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Bromeliads have rocked my world for many, many years so today I’m sharing the love. I’m starting out with the Aechmea fasciata, aka Urn Plant or Silver Vase Plant, because this tropical beauty makes a great houseplant and is so easy to care for. Beginning gardeners fear not, for this bromeliad with the patterned silver foliage and pink flower will have you singing “green thumb” in no time. These Aechmea plant care tips will help keep yours healthy as can be.

I started out my horticultural career as an interior plant technician maintaining plants in lobbies, malls, offices and hotels. Granted these aren’t the most welcoming environments for flowering plants native to the tropics and the subtropics but bromeliads really held their own. The Aechmea was the most common of all and their pink blooms long lasting. They made it into the pages of my houseplant care book Keep Your Houseplants Alive so you know they’re easy, and fabulous too!

Step 1:

Aechmea plant care tips:

Light: Aechmeas like bright light, like near an east or west window. They need this exposure to bring out the variegation in their foliage & also to flower. They’ll do okay in lower light for a few weeks but if you’re growing 1 for the long haul, bright is best. Just be sure to keep it out of direct, hot sun because it’ll burn.

Water: Aechmeas are epiphytes & in nature grow attached to other plants & even rocks. They get the moisture & nutrients they need through their foliage. It’s best to keep the vase, urn or tank (the center where the flower arises out of) 1/4 to 1/2 way full of water. I’ve found that the center of the plant will begin to rot over time if it’s kept completely full, especially in the winter months. Be sure to flush out that vase every 1-2 months with fresh water so bacteria doesn’t build up. I water the growing medium (letting the water thoroughly drain out of the pot) again every 1-2 months, depending on the temps. If your water is hard & full of minerals, then consider using distilled or purified water. Your Aechmea would welcome an occasional spraying of the foliage every now & then.

Step 2:

Here’s a close-up so you can see the vase, urn or tank.

Fertilizing: Aechmeas, like other Bromeliads, get their nutrients from matter which falls on them from plants above. For this reason it’s best to spray the fertilizer onto the foliage & the surface of the growing medium. You can use an all purpose orchid food , diluted to 1/2 strength, or this fertilizer formulated for air plants.

I’ve never fed Bromeliads because I found they really didn’t need it. If your Aechmea does, just be sure not to put any fertilizer in the vase (the salts build up) & do the feeding in spring or summer.

Step 3:

Oh yes, the Aechmea hanging out in my bathroom with its fellow Bromeliad buddy, the Neorogelia.


Growing Mix:
Aechmeas need a mix which drains extremely well. They’ll grow fine in orchid bark or cymbidium mix. I’ve also used 3/4 orchid bark mixed with 1/4 coco coir.

Repotting: Aechmeas don’t have an extensive root system so yours most likely will never need to be repotted.

Propagating: Aechmeas are easily propagated by the pups, or babies, which are produced off the mother plant.

Here’s a big head’s up: the flower & stalk will eventually brown & die. Cut the stalk completely off. You’ll see those pups will start to form off the base of the mother plant. The plant will slowly start to die (sad but true – it’s just part of its life cycle!). You can just cut away the foliage of the mother plant after its completely dried & dead leaving the pups to form in that same pot. Or, you can remove the pups after they’ve reached 4-6″ & put them in a new pot. another option is to mount them on driftwood or bark.

Step 4:

The reason this Bromeliad is so popular – the flower’s pretty in pink & blue!

Humidity / Temperature: Average on both is fine. Just know that Aechmeas prefer good air circulation. I grew Average on both is fine. Just know that Aechmeas prefer good air circulation. I grew Bromeliads in my Santa Barbara garden just a few blocks from the ocean so they got a fair amount of moisture from the air. If your home is really dry, then mist your Aechmea once a week. I grow my Bromeliads outdoors in the shade here in my Tucson garden so I up the ante with the water in those uber hot summer months.

Safe For Pets: I haven’t heard anything about these being toxic to cats or dogs. However, some kitties like to chew on their crunchy leaves so if yours does, you might want to keep your eye on that. It could make your cat sick.

Aechmeas make great houseplants and their large pink blooms can brighten your home for months.

Are you going to give one a try?

Stay tuned because next week will be all about the Tillandsia cyanea, or Pink Quill Plant.

Happy gardening & thanks for stopping by,

nell

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