Tuesday, November 3, 2009

discarded “lobby plant” makes it big

Last winter I was the lucky recipient of a cast off lobby plant, you know the big plants that set just inside the lobby of a commercial office building? Those are “lobby plants”. There are also “mall plants” (usually a Spathiphyllum) and “apartment plants” (in this case a Fatsia japonica).
Normally I wouldn’t be interested in rescuing a sorry lobby plant, but this wasn’t just any lobby plant it was a Bromeliad, the biggest Bromeliad I had ever seen! I had no idea what variety it was, but figured it would be happy in a sunny window during the winter and could vacation on the patio during the summer. That’s it vacationing above, and below. The red coloring has increased as the weather cools. I need to take it inside soon, and end the vacation fun.As luck would have it I ran across the very plant at the Cactus Jungle Nursery during our recent California travels. It’s a Vriesea imperialis, or Imperial Bromeliad. Here is the plant at the nursery… Now I know it needs bright filtered light, it’s hardy to 30 degrees, and it’s native to the cliff-sides of Brazil and could reach 5ft in height (currently it's about 31/2 ft, but part of that is the pot). Oh and the fact that they are selling it for $250! ...


  1. Hello,

    I love Bromeliads. How wonderful that you were able to get this cast off. I have never heard of the term "lobby plants", but it certainly fits.

  2. azplantlady, truth be told I made it up. The others "mall plant" and "apartment plant" were made up by friends but "lobby plant" is all mine! You can use it though...any ole'time you need to.

  3. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!
    Bedford & Brown in NW Portland started out as a company that serviced those plants...cycling them in and out of the lobbies and malls, with a little recovery time in their quanset hut. Back when we were neighbors I got a few super deals on plants they had deemed unworthy of further attention. A little TLC brought most of them back to life.

  4. Score!
    I love bromiliads, but have a hard time keeping them damp enough. A co-worker here is gradually killing one - it makes me sad, but you can only say so much at work, y'know?
    It's nice to know your bromiliad has a much more appropriate and cushy lifestyle over at danger garden. Enjoy!

  5. Loree, you are keeping us waiting on the Lotusland post. I'm trying to be patient but...please, humor me! ;-)

  6. Hilarious! (I was going to say "Score!" but Jane beat me to it.) What a steal. $250 plant for $0, that's a pretty unbelievable deal. Well, it went to the right home, anyone else might have killed it with kindness or ignorance. You will know what to do to keep it going - to 5 ft. and beyond!

  7. That price tag is so alarming! Well you are so fortunate to have this plant. Not because it's expensive but it's a beautiful exotic plant to have. When it blooms later, it is definitely going to be a show stopper! Take good care of it yeah...

  8. Good eye, I don't know if I would have had the foresight to pick it out of a lobby as such a stunner. Multiple offsets? Sounds like you could get some baby plants out of it if you want them. And eventually a flower stalk that lasts 6 months? All that and drought tolerant. Sounds perfect, glad you included a shot of the plant tag, I just love the descriptions.

  9. Good thing you 'fought' for the lobby plant! You saved yourself $250 and got one twice the size! Whoo-Hoo!

  10. I'm so incredibly jealous !
    You must have the most excellent Lobby Plant Karma ever !

    I belong to the S.F. Bromeliad Society and every now and then someone brings one of these striking beauties into our monthly show and tell table.
    Everybody hovers around drooling , looking for the potential of pups and pup removal.

    Enjoy !

  11. ricki, I've always kind of wondered about the story behind Bedford and Brown. I've never really understood "what they are," your comment helps.

    Jane, would you believe I came very very close to having 2 of them? But a co-worker ended up with the other. Damn!

    Pam, Patience is a virtue! It's not like we just drove right to Santa Barbara....we had to work our way there, with the anticipation building and building. All in good time...but let me just say OMG...it was better than I imagined!

    Karen, I hope you are right. Bromeliads are tricky and I certainly don't have the perfect environment for it.

    Stephanie, I cant even dare to wish for a bloom, that would be too much!

    Megan, luckily I had someone looking out for me that pegged it as "quality" and something I might like. When I potted it I saw what I thought might be the beginning of a pup but so far nothing. Unfortunately the IKEA pot I chose has a lip so it's probably in there fighting to get out. Investigating the situation sounds like a good winter project.

    D+N, darn toot-in.

    DD, "Lobby Plant Karma" huh? I think you've just one-upped me in the made up phrase category! So since you are "in the know" any care tips for me?


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