AECHMEA

FAMILY: Bromeliaceae

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Varies by Species

Plant Details

Gardeners in frost-free areas know this genus to be epiphytes, plants that grow on the trunks and branches of trees. All have rigid, strap-shaped leaves (often with spiny margins) that form a funnel of foliage around a central cup that will hold water after a rain. In summer, a plumelike flower arises from the center and is showy for several months.

amazonian zebra plant

aechmea chantinii

  • Upright or urnlike rosettes of 1- to 3 feet-long leaves in green to gray-green or olive-green are banded with silver or darker green.
  • Tall flower clusters have orange, pink, or red bracts, yellow-and-red flowers.
  • Fruit is white or blue.

silver vase plant

aechmea fasciata

  • Funnel-shaped rosette of handsome gray-green leaves cross-banded with silvery white.
  • From the center grows a cluster of rosy pink flower bracts enclosing pale blue flowers that change to deep rose.
  • The selection 'Silver King' has unusually silvery leaves; 'Marginata' has leaves edged with creamy white bands.

coralberry

aechmea fulgens

  • Green leaves dusted with gray, 1216 inches long, 23 inches wide.
  • Flower cluster usually above the leaves; red, blue, or blue-violet blossoms.
  • Aechmea f.
  • discolor has brownish red or violet-red leaves, usually faintly striped.

aechmea hybrids

  • Dozens of hybrids have been developed from the various species.
  • Among the most readily available are those in the Foster's Favorite group; they have bright, wine-red, lacquered, 1 feet-long leaves and drooping, spikelike flower clusters in coral-red and blue.
  • Another favorite is 'Royal Wine', which forms an open rosette of somewhat leathery, glossy, light green leaves with burgundy-red undersides; it has drooping clusters of orange-and-blue flowers.

aechmea pectinata

  • Stiff rosettes up to 3 feet wide; leaves to 3 inches wide, strongly marked pink or red at bloom time.
  • Flowers are whitish and green.

aechmea weilbachii

  • Shiny leaves to 2 feet long, green or suffused with red tones, in rosettes 23 feet wide.
  • Dull red, 112 feet flower stalk has orange-red berries tipped with lilac.

These bromeliads can be grown outdoors in light shade in pots or hanging baskets. Just be ready to bring them indoors before a frost. Indoors or out, they require a gritty, fast-draining soil such as orchid mix. Contrary to popular belief, it's not a good idea to keep the central cup of plants grown indoors filled with water; this often causes rot. Instead, water the soil around the plant. Let the soil surface go dry to the touch between waterings; mist the foliage of indoor plants frequently. Soft leaf tips indicate overwatering; hard tips indicate underwatering.

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