The natural home of this plant is near the floor of the rain forest, where water from the tree canopy drips onto the tough, leathery, strap-shaped leaves. These often grow to 12in/30cm in length, and they combine in the center of the plant to form a natural water-retaining vase shape, from which the common name of silver vase plant is derived.
In mature plants 3-4 years old, a central pointed pink flower stalk some 6in/15cm long emerges from the center of the leaves. The top of the stem opens into many t racts, and in summer the flowers themselves, which are small and blue, bloom on -hort stalks that rise between the bracts.
They last for up to six weeks, after which the florescence gradually fades and shrivels, and then the rosette dies. At the same time, the plant produces two or three smaller spikes, or rosettes, which can be detached and rotted as separate plants.
HEIGHT To 20in/50cm.
POTTING MIX Soilless mix with a little fresh sphagnum moss: free drainage is essential.
REPOTTING Every other year.
PROPAGATION Once the offsets at the base of the plant have grown to a viable size, after 4-6 months, remove them in spring and pot them into a rich, barely moist potting mix. Or cut out the old rosette, allowing the new offshoots to develop instead.
KEEPING PLANTS Despite its exotic appearance, this plant is easy to care for. Simply make sure that neither the water well nor the soil dries out.
PLANT CARE aechmea fasciata care instructions
- A tolerant plant, taking either direct or subdued sunlight.
- Minimum winter temperature of 55°F/13°C with, ideally, 80°F/27°C in the growing season.
- Water twice a week with rainwater if possible, keeping lin/2.5cm depth of water in the well at all times.
- Do not feed this plant in the conventional way; instead, mist the leaves with weak liquid fertilizer occasionally in the spring and summer.
Aechmea fasciata ‘Purpurea’ has striking maroon leaves and silver markings; the gray- green leaves of‘Variegata’ are striped with cream-yellow along their length.
If the leaves develop brown tips and then shrivel, it is an indication that the plant is too hot and dry; increase watering.