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How to Grow Dyckia

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Dyckia is a terrestrial bromeliad with silvery-gray and occasionally reddish-brown spike-toothed leaves and thorny tips. The leaves are borne in rosettes. Orange flowers appear atop slender stems in spring.

Dyckia is often grown as a houseplant, but it grows well in tropical and subtropical gardens and in desert gardens where temperatures are not cold in winter. Dyckia must be grown in full sun in well-drained gritty, humus-rich soil.

Dyckia is a genus of evergreen succulent bromeliads native to South America.

Get to know Dyckia 

  • Plant type: Terrestrial bromeliad
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 13-15
  • Optimal growing temperature: day, 68°F (20°C) and up in summer, somewhat cooler in winter; night, 60° to 65°F (16° to 18°C). 
  • Height and width: 8 to 32 inches (20-80cm) tall, 5 to 16 inches (13-40cm) wide depending on the variety.
  • Foliage: Linear to lance-shaped or short, triangular, spiny-margined, stiff, often gray-scaly leaves; spiny leaves form rosettes up to 16 inches (41 cm) across.
  • Flowers: Tubular yellow to orange flowers; bears 15 to 20 waxy flowers on 12- to 24-inch (30 to 61cm) stalks.
  • Bloom time: Summer 
  • Uses: Houseplant, tropical garden, desert garden
  • Common name: Miniature Agave, sawblade plant 
  • Botanical name: Dyckia
  • Family name: Bromeliaceae
  • Origin: South America

Where to plant Dyckia 

  • Light indoors: Give Dyckia full sun from southern exposure. Air circulation is important. 
  • Light outdoors: Grow Dyckia in full sun.
  • Soil indoors: Grow Dyckia in a terrestrial bromeliad mix. 
  • Soil outdoors: Sharly drained, gritty, humus-rick soil

When to plant Dyckia 

  • Set Dyckia outdoors in a tropical or subtropical climate any time during the year.

Planting and spacing Dyckia 

  • Space Dyckia 5 to 16 inches (13-40cm) apart depending on the variety.

How to water and feed Dyckia 

  • Water: Water Dyckia moderately from latre spring to autumn. Keep the soil barely moist, allowing soil to dry moderately between waterings. Humidity, 35% or less. 
  • Feeding: Feed Dyckia monthly, with mild liquid fertilizer. Avoid oil-based products such as fish emulsion. Apply to soil after watering; never fertilize a dry plant. 

Dyckia care 

  • Dyckia growth slows in winter. Reduce water and frequency of feeding. Keep the plant in a cool place. 

Dyckia pests and diseases 

  • Check Dyckia for scale insects. 

Dyckia propagation 

  • Divide Dyckia clumps in late spring or early summer. Replant offsets
  • Dyckia can be grown form seed in warm soil in early spring.

Dyckia varieties to grow 

  • Dyckia brevifolia, sawblade plant. Glossy, dark green leaves with sharp spines; bright orange flowers. 
  • D. fosteriana. Grows 8 inches (20cm) tall and 5 inches (13cm) wide; flat rosettes of silver-gray leaves; bright orange flowers in late spring. 
  • D. platphylla. Grows to 32 inches (80cm) tall and 16 inches (40m) wide; dark green leaves with white scaled on undersides; bears bright yellow flowers in late spring.
  • D. remotiflora. Dense rosettes of narrow triangular leaves covered with gray-green scales; dark orange flowers in late spring.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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