Plant Description

Megaskepasma erythrochlamys

Megaskepasma erythrochlamys

An eye-catching member of the Acanthaceae family of plants is the frost-sensitive shrub known as Brazilian red cloak (ht 2-3 m, can be kept shorter with pruning). It has vibrant crimson bracts in bold spikes held above huge, glossy, veined leaves. The actual flowers are small and white, and held on the tips of the bracts; they don't last for long. The foliage provides a useful tropical-looking effect for the rest of the year, like some of the other members of the Acanthaceae family, such as Justicia carnea and the Rhinacanthus beesianus. It will grow in sun or shade, and grows well even next to trees, though flowering seems to be best when there is some sun on it at the time of blooming. Hot afternoon sun in summer will wilt the large leaves. There are many specimens in the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, where they start to bloom around May and continue through winter. It should be pruned back after flowering. It grows easily from cuttings - use the material from its annual pruning. It looks effective grown nearby the reddish-leaved form of Iresine herbstii.

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Megaskepasma erythrochlamys
Out now in my Sydney garden.
Flowers from May to July.
Plant Family: Acanthaceae

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