Table of contents:
The bromeliad family. Homeland Central and South America, Antilles. There are about 170 species in nature.
In culture, about 10 species and their varieties are widespread. The most common:
Echmea striped Aechmea fasciata is an epiphytic plant with a dense rosette of leaves, about 20 in number, linear in shape, pointed at the end, up to 1 meter long and about 5-8 cm wide, with a jagged edge. The leaves are green with broad silvery or white transverse stripes. The peduncle is straight and densely pubescent. The inflorescence is capitate with pink bracts, with a prickly edge. The flowers are small, sessile with violet-blue petals. Flowering begins in the first half of summer or late winter.
Echmea caudata Aechmea caudata is an epiphytic or epilithic plant with a dense rosette of green leaves. Leaves in shape and size, like striped echmea. The peduncle is straight pubescent. Paniculate inflorescence with red inflorescences. Flowers are small, sessile. The petals are yellow at first, then become purple. It blooms in early summer.
Echmea bracts Aechmea bracteata is an epiphytic or epilithic plant with a large elongated rosette of leaves. Leaves are green, leathery, about 1 meter long and 8-10 cm wide with large curved spines along the edge. The peduncle is straight, pubescent. Paniculate inflorescence with red, bent inflorescences. Flowers are small, with yellow petals. Flowering begins in late spring - early summer.
Echmea sparkling Aechmea fulgens is an epiphytic plant with a dense rosette of leaves about 70 cm long and 5-8 cm wide. The leaves are green on the upper side and purple on the bottom. The peduncle is straight, pubescent. Paniculate inflorescence with pink bracts and bright red small flowers. Often after flowering, fruits appear - red berries.
Temperature: Ehmei prefers moderate temperatures - in summer about 22 - 25 ° С and good ventilation, avoid cold drafts! In winter, around 17-18 ° C, minimum 16 ° C.
Lighting: Bright diffused light, possible with some direct sun in the morning or evening. Grows well on east and west windows. Echmeas with thick, stiff leaves (striped echmea, bracts echmea, etc.) can grow well on southern windows, where shading is required only in the hottest hours of the day (from 12 to 15 hours).
Watering: The soil should be in a slightly moist state all the time, but at the same time very loose, dry out in 1-2 days. In spring and summer, the outlet is filled with soft water. The water should be soft, filtered or boiled, at a level of about 3 cm. Change the water every two to three weeks.
Fertilizers: Fertilizing is carried out in spring and summer. For top dressing, special fertilizers are used for bromeliads. You can use half the fertilizer for other flowering houseplants. Top dressing is carried out after 2 weeks.
Air humidity: Ehmeya prefers rather humid air, about 60% humidity. Therefore, it is useful to regularly spray the plant with warm soft water from a very fine spray. In striped echmea, it is not recommended to wipe the leaves, since the silvery stripes on the leaves are formed from the smallest scales and films. If damaged, the plant may even die.
Transfer: Annually after flowering, into soil consisting of 1 part peat, 1 part leaf, 1 part pine bark and 1 part humus, 1/2 part washed sand or vermiculite. You can use commercially available bromeliad potting mix. The planting container should not be too deep or spacious.
Reproduction: Seeds and daughter shoots, when they are already sufficiently formed, i.e. have a length of about 13-15 cm. The resulting young plants bloom, as a rule, after a year or two. Plants grown from seeds usually bloom after 3-4 years. In this case, echmeas are transplanted every two years.