I have loved plants all of my life. For a large portion of it, that meant indoor plants. Now that I have a largish property, it means lots and lots of garden beds with perennials.
I don’t have much time to tend indoor plants, but I still like to have a few of them around. They brighten up the house so much.
Last fall, I was shopping at Home Depot in the gardening center and had a look at the houseplants. They had a lovely Bromeliad – Aechmea Fasciata in flower and I fell in love with it. I did not think the flower would last long, bug for $16.99, I just had to have it.
Now, 6 MONTHS later, the darn thing is still blooming. How about that sort of bang for your buck. And not only is it still flowering but the bloom is setting off tiny babies around the center blossom, so I think it will be going for a while yet!
When I first got the plant, the flower was so incredible that I kept tugging on it to make sure it was real! It is that beautiful. But no matter how hard I tug, it is part of the plant, much to my joy.
If it were not enough that the flowers are so pretty, so are the leaves. My specimen has lightly variegated and striated leaves that are very large. They start out green and then get the extra coloring.
The plant name of this delightful beauty is Bromeliad – Aechmea Fasciata. It is originally from tropical regions of Central and South America. It is very easy to care for but not necessarily easy to get it to bloom.
- Light: The plant likes bright filtered light. I have had it in my home in several locations, from a north facing window with an eave overhang, to a fairly dark room and also close to a south facing window but not in direct sunlight. My experience is that the NC sun is too harsh for bromeliads, so I am careful not to give it too much sunlight.
- Watering: I water it about once a week, when it is dry about 1 inch down in the soil. It’s very happy with this and will take a bit of drying out as well, if I forget to water it. It needs more water in the summer months though. Brown leaf tips are a sign that the plant is being left until it is too dry. They also do well if the humidity is high, which is the main thing which our homes have a problem with, unfortunately.
- Flowers: Well…let’s just say I have never had a potted plant keep a single flower on it for 6 months. Incredibly long lasting bloom. It is best to buy one in flower, because they normally require green house conditions to flower. Some Aechmeas will flower again and some will not. It depends greatly on your care and the growing conditions. The flower has purple bracts which wither quickly but the main flower still keeps going (just like an energizer bunny – I just can’t get over how long they last!)
- Weight: Because of the nature of the flower, these plants are quite top heavy, so be careful where it is situated or you will have water all over your table if it topples over!
- Temperatures: Aechmeas like temps in the 65-75º range the best. Definitely do not let it go below 32ºF. They cannot take frosts.
- Propagation: The plant will send out “pups” at the base. Remove the pups and plant them in well draining soil in bright light with warm temperatures. Patience is required. It takes about 2 years for a plant to flower from a pup.
Have you tried growing Bromeliads? What varieties do well for you? Please leave your comments below.