aechmea pup growing down into pot

petrushkaApril 6, 2014

i have a cluster of aechmea fasciata. one of the never bloomed 'pups' (about 4-5 years old) is producing a pup.
i was wondering why the 2nd 'pup' is doing nothing?
so i lifted the cluster out and discovered that the other 5 yr old pup was growing a pup too, but it was growing down inside the pot!
in the pic the normal pup is on the left, the one growing down is on the bottom right.
so i basically lifted the cluster out of the old pot and put it in a new one lined with coir matting to fill the space, so that the pup is above the rim and exposed. no new medium, just coir liner.
will it turn to grow up now that it's above and in good light? the plant is in good dappled light in western window.
why does it happen? is there anything else that could be done to redirect it?
i like to grow them in a cluster, so i'd rather not separate now or later.
i did flip the plant so that the bottom facing pup is now closer to the window(it was on the farthest side). i hope it will start bending towards the light and pointing if not up, at least to the side...

This post was edited by petrushka on Sun, Apr 6, 14 at 19:35

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I grow fasciata in a large wire basket with a coco liner. Works well for me. They will also grow on wood. They like to grow in groups.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:54AM
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i think the pup grew down because it was right against the pot wall and nowhere to go. there was a bump right on the other side of the stem that i took for a pup - so i did not check inside the pot...
the stem right below the pup has roots, so i cannot lift it all the way out of the pot.
perhaps i can put the whole plant in a wider pot? so that the pup will have room to grow sideways? and clear the rim?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 6:04PM
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Hi petrushka - The comments I made in a previous post about Ae, chantinii apply equally to Ae fasciata. I don't know if your climate lends itself to mounting these plants on trees or not but here in Australia they seem to like trees much better than pots.

What you have done should work OK as the plant is now higher in the pot and is free to roam. Like HDD says, a coir lined wire basket is even better because if a new pup grows down instead of up, they are able to break out through the coir and continue to grow, something they can't do in a terra-cotta pot.

I find that these plants tend to want to grow out of pots and in my experience this is telling us they would rather be mounted or planted in a basket as HDD says so they are free to roam. We shouldn't forget that in habitat these plants are epiphytes and in cultivation we just confine them to pots for our own convenience.

I have them growing in pots, on rocks in the garden and mounted on trees and the ones on the trees grow much better than the others as they are free to grow where they want and have a good air flow around them which is important for all epiphytes.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 5:36PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

HDD or splinter (or anyone else), when you use a wire basket & coir liner, what is the liner filled with? Pine bark chips, a fast draining mix or something else?


    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 6:41PM
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wow, nev, that's a gorgeous cluster!
i agree about the trees and would use a coco mat wire basket, IF i grew it outside. however, for near future i am still in the apt, so the pot will have to do, can't drip water on my wooden floors ;).
i stuffed it in a wider pot and pulled up the pup higher and turned it towards the sunlight - so hopefully it'll lift up.
i'll wrap some coco matting losely on top around the stem from which the pup is growing, so that the existing roots will not get too dry and may be pup will develop some roots in the future easier.
my plants are getting huge and they were still in 6" pot..
now i put them in slightly larger pot finally.
in this pic you see the oven in the background, so the cluster is over 3' wide. i keep the plastic pot inside a heavy clay pot - otherwise the whole thing will crash.
the 'old pups' that are each pupping now did not flower yet. they are about 5 yrs old. but this past year i've been giving them much more sun.
is it possible for them not to flower and continue growing 2nd generations pups?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 8:24PM
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tsugajunkie - I think you've answered your own question; I've found brom's very forgiving and resilient plants but the one thing they won't tolerate is "wet feet". They will grow in pretty well any sort of mix as long as it's open and well draining but can retain just sufficient water to be slightly damp but not wet.

Remember for the most part, descendents of the most commonly grown brom's we see in collections today, originally grew on trees with their roots fully exposed to rain and mists; but with this, was abundant circulating air which ensured they never remained wet for very long.

It's a well known fact that more plants are lost from over watering than under watering, that's why it's imperative that any potting mix is well draining

petrushka - Looking at the leaves of your plant I would say it isn't getting enough light and that's probably why you aren't getting any flowers either. Light = Flowers.

If a plant doesn't like the conditions, it's not uncommon to not flower but continue to grow and still produce pups. I've had plants that were growing in an area they didn't like due to insufficient light and after I moved them to a better area, the pups flowered but the original plant still didn't. The reason being is that it probably expended most of it's energy producing four pups in lieu of flowers.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 10:49PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Thanks, Nev. Much appreciated.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 5:17PM
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so what do the leaves look like, when they have enough light? shorter? tighter? more upright?
it's getting sev hours of direct west light year round - but only last year or so. though one side usually gets more then the other. and i turn it occasionally.
it's been tunneling for a couple of months now, so i thought that was a good sign - it's getting ready to bloom. is that not so?
though the prev sev years it was mostly in north-east window with much less light.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 9:37PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Shorter and wider with more sun.

The link shows a comparison.


Here is a link that might be useful: Aechmea growth

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 10:43PM
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oh, i see. nev's ones are very tight and upright.
but last year growth on mine in my best light looks similar to yours, tj. and mine never go outside.
do yours bloom?
see, the bottom very long leaves are 4 years old, from the north window. that's why they are so long.
what about the tightening of the crown?
here's a pic. does it look like it might bloom?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 1:04PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Yes, mine bloom. You'd have to look down into the throat (cup) to see if it is getting ready to bloom.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 5:06PM
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Wow. That is a beautiful clump Nev. I must get some of mine out on trees.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:02AM
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so i propped it the best i could and it turned up - the one on the right. both doing good.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 12:23PM
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would it be good to pot up to a deeper pot and cover up the necks, so the new pups are touching medium and can develop roots? or should i wait until they get 5-6" in size?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 12:25PM
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When tying bromeliads to trees or supporting them, it is best to use a mono filament fishing line for several reasons. First its thin enough not to give bugs a place to hide. Next it becomes invisible like in Nev's photo as it grows. It also will make a smaller imprint on the plant foliage.
Deep pots on a bromeliad that like to grow on trees usually
stunts the growth and blooming.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 10:00AM
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ok, so then i'll just wrap some coir matting around the joint, like what you see sticking out on the side of the pot? and keep it moist? i am indoors strictly, so can't put it in the wire basket or tree :)). but it needs to put roots out into smth, right?
the black shoe lace is just temp to hold it up against the shelving, so the pup can clear the pot rim.
so it is in 7" pot - 3 big growths and 2 pups which will grow big this summer.
it will never be in the tree or even outside. is the 7" pot. enough for such a massive cluster?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 10:30AM
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Pet a 7" pot won't sustain the plant for a long term but use your own judgement about when to move up the pot size to keep the plant healthy and vigorus. I have 2 clumps of this plant growning the small one is 4ft across and to heavy to move but its happy in the tree.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:19AM
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