part shade.
Dimensions: reaching 45cm the plant spreads to form a small lush clump.
Flower: is an exquisite pink from late December to early May.
Foliage: a lavish green leaf emerges from dormancy in November
(may vary due to local temperature variances).
Uses: A great way to keep a free winter space for annuals or, use with an equally herbaceous summer dormant perennial, like arisema, that will disguise the space this plant makes in cooler months. Also good at the front of borders where bright foliage and summer flowers are required.

Heliconia “Kawauchi”
Tall growing Heliconia with an astonishing rich red upright flower. The deep red flower clings to the stem and appears between the foliage of abundant green leaves.
Shade to full sun.
Dimensions: are 3m – 5m. They are taller when in shade and seeking the light.
Flower: vibrant red flowers with a trace of yellow on the edge. The upright flower is produced in early spring and the magnificence red catches the eye, with the flower reaching 45cm and staying on the plant for 3-4 months. The odd flower is formed during the year on large mature clumps.
Foliage: abundance of tall spatulate leaves forming a dense clump as they mature, and display best when protected form strong winds.
Uses: often seen as clumps to form screens or create privacy in the landscape, used frequently in Balinese style gardens or to add the tropical lush feel. Heliconias do best in frost-free areas and in rich organic soils kept moist during the warmer months of the year.

Heliconia rostrata
The vibrant red and yellow hanging flowers make this the most popular grown Heliconia in Southern Queensland. The amazing long lasting flowers that will last from late November until May are a must for the tropical garden.
Shade to full sun.
Dimensions: vary depending on the amount of light. From 1.3m in hard sunny spots to 3m if they are in shade and searching for light.
Flowers: are remarkable red centres with yellow edges hanging down more than 600mm. They have been imitated with fake plants but nothing can surpass the real thing growing in the garden.
Foliage: long spatulate leaves that cluster up from the ground and form a mass of soft lush green.
Uses: as limited as your imagination, as a screen, feature plant, used as filler, under trees and excellent for narrow confined areas that are protected from strong winds, like light wells.

Cordyline fruticosa ‘Maize’
Fabulous fluorescent pink ‘corn leaves’ cascade down the stems of this full sun cordyline; its displays of lush abundance promise ‘pre-historic tropic’ appeal.
Full sun will be best to achieve the vivid colouring of the leaves.
Dimensions: 3 – 5m in good conditions.
Flowers: appear in late autumn producing large sprays of white and mauve flowers followed by intense red berries.
Foliage: fluorescent pink is the main feature of the plant with long thin leaves clinging to the stem and descending to the ground giving a dense appearance. Regular pruning adds to the thick bushy look and the cuttings can be planted directly into the ground to create a mass planting effect.
Uses: A tall, slender growth habit makes this plant a useful fit for narrow available growing space such as light wells, tall walls of inner-city gardens or between houses.

Cordyline fruticosa ‘Negra’
One of the few true black leaf plants suitable for full sun, this dramatic plant gives height to a landscape and the occasional flash of red against its dark foliage.
Full sun to half sun for best colour.
Dimensions: 3 – 5m in good conditions.
Foliage: sensational black broad leaves up to 1m long that cluster from the stem giving a dense coverage when pruned. Tops can be cut off and replanted to assist in creating a mass planting effect.
Uses: When planted as a screen or barrier, or to conceal the inner faces of boundary fences, the negra forms a brilliant backdrop for planting of every colour. Especially effective behind bright variegated foliage such as golden pandanus and golden leafed aroids.

Cordyline fruticosa ‘Peter Buck’
Famous old variety from Hawaii, with broad burnt orange leaves that illuminate the garden. The amazing colour of the foliage lifts the green foliage around it and creates a focal point.
Dappled light or full sun in the mornings.
Dimensions: best kept to a plant 1.2m or taller if a background species where other foliage hides a bare trunk.
Foliage: startling burnt orange which takes on a pinkish tinge during the cooler months. The foliage is the main feature of the plant and keeping the ground moist during the hotter months will ensure the marvellous colour.
Uses: principally as a feature colour in the garden, as the surrounding green enhances the already startling burnt orange. Nestled amongst the shrubbery it is an excellent draw card that will lure you to look closer.

Agave desmettiana Variegata
Covering most planting positions from sun to shade this compact beauty adds appeal to the landscape. A striking leaf with yellow margins with an upright habit and urn shaped rosettes, with the added bonus of thriving on minimal water.
Full sun to shade.
Dimensions: reaching a height and spread of 1m
Flower: on a spike that appears after 8-10 years in the ground and stands 2.5-3m tall with pale yellow flowers
Foliage: fine spines with a variegation of yellow on the margin of green thick leaves that form small offsets around the base of the plant during the growing season.
Uses: makes an ideal container plant for patios, decks etc due to the attractive foliage. Being a water wise plant it is perfect for the current climate or for the drier style garden, with the added advantage of being able to tolerate irrigation if necessary.

Agave gypsophila
A remarkable blue grey coloured small Agave that gives accent to landscape. The delightful coloured spiny leaves form an arching habit in hot, moist conditions and becomes very succulent in appearance. The compact habit of this Agave makes it ideal for containers or as a garden specimen to compliment its surroundings with the attractive wavy spined foliage.
Full sun to shade.
Dimensions: reaching a height and spread of 1m
Flower: a flower spike will appear in 4-6 years reaching a height of 3-4m with a beautiful golden flower.
Foliage: stunning blue grey foliage in the full sun. If grown in the shade it will have a greenish tinge. The leaves are wavy and spined with small offsets being produced around the base of the plant during the growing season
Uses: will tolerate very dry, xerophytic conditions if required but grows happily in better conditions which will speed up its growth rate. Use in limited soil depth down to 300mm, unirrigated as a tall textural groundcover at the front of planting space. Also makes an excellent deterrent for security sensitive locations and pedestrian traffic guidance where people would normally “cut the corner”.