Now here is a plant that says “look at me”, a plant with attitude, big, bold and colourful. You may have received one for Christmas and it will give you many weeks of pleasure.
The common name of “urn plant” comes from the arrangement of the leaves. These are large and arch out from the centre forming a “vase”. It is from this “vase” that the floral display will begin to emerge. A pinkish shoot will start to form right down inside the centre of the plant and will gradually develop over several months. When it is above the leaves it will start to open out and from this the colourful blue and pink flowers will take centre stage.
Water your Aechmea by keeping the central “vase” topped up with water. Only water the compost occasionally to prevent it becoming bone dry. Tip the water out once a month or so and replace with fresh.
This floral explosion will last for many weeks and during this time you may notice tiny off-sets starting to develop around the base of the plant. This is an Urn plants method of reproducing itself as the parent plant will die after it has flowered. The flowering stalk will gradually wither away and it will pull out quite easily at this stage. Several off-sets may develop before the parent plant dies and these can be removed when they are a few months old and have some roots of their own. Pot these up into a well-drained compost and keep the plants in a warm, bright spot to develop.
It will take a few years for the plants to reach flowering stage again but with the promise of such a spectacular display it could be worth the effort and just think of all those extra plants you will have gained.