Hechtia 'Silver Star' - A small terrestrial bromeliad to 1 foot tall by 2 feet wide with foot long silvery leaves that take on some reddish tone, particularly in winter and when foliage is wet.
Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate infrequently. Should prove hardy to the mid 20s. A good-looking silver landscape plant.
The first crops of Hechtia 'Silver Star' plants were selected seedlings from a cross made by Randy Baldwin and Jeff Chemnick between Hechtia argentea and Hechtia marnier-lapostollei in 2014. Hechtia is a terrestrial bromeliad in the Pitcairniodeae subfamily of the Bromeliaceae with such other genera as Deuterocohnia, Pitcairnia and Puya and is notable as being the one dioecious genus, with male and female flowers borne on separate plants. This cross used a beautiful Hechtia argentea that Jeff Chemnick has at his Aloes in Wonderland that came originally from Bill Baker's California Gardens Nursery as the seed bearing female plant. Hechtia argentea is a rare bromeliad that comes from dry cliffs and canyons in the Mexican State of Querétaro and has a beautifully symmetrical and full rosette of slightly reflexed silver leaves (actually green but covered in silver scales) with faint red mottling and an erect inflorescence with clusters of small white flowers. The specific epithet means "silver" in Latin.
The pollen parent for this hybrid, was a male Hechtia marnier-lapostollei that we grow have at San Marcos Growers that we originally got from the succulent master John Bleck. Hechtia marnier-lapostollei comes from further to the south in the Yautepec region of Oaxaca, near the towns of San Carlos Yautepec and San Juan Lajarcia where it grows at about 3,000 feet in elevation. It too is a fairly rare bromeliad with a more open rosette of shorter and thicker leaves that are green but covered in scurfy white hairs. Hechtia marnier-lapostollei was first introduced through the International Succulent Introductions (ISI) program in 1961 as ISI 217 Hechtia species but later identified by the specific epithet that honored Julien Marnier-Lapostolle (whose family was famous for Grand Marnier liqueur). Marnier-Lapostolle was avid botanist in France first received this plant from Fritz Schwarz of San Luis Potosi, Mexico and later sent the seeds of it to the UC Berkeley Botanic Garden. It was later named for him by the American botanist Lyman Smith. Both parents are hardy to drought and some cold, so it should prove to be a nice plant for a dry sunny spot with good drainage in the garden or in a large broad shallow container. Use care when handling any Hechtia as the plants have sharp teeth and the silver scales can easily be rubbed off which mars the plant's appearance. Avoid overhead irrigation which can also remove these scales.
This plant is very similar to some clones of a plant that Jeff Chemnick introduced under the name 'Silver Tongued Devil' that was a cross between his Hechtia argentea and Hechtia lanata. We sold out the last of the original seedlings selected in 2019 but are now working to vegetatively propagate some of the best ones that were selected from the group and we hope to offer up these beautiful plants at some point in the future.
Information about Hechtia 'Silver Star' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.