Aechmea Fasciata – Indoor Flowering Plant
Aechmea fasciata is an exotic-looking bromeliad that grows epiphytically in its natural habitat in the rainforests of Brazil. In temperate climates it is grown as a houseplant.
Aechmea fasciata is also known as the urn plant, as its rosette of stiff, silver-blue leaves form an ‘urn’ or well at the centre that collects rainwater. In the home, the plant is watered by filling the urn, too, to around one inch deep. Ideally, use rainwater, or failing that, distilled or filtered water. Empty and refill the urn every couple of weeks to prevent the water stagnating.
Most Bromeliads are epiphytic which means they tend to grow on bigger plants, such as trees. If you can picture how such a plant might grow out in its native environment, think of it grabbing on midway up a tree trunk. So away from the very dark shady spots at the base of the tree but below the canopy and away from the harsh direct sun.
When your growing these plants in our homes, try to mimic the naturally preferred light levels by providing bright indirect light. It will do quite well in light shade as well, but you need to avoid deep shade or rooms with no windows.
More light will be needed if you’re attempting to grow the plant to flowering stage. In all cases avoid exposure to harsh direct sunlight or you’ll risk scorching the leaves and permanently ruining the plant’s appearance.
In their natural environment, Aechmea are opportunistic plants, capturing water in their central “vase” or “urns”.
These houseplants are not overly heavy drinkers so be careful not to over water at any time. Keep the central vase filled with water, emptying and refilling every month to prevent the liquid stagnating.
If the vase is filled then you only need to water the compost when it completely dries out. This is likely to be every couple of weeks. Possibly more so in very warm conditions.
If you don’t want to water by the vase method, then try to maintain slightly moist soil at all times.
If you can, misting the leaves frequently during warmer months will be appreciated. Otherwise, humidity is not an important concern in standard homes. If you have very dry air you’ll need to mist more often to keep the leaves looking their best and free of dust.
These plants are adapted to living on scarce resources so feeding again isn’t overly important. However, if you’re happy to do so, then provide a feed to the soil (never the vase) once in Spring and again in late Summer. You can also feed more regularly if you prefer to do this, but using a much weaker solution.