Alcantarea thrives in most climates, from tropical to temperate and even cool, frost-free areas. It can tolerate light frosts once established.
Plant in full sun to part shade and protect from strong winds. Red tones of ‘Rubra’ develop best in full sun.
Extremely free-draining soils or potting mix is essential, as wet soggy roots are fatal. If soil isn’t well draining, build up beds with orchid mix and plant alcantarea on top, taking care not to plant too deeply. Maintain the same soil level as in the original container.
Choose large pots when planting these giants, about 50cm-1m wide and deep, with drainage holes. Fill with orchid mix or make your own blend with 80 per cent composted pine bark fines, 10 per cent coco peat and 10 percent polystyrene foam.
They need little water, relying on rainfall, except in the hottest, dry periods. Mist over plant and around root zone with fine spray when humidity is low; there’s no need to fill the centre cup.
Little is needed, but a sprinkle of controlled-release fertiliser such as Yates Acticote or Scotts Osmocote Plus Trace Elements around the root zone in spring will help.
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