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.
Keep your plant in a warm room, in a bright spot that is out of direct sun. It likes humidity, so place on a tray of damp pebbles or mist regularly.
The plant is usually sold in flower. This will last for many weeks before it fades and the plant dies back. The plant will form ‘pups’ or baby plants at its base – when they are around a third of the size of the parent plant, they can be cut away and potted
Light: Indirect light or moderate shade. Do not expose to direct sunlight, but they can be acclimated to higher light levels.
Water: Keep water in the central cup. Change water frequently with clean water to prevent odor and bacteria.
Temperature: Aim for 55 degrees or higher. They can survive to 45 degrees, but not for long.
Soil: Any soil mix as these are technically air plants that use their roots for support.
Fertilizer: Fertilize sparingly with a liquid fertilizer during the growing season.