Aechmea are native from Mexico and throughout South America, along with the Caribbean, these plants hail from warm, moist tropical forests and can’t tolerate frost. Use caution when working around some of these plants, which can have beautiful but sharp curving spines.
Most Aechmea plants need bright, indirect light. They can tolerate morning light, but direct sun in the afternoon is too harsh and will burn the leaves.
There are over 200 species in this genus and many hybrids and cultivars. Blanchetiana, blumenavii, chantinii, and fasciata are some of the most common species for home growers.
The container should only be two to three times as large as the rootball but heavy enough to support the large aerial parts of the plant without tipping over.
As with all bromeliads, Aechmea species bloom once and then die. Typically, these slow-growing plants will bloom within about five years and die shortly after. In order to propagate them, cut off the small pups or offshoots that form at the base of the plant. Place these pups with the base in standard potting soil and keep it moist until they develop roots.
When growing them, keep the tank full, but allow the soil to dry out completely. Every few months, flush the cup out with clean water to remove any build-up of minerals.