HOW TO GROW AECHMEA FASCIATA

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Aechmea fasciata is arguably the most impressive and exotic of all ornamental species from the Bromeliaceae family. However, despite its bizarre appearance it has proven itself to be a popular and robust houseplant. Its alien-like appearance does has other advantages, as one particular Aechmea fasciata specimen has managed to make its way on to the Starship Enterprise where it is featured in Captain Jean-Luc Picard's ready room!

Previously known as Billbergia rhodo cyanea, the strange appearance of Aechmea fasciata is all down to the specialist environment within which it grows. It is classed as an epiphyte which means it is a plant that grows non-parasitically upon another plant (in this case a tree), and manages to receive enough its moisture and nutrients directly from the air, or washed down to it from the rain. In the majority of cases, there is plenty of accumulated debris around the roots structure which serve as both a source of fertiliser and water. Epiphytic plants do not take water or nutrients from the structure or plant that they are fastened to. Luckily, you can also grow Aechmea fasciata as a pot plant so long as you give it the right environmental considerations.

Native to the Brazilian rainforest, Aechmea fasciata it is the easiest grown of all Bromeliads and require little attention. As you would expect they will do best in a warm, humid environment that is bright but out of direct sunlight.  When grown as a houseplant they will perform best with  a temperature range of between from 15-28 degrees Celsius.

Aechmea fasciata are best purchased as side shoots during late spring to early summer. Use sterilized, clean 5 inch pots and plant them firmly into any open textured, lime free compost mixture.

Keep the rosette moist or full of water and water the soil freely over the growing period but do not allow waterlogging. You can apply fertiliser to the foliage using a mist sprayer at a 1/4 of the recommended dose, or directly to the soil using the same dosage rate. A regular dose of fertiliser will only damage the root system. Once the growth slows down in the autumn keep the rosette and the soil. In a dry atmosphere it will be necessary to mist-spray throughout the year to maintain a constantly high humidity.

You may need to periodically rinse entire plant with water as needed to remove any dust that may have built up on leaves. Remove the dead flower rosettes as needed.

For related articles click onto the following links:
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HOW TO GROW AECHMEA FASCIATA
HOW TO GROW ASPIDISTRA
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Puya Raimondii - 10 seeds
THE SILVER VASE PLANT - Aechmea fasciata
WHAT IS AN EPIPHYTE?

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