Aechmea fasciata

Aechmea fasciata

This is a very attractive grown member of the Bromeliaceae family of plants. Like many bromeliads, it prefers shaded site. Their leaves are adapted to extracting water and food for the plant, and are formed into a vase shape with a central cup that holds water, organic debris and insects. The roots of the plant are mainly to provide anchorage, so they do not need a rich soil. Being epiphytic, these bromeliads can grow in the forks of trees or on tree ferns. They are also suitable for growing in a pot. Height is around 60 cm.

This bromeliad has dark green leaves with silver banding. It is rather slow to increase, unlike many others. It has a stunning, large, tousled bloom: with pink bracts and blue flower petals, appearing in late summer or early autumn and lasting for many months. It would be good as an underplanting to Justicia carnea, as there is something similar about the shape of the flowers.

In general, these plants need minimal care - an occasional watering in very dry times and some slow-release fertiliser applied around the base of the plants in spring. If you have time, foliar feeding with a diluted liquid fertiliser is beneficial every so often. If grown in trees, a bit more watering and foliar feeding will be required. As with most bromeliads, however, don't overwater them as this can lead to rotting of the roots. As with most bromeliads, there are basically no pests that attack them. Propagation is by dividing off the young 'pups' of the plants in spring or autumn and potting these on in a shady spot until they develop a root system. Remove excess leaf litter from the central 'vase' occasionally - long tongs can be used!

Flowers in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December.

 Out now in my Sydney Garden.