Vriesea hieroglyphica – Commonly known as ‘The King of Bromeliads’ due to its ultimate size, with the spread often exceeding 4′ in 10 years. It is primarily grown as a houseplant here and features lime green strap-like leaves heavily mottled in deep green banding. This native of Brazil has waxy creamy-yellow blooms. Grows 18 to 24″ high by 24-48″ wide. Zone 10.
Achmea fasciata – The Silver-Vase or Urn Plant is one of the better known bromeliads and is a common houseplant. It features rosettes of arching strap-like silvery-green leaves that hold water in the center (change water weekly in summer). Silver-Vase bears large showy pink bracts with pale violet flowers. Mother plant slowly dies after flowering. Grows 1-3′ high by 2′ wide. Zone 10.
Cryptanthus ‘Black Mystic’ – A terrestrial genus with rosettes that do not hold water, it makes a good terrarium specimen. The succulent sword-shaped leaves with wavy margins form multiple rosettes and are a dramatic chocolate brown, with silvery-white banding. Optimum temperature is between 65 and 85F. White flowers. Grows 6-12″ high by 12″ wide. Hardy to zone 10.
Billbergia ‘Casablanca’ (syn. ‘Casa Blanca’) – This cross of Billbergia ‘Caramba’ and ‘Afterglow’ was bred by Bob Spivey. It features olive green strap-like leaves covered in white dots or mottling (when grown in bright light) and an overall light pink cast. These are accented by red bracts. Prefers partial to filtered sun. Grows 20″ high by 12″ wide. Hardy to zone 10.
Neoregella ‘Sheba’ – This introduction by Chester Skotak makes a good houseplant or outdoor specimen in tropical climes. ‘Sheba’ features mid green strap-like foliage with white marginal edges, these turn bronze or rosy-pink with some sun. The center becomes deep red in spring (for 2-3 months) as the light increases. White to pale lavender blooms. Grows 15-20″ high. Zone 10.