Aechmea fasciata - Question

tammypie(9)August 2, 2010


I have two Aechmea fasciata growing in a pot, each with Pup.

My question is - In the nursery, Home Depot, Lowe's or whereever Aechmea fasciata is sold, the outer leaves are long, drooping and and silvery - absolutely stunning. My Aechmea fasciata's outer leaves are short and lack the gray-silvery color of the ones I see in the stores.

How can I get mine to look as beautiful as the ones in the store? Do the grower shoot growth hormones or what into them?

Thanks, TammyPie

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No growth hormones, Tammy, just fertilizer. Nutritional levels (and light levels) can make a huge difference in the appearance of many broms. Of course if you fertilize it heavily NOW, you won't change the shape of the leaves that have already grown out, you'll just cause the new growth to come out all long and strappy from the center of the rosette. Not a good look, so I'd recommend moderation in all things.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 4:44AM
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Hi lisaclv,

What fertilizer do you recommend, and what time of year should I start applying it and how often?

Thanks! TammyPie

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 3:50AM
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I didn't mean to suggest that this was not a good time of year to feed it, only that doing so will not reverse what has already happened, and too much may cause an unsightly growth spurt and ruin the symmetry of the plant. Feeding should take place whenever the plant is in active growth. Where I live, that's all year round, but if you find that things come to a standstill during the winter months, then it's probably best to hold off the fertilizer during that time.

As far as specific types and rates of fertilizer, you may be asking the wrong person. I find that each variety has its own light and feeding requirements, and that this will also vary depending on your location and conditions-- there is no one-size-fits-all. You just have to experiment with it until you get it right, but generally speaking, start with a small amount (maybe 1/4 the recommended rate on the label for foliage plants). You can always add more if need be, but if you get a sudden growth spurt that gives your plant "donkey ears", you can't undo it.

I generally use slow release pellets with a balanced formula (e.g. 13-13-13), but that doesn't mean that's the best method, it's just the easiest and most practical on a large scale. Foliar feedings will actually give you a lot more control and you can fine-tune the rate as you go, but it means weekly spraying (or mixing with the water) rather than top dressing every 3-6 months.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 7:04AM
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Well, I feed my cymbidiums with orchid food, using 1/2 the dosage (1/2 tsp. per gallon water instead of 1 tsp per gallon), and I do happen to feed my Aechmea fasciata with the same food, once a month only, pouring a little water into the 'vase'. So that probably won't hurt it.

BTW, I cut off two pups from two mothers yesterday, and potted them in their own pot mixed with potting mix and orchid bark. I hope they root successfully as I cut them very close from the mother plant. I won't feed them until next spring/summer, just give them very little water in their centers once a month.

Thank you for your advice. I live in So. California (So. Orange County).

Regards, TammyPie

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 2:59AM
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