Aechmea (pronounced EEK-me-uh) gets its name from a Greek word meaning “spear tip”, named by Spanish botanists Ruiz & Pavon in 1794 during an expedition to Peru and Chile commissioned by King Charles III. These bromeliads are typically found in varied climates in Central and South America. They have prickly spines along the outside of their long leaves, and usually have a bright pink flower which will last for months. These bromeliads are perfect for the beginner grower as they are easily maintained.
Most Aechmeas are air plants which grow on trees, however many are sold as house plants and can be displayed in a home with a sunny window.
Light: Indirect light or moderate shade. Do not expose to direct sunlight, but they can be acclimated to higher light levels. Florescent lighting is sufficient making it a great office plant.
Water: Water in its central cup and keep it water in the cup at all times. Refer to our watering blog for more tips. If potted, avoid over saturating the soil with water to avoid root rot.
Temperature: Aim for 55ºF or higher. They can survive to 45ºF if in a quick morning frost.
Soil: Their roots are meant for parasitic hosting to trees and not for water as they are air plants. Choose a loose, damp soil to begin the potting process.
Fertilizer: Fertilizer sparingly with a liquid fertilizer during the growing season.
Propagation: After the flower bract dies back, cut it off at the base. New plantlets will emerge from the mother plant, which will gradually die back and can be removed at soil level. These new plantlets can be potted up individually in small pots, or left to form a clump of plants. Make sure newly potted bromeliads are well supported—they have tendency to fall over as the root systems are weak at first.
Repotting: Mature bromeliads should not be repotted. Smaller bromeliads can be potted into small containers until they are established, then moved into 4″ or 6″ pots until they flower. Be aware that a mature aechmea is a fairly top heavy plant and will tip over in a standard plastic pot. Make sure the pot is well weighted.
When a bromeliad is ordered on-line, it will either be taken as an offset from a mother plant, or it will be taken from a pot. Either way, it is possible that it has already started to grow roots.
Bromeliads are a type of plant called epiphytes, which means that they draw moisture from the air and don’t need to be in soil to survive. While their roots can draw water and nutrients, they typically serve as a plant’s ‘anchor’, attaching and holding it place.
Although mosquitoes are not a pest that can harm your bromeliads, they can become very annoying to everyone around them. Mosquitoes are currently a topic of conversation as common sense and the facts often give way to rumor and sensationalism.