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Aechmea fasciata

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by Savahnna Rose on March 22, 2006 05:23 PM
Ok, so here I am again, with a plant I'm not entirely sure how to care for. My sister has a large Bromeliad that keeps sending up pups. I was given one and I tried reading up on it but I keep seeing so many different things I'm not sure what's true. I'm pretty sure that my Bromeliad is a Aechmea fasciata. Atleast from the looks of the leaves and the mature plant my sister has I think that's what it is. Could someone please give me care ideas? Watering (in cup or not), lighting (any chance they'd do ok in flourescent lighting?), feedings if needed, and other best to know tips?
Thanks
Savahnna

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by Will Creed on March 23, 2006 10:47 AM
Bromeliads are in the same family as pineapples and Spanish moss. They are "monocarpic." That means they die after flowering. The death is a slow one, often taking up to 3 years. In the interim, 1 to 3 offsets (called babies or pups) are produced to carry on the species.

Keep your bromeliad in a small (5 to 6") pot and place it on a north or east windowsill where it will get lots of bright, mostly indirect light. If it is properly potted, a weekly thorough watering will be just right. The soil should be quite dry before watering. The customary practice of keeping the cups filled with water has been discredited because indoors, where air circulation is poor, the cups often rot. Keep the soil barely damp and it will not be necessary to water the cups. Fertilize at half strength during the warmer months.

The pups can be left on the mother plant or they can be severed and potted up separately. If you choose the latter, then wait until the pups are about one-third to one-half the size of the mother. This takes about 6 to 9 months.

Remove the soil where the pup attaches to the mother plant. Most of the time the pup can be pulled away from the mother with a firm but gentle tug. Otherwise, cut the pup low on the woody part of the stem that attaches the pup to the mother. Allow the severed pup to sit in the open air (out of the sun) for a day before potting it. Pot the severed pup in a small pot filled with a mix of peat moss and perlite. Keep this mix damp and place it in bright light away from direct sunlight. Keep temps above 65 degrees. You may want to place it inside a clear plastic bag to help maintain high humidity for the first month after it is potted up.

New plants can be forced to flower by placing a small slice of tomato or apple in the cup and covering the plant with clear plastic. The rotting fruit will give off ethylene gas and induce flowering.

For more information on Bromeliads, go to the Bromeliad Society International website at http://www.bsi.org.
by Aaron D on March 23, 2006 11:43 AM
water must be kept in the center of the plant... especially if these are pups... WHICH may have no mature root system yet... the only way for these plants to absorb enough water to survive and not decline is through their leaves or the center "cup"...make sure the water in the center is kept clean, it readily invites mold to grow on the leaves of the plant and will result in rot... i always flush out at least twice a week with clean water, or just flip the plant upside down. a topical anti-fungicide can be applied to the potting medium to prevent rot of the base of the plant which is common indoors... these plants are great to have outdoors under a patio in the shade... i live in Texas and my Fasciata did just fine with the 100+ degree weather... ha ha [Smile] i just watered frequently and kept in a slighly slower draining medium... becareful many spiders like to make their homes in the funnels... a good defineing aspect if you have an Aechmea Fasciata is the single small point (thorn,slighly sharp)at the tip of the leaves and the white chalky banding of scales (trichomes) which are the scales which absorb the water through the leaves...

--AARON
member of the Greater Dallas/ Fort Worth Bromeliad Society, member of the Bromeliad Society International, member of the Central Texas Cactus and Succulent Society,Botany Student.
by Savahnna Rose on March 23, 2006 02:48 PM
Ok, if Aaron is correct, I can say for sure that mine is an Aechmea Fasciata. It has both the points and the white chalky banding. I have been keeping water in the cup (I've been using a stream spray bottle to help flush it out each time it's filled) but it seems to use up the water quickly. The roots are not rotting as I've checked, but one of the bottom leaves seems to be getting slightly brown on the edge. I'm not sure what this is from. Any ideas? The rest of the leaves look really good and seem to be healthy. Likewise, the dirt in the pot dries quickly. I have it in a small clay pot and it seems to drain well and dry quick. I'd always followed the... water when the top inch or so of the soil is dry... Though I'd say it gets dryer than that. How often should I water it? Also, I live in West Virginia and it's winter right now so it's pretty cold, I fear it would be too cold to sit in the window so it's sitting with my other three plants (a purple passion, a purple heart, and lucky bamboo) under a flourescent light. Will should this lighting be ok for now? I mean, it doesn't seem to be doing bad for the most part save for the one leaf.

* * * *
"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by Maya717 on March 23, 2006 03:20 PM
Oh, I think I did the apple thing incorrectly. You only need a small slice?! I put 5 or 6 apples in a bag with my bromeliad. No wonder it was stinky gross! Thanks, Will, I'll try it again as you suggest. Maya
by Will Creed on March 24, 2006 06:19 AM
Savahnna,

Sounds like you are doing just fine. If it is located just below the fluorescent tube, then that should be good enough. You may want to move it to natural light as soon as it is warm enough. As long as the leaves are not in direct contact with a frigid window pane and there is no obvious cold draft seeping through, then the windowsill is probably fine.
by Savahnna Rose on March 24, 2006 09:19 AM
Any idea what's causing the edge of the leaf to turn brown?

* * * *
"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by Will Creed on March 24, 2006 09:40 AM
I don't think that one edge of a single leaf has much significance. Ignore it or trim it off if it bothers you. Your Aechmea will lose some older leaves form time-to-time and often its starts with edge discoloration. Not to worry!
by Savahnna Rose on March 24, 2006 12:42 PM
Alright. Thanks for all the help! I'll be sure to let everyone know how things go.

* * * *
"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon

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