Family: Bromeliaceae

Native to Central and South America, the Aechmea species are among the showiest of the bromeliads. Although these plants are large and the leaves are usually spiny, they are often used as house plants. The leaves may grow to 1 m (3 ft) in length, at times much less, and form a central vase which should be kept filled with water. They are sometimes marked with unusual bars, stripes or margins. The inflorescences rise on a single central stem, sometimes combining several colors, and are followed by long-lasting berries. Aechmea flowers, bracts and berries can retain their color on the plant for several months.


A. caudata 'Variegata', a variegated type, differs from the others, with a compact branching inflorescence of golden flowers.

A. chantinii has pretty, silver-barred leaves, with yellow-white flowers and long orange bracts.

A. fasciata is an exceptional flowering species with silver banding on the leaves, dusty blue flowers and pink bracts. Var. purpurea has purple leaves.

A. lueddemanniana is a large plant with rosy flowers followed by purple berries.

A. orlandiana has orange flowers and zig-zag markings on attractive leaves.

A. racinae, a beautiful small bromeliad, with yellow flowers and red berries, grows well in baskets.

A. tillandsioides produces an unusual inflorescence of red flowers, white bracts and berries colored blue.


The species develop root-feeding systems when grown in soil. Use a very open compost of fibrous soil and old leaf mould. They can also be grown epiphytically by attaching them securely to trees or pieces of driftwood. Regardless of the method of culture, light, warmth and humidity are the main requirements. Reduce moisture during the cooler months. A weak liquid fertilizer can be applied in summer. Propagate from the sucker-like offshoots known as pups. Take them from the side of the plant, pot in a tray, using a sandy peat mixture, and later put them into 15 cm (6 in) pots. They require a minimum temperature in winter of 18°C (64°F).


Warm to hot, moist to tropical.

Adiantum      Aeonium