Alcantarea Bromeliad Species, Imperial Bromeliad

Alcantarea imperialis

Family: Bromeliaceae (bro-mee-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Alcantarea (al-kan-TAR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: imperialis (im-peer-ee-AL-is) (Info)
Synonym:Vriesea imperialis


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:



36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

This plant is monocarpic

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Encino, California

La Jolla, California

San Diego, California(3 reports)

Santa Barbara, California(2 reports)

Big Pine Key, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Dade City, Florida

Loxahatchee, Florida

Naples, Florida(2 reports)

Ainaloa, Hawaii

Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaii

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Leilani Estates, Hawaii

Nanawale Estates, Hawaii

Pahoa, Hawaii

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 21, 2015, jv123 from Chehalis, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

V imperialis is more cold hardy than listed. A few winters ago it saw temperatures down to the low 20s, well below freezing overnight. It sustained a significant amount of damage, but recovered nicely and looks none the worse for wear. I think the fact that it was very large helped it shrug off the freezerburn. A very impressive bromeliad, one that is very nearly my favorite bromeliad.


On Oct 28, 2014, Torc from San Diego, CA wrote:

This is a wonderful plant. I live in SoCal and have two. I have them in large pots on pedestals made of concrete blocks (aka cinder blocks) that are stacked three high. This keeps the dogs and even the ants away from them. I will post photos. They are growing pretty much in full sun. I live in an area were they do get a sea breeze which I think helps. I flush them every day or so and water them with the flushed (nasty smelling) water from the bases of the leaves since I suspect it contains nutrients that they would receive were not growing in pots. I don't use any commercial fertilizer, only the flushed water. I do mist or shower them just about every day as the climate here is extremely dry. They do stand up well to cold. They have never been exposed to frost and once when there was a rar... read more


On Mar 29, 2005, katsudon from baguio city,
Philippines wrote:

im from philippines living in one of the coldest part of the contry.
I have this in my garden. they do best in bright but filtered sun. mine already produced 5 pups, by the way the easiest way to propagate this plant is to get the pups that grows just beside the mother plant and planting them in a pots of fern chips. the larger the pot, the bigger it will get. the best fertilizer to use is a weak solution of fish emulsion.


On Aug 10, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is a magnificent giant bromeliad, reaching up to 1,2m tall, but can grow up to 2m when blooming, It has large leaves, with a dark green superior page, and a purple inferior page. The spineless leaves form a rosette that acumulates water. Itīs not only important ecologically, but itīs also necessary to keep it constantly full of water. Itīs one of the largest bromeliads of the world, losing to species of the Andine genus Puya and maybe a very few isolated others from other genera (though I doubt they can grow that tall).

The inflorescence is huge for a bromeliad. White flowers protected by large bracts. The color of the bracts may vary from purple to dark green. The flowers atract a profusion of flying animals, from bees, butterflies, to bats and birds.

... read more