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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Silver Vase Bromeliad (Achmea fasciata)

By Staff | Jun 24, 2015

Silver Vase Bromeliad (Achmea fasciata). Anita Force Marshall

First impression: Striking, exotic, flamingo pink colored petals that resemble an exploding firecracker. Gosh, all that pink in multitudes of pointed petals whirling around smaller buds of purple, red and blue. Patterned grey green colored leaves in the shape of a rosette are the holder for this blossom. These out of this world tropical flowers cover our garden like a blanket. They will never believe this one back home; follow the flashbulbs to our collection of you ain’t in Kansas anymore flowers in full bloom at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Achmea (ek-MAY-ah) hail from the Bromeliaceae family of which includes the pineapple plant that has such tasty fruit. Bromeliads are recognizable by stiff, toothed leaves that form a water collecting pitcher in the center. They are low growing terrestrial or epiphytic groundcovers, which originate from tropical America.

The name is spot on with the leaves encompassing like a silver vase. When not blooming, they are an attractive plant with silvery green patterned leaves. So showy and bright when blooming there is no passing them by without a closer look!

Silver Vase, is one of my favorite bromeliads and I like to plant them in groupings of five to seven, or more. When they bloom, it’s a great cue for family and friends to traverse and move from spot to spot in the garden.

Bubblegum pink petals that are sharp and ribbon-like, in whorls and rosettes adorning a candle like torch flower stem. The different phases of blooming also include peek a boo tiny petals of purple, blue and reds. The blossom is surreal and looks like the decoration on a very fancy present. Unfortunately, you only get one flower per plant as once they bloom they die. But wait, there is a happy ending, babies (pups) are sent out before to replace mama plant. How economical, you will always have bromeliads.

Silver Vase Bromeliad (Achmea fasciata). Anita Force Marshall

Once the flower fades clean out the mama plants and the pups will start the whole cycle over again and again. If you want to relocate some of your pups, wait until they are a third of the size of the mama and gently remove them.

Achmea, means spear point, and of course that is a great description of their leaves. Remember to wear gloves when working with them. Many a time after gardening with these beauties, I find new scrapes and scratches – They are blood thirsty!

Achmea can be planted, attached to logs, or rocks, or just propped up in any shady area. Our stars parents were naturally occurring in the tropics, but nonnative to our region. Frost free is their outdoor venue and are under story plants, and thrive in shady areas.

You will learn a whole new way of watering with these cuties; they do best when their reservoirs have water in them. Critters love them; they are ground level reservoir for frogs, lizards and birds. Be sure to listen for your thank you’s in the next frog chorus!

Pros:

Silver Vase Bromeliad (Achmea fasciata). Anita Force Marshall

* Likes shade

* Easy to maintain

* Flowers are unique, exotic and tropical

* Salt tolerant

* Is great for oooh’s and ahh’s

* Tropical ground cover to plant with other bromeliads

* Everyone needs at least one

* Frog attractor

* No care needed

* Attractive when not blooming

* Non Invasive.

Cons:

* Non native plant

* Needs cleaning after blooms

* Frog attractor

* It’s hard to say no to the flower!

Conclusion: Bring your camera or your paintbrushes to record the uniqueness of our beauties. Can you hear the song in our gardens ribbit..ribbit ? So many choruses, so little time in our eye catching tropical garden …

Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!