One of the more unusual species Dyckia bromeliads are generally low growing with finer foliage than most. These are a succulent plant and do however come in a number of forms so variety is certainly available.
Typically very tall flower spikes, they are colorful if not showy, and they do rise well above the foliage. However it the spiny foliage that is the main attraction year round.
For such an easy care plant it is a wonder that Dykia are not more widely grown. They are more forgiving than most bromeliads, have very attractive flowers
Dykia have a natural habit of forming a spreading rosette of foliage, very attractive however in cultivation this does present some problems.
Although these are a hardy, drought tolerant plant, as they get older the leaves tend to protect the root system from water. So in containers the soil can desiccate, even it plants are outside and receive rain.
So a little careful watering can be required to ensure good plant health.
- Temperature – This will depend on the species, some can endure extreme heat, others are cold tolerant. In general, as an indoor plant they survive well.
- Light – Try for good full sun in the morning and filtered light in the afternoon. The warmer the climate, the more shade.
- Soil – As they are grown in a potting mix some fertilizer can be used, however Dykia do take nutrients from the air so this is really not required.
- Fertilizer – Use a slow release fertilizer for pot grown plants, do this at 1/4 strength in late spring to summer. Some liquid organic fertilizer every two weeks during the growth period will also be beneficial.
- Watering – Water well during spring through summer. Always allowing the soil to almost dry between watering. In winter allow the soil to dry between waterings.
When you need to re-pot, wait until flowering is over. Try to use a pot just a little larger than the one the plant is in.
In general a 4 inch pot is adequate, 5 inch pot for larger plants. Once they get bigger than this it is usually time to divide them.
Some Dykia are easily propagated by separating the offsets or ‘pups’ from the main plant, they take well and are easy to get going.
Other species do not produce offsets so seed is the only way to propagate.
- Dyckia fosteriana – With its grey green foliage, spines and wonderful symmetrical shape Dyckia fosteriana is a very attractive specimen when grown in a container. (see picture top right)
- Dyckia rubra – Outstanding deep red foliage, again best grown as a single specimen in a container.
- Dykia delectica – Well suited to cooler climates, this is a varied species with a number of desirable forms, all with silvery foliage.
- Dykia brevifolia –
- Short and wide leaves, attractive yellow flowers.