Vriesea Philippo-Coburgii and Neoregelia Spectabilis hybrids
The Vriesea Philippo-Coburgii's are known for their outstanding cold hardiness, and will not flower unless they get some frost. If that weren't amazing enough, they also turn a lovely yellow-green color in high light and have dramatic tall red and yellow flower spikes. Their leaves are tough, yet glossy and smooth to the touch with dark purple "fingernails", and they're so shiny that it looks as if they've been polished. The surrounding "Painted Fingernail" bromeliads are also notably hardy, as I have seen them growing in trees with no protection surrounded by ice. I put these two together in the brightest and most exposed spot, where their painted fingernails can mingle.
These are among the most cold hardy bromeliads, as well as the most painful. Armed with backward pointing spines with needles at the tip of each rigid leaf, these guys will not get a good division til its absolutely necessary... they hurt a lot, yet I still cherish them for their dramatic form and beautiful pink and purple flowerspikes in spring, evoking cotton candy on sticks.
This guy is huge. The flowerspike has been blooming for at least 3 months and will get even bigger than it is now. In its pot it is tall as me. I found this hybrid of a Vriesea and Alcantarea at a Kanapaha plant sale, and the growers promised it was cold hardy. Since one of those guys planted the amazing bromeliads at the front of the garden, I'm going to take his word for it and protect the flowerspike from frost anyways. The plant at the base is Philodendron "Burle Marx".
Aechmea Cylindrata and Aechmea Gamosepala
A. Cylindrata from the first picture will bloom much like gamosepala below it. The main difference is the size, as Cylindrata is 4 times as big. The neon colors are an added bonus to the novel shape of the inflorescence. Both of these are known to be very cold hardy, and are planted as groundcover at the Jacksonville Zoo.
Neoregelia "Beau Geoff"
Probably my favorite neoregelia, this is a rarity that was hybridized just north of Orlando. The rigid leaves are actually metallic, and seem to glow with lavender. I was told its hardy, but I'm going to wait for it's pup to finish devoloping before I take the chance. This one is a favorite with my treefrogs.
More pictures to come!