The acmea plants (Aechmea fasciata) come from far away, but have long since found space in our homes, where they are grown for the beautiful and prolonged flowering and foliage. In nature, they grow in the rainforests of South America, where they tend to grow as epiphytic plants, i.e.
without sinking their roots into the ground: they develop at the bifurcations of the branches, between the thick branches of other plants, wherever a little decomposing foliage provides a little space for the roots. Also in an apartment, it is advisable to imitate nature, therefore we cultivate our acmeas in very small containers, where the roots find just the space for inserting, without widening at will.
Features Acmea bandaged
From this little developed rooting apparatus, but formed by big fleshy roots, develops a thick rosette of big leaves spirally placed, rigid and fleshy, arched, long up to 40-50 cm, with sharp apex; at the point where they unite, a small calyx is formed, from which develops a big inflorescence, the most decorative part of the plant: the flower of the acmeae is formed by rigid bracts, semi-woody, of pink, orange or red colour, which form a sort of panicle, from which will bloom, for some weeks, small red, violet or pink flowers.
The most diffused species in cultivation is the acmea fasciata, with pink inflorescence, violet flowers, and excused green foliage, marked by dark coloured bands or by pruinose white-grey striae; there are some other species of Aechmea, with flower of different colour, but also with light coloured foliage, or with lateral bands in contrasting colour.
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- They decorate terraces, balconies and garden corners.
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How they are grown
The Aechmea fasciata are not very demanding, they need to be placed in a bright place, not directly exposed to sunlight, with a minimum temperature that never falls below 12-15 ° C, throughout the year. They prefer a very humid climate, but do not like to have their roots immersed in water: it is therefore advisable to vaporize the plant often, but avoid over-wetting the soil.
The best way to supply water to the acmeae imitates nature: instead of wetting the soil, we deposit in the calyx formed by the leaves the little water it contains; this little water is sufficient to make the plant vegetate, avoiding to favour the development of radical rottenness or of the collar, to which the plant is easily subject.
Let’s place our plant in a soft and well drained soil, made up of small pieces of bark, peat, leaf mould and sand; usually it is not necessary to repot these plants. It is necessary to change the pot only when the plant grows so much that it does not allow the container to support it; in these cases the plant is placed in a slightly larger pot than the previous one, placing a layer of gravel on the bottom of the container, in order to weigh it down.
Acmea – Aechmea fasciata: The strange flowers of the bromeliads
All bromeliads produce particular inflorescences, which carry the small flowers; the entire flowering takes weeks to develop completely, as each plant produces several flowers, each of which often blooms alone, followed by another when the first is withered. At the end of flowering, within a few months, the plant dies: first they dry up the bracts of the inflorescence, then they begin to dry up all the leaves.
At the sides of the plant, however, we will notice new shoots, which will give rise to new plants; we can detach them from the mother plant and repot them individually, or let them develop in the same pot, giving rise to a colony of plants. The life of a single plant can however last a few years, from the bud to the touching of the bracts of the inflorescence. New plants do not always succeed in developing flowers in apartments, where they usually find too little light.
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