Aechmea fasciata [EEK-mee-uh fash-ee-AY-tuh], a member of the Bromeliaceae family (Bromeliad plants), is also known by its common name Silver Vase or the Urn Plant.
The genus name, Aechmea, is derived from the Greek, aichme, which means “point.”
This refers to the stiff points found on the sepals.
The specific epithet, fasciata, means “bound together.”
This epiphytic pink flowering silver vase Bromeliad plant hails from Brazil and is an epiphyte, which like an orchid, attaches itself to trees and large plants.
This perennial plant has a life span of three or four years.
Aechmea Fasciata Bromeliad Plant Care
Size & Growth
These monocarpic bromeliads attain full growth within four years. The mother plant blooms, withers, and leave behind one or more offsets or new pups.
They attain a maximum height of about 3’ feet and spread no more than 2’ feet.
Urn Plant’s leaves are grayish-green, thick and arching. They typically start as solid green and then become variegated as they mature.
Some Aechmeas display colorful, banded leaves. Others may have leaves with gray scales.
There are a couple of types of Urn plants whose leaves differ somewhat.
One species known as Purpura has maroon leaves.
The variegated form – Aechmea fasciata ‘Variegata’ – has lengthwise creamy stripes.
Leaves grow in a circular fashion allowing them to form a central cup. This cup acts as a reservoir collecting water and nutrients to nourish the plant.
Leaf margins often sport black spines.
Flowering & Fragrance
At three or four years of age, Silver Vase Plant reaches maturity.
The leaves grow together forming a rosette shape at the center of the plant.
At this time, a tall flower stalk grows, bearing many pink flowers. This is not the true flower.
The actual flowers are tiny, odorless blue blossoms growing in between the bracts.
The blue flowers die quite quickly, but the pink bracts may persist for as long as six months.
When you buy an Urn Plant, look for one without the blue flowers.
Blue flowers indicate the pink bract has been in place for quite some time and may fade soon.
The majority of Bromeliad aechmeas are desirable because of the flowering bract they produce called an inflorescence.
This plant can grow top-heavy and turn over in certain containers.
Light & Temperature
Urn Plants like to grow in very bright light. Some Aechemas will have grown in full sun.
They will not flower with plenty of light.
When the pink bract has appeared, you should move your plant to a lower light setting to make the bract last longer.
The best location for fasciata plants kept as indoor specimens are in containers is an east or west window.
Keep the plant back from the window slightly to provide bright indirect sunlight.
The ideal temperature is an average room temperature between 60° – 75° degrees Fahrenheit (16° C – 24° C).
This temperature will allow the plant to thrive and help the bracts to last longer.
These plants can tolerate colder temperatures, but it is not advised.
Throughout the growing season, your plant will thrive well in temperatures ranging from 70° – 85° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C – 29° C).
In the wintertime, give your plant rest with temperatures ranging from 65° – 75° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C – 24° C).
These plants are winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 10 – 11.
Watering & Feeding
To water your bromeliad, you should keep its central cup filled with pure, fresh water.
Use only filtered or bottled water.
If you have hard water, be sure to use bottled water to water your bromeliad.
Hard water has lime in it, and this will cause the leaves of your plant to become disfigured.
The water should be replaced once a week to avoid disease and to avoid attracting bugs such as mosquitoes and gnats.
When you change the water in the reservoir, be sure to flush out the old water and rinse the cup gently.
You should also dampen the soil around your Urn Plant occasionally.
When the top half-inch of soil is completely dry, water lightly.
Never let the soil dry out completely as this is damaging to the plant‘s delicate root system.
Remember bromeliads have very small root systems, so you must neither overwater nor under-water.
Keep in mind bromeliads need a fair amount of humidity.
You may wish to set your plant on a tray of pebbles with a little water to increase ambient humidity.
Frequent misting can help provide the right amount of humidity, but be careful not to overdo it.
Excessive misting can cause problems with rot.
Keeping your Silver Vase Plant amidst other plants with lush green leaves can help keep the humidity level up.
Fertilize your fasciata plants once a month throughout the growing season (spring through autumn).
Use liquid houseplant food diluted by half of its recommended strength.
Fertilize via foliar spray. Spray the liquid food only onto the leaves of the plant, but do not pour fertilizer into the cup.
You may also fertilize the soil lightly once a month during the growing season and once every two months during the winter.
Half strength diluted plant food is used as both foliar fertilizer and root fertilizer.
Soil & Transplanting
As a potting soil, use an orchid potting mix or a bromeliad mix.
Mix up your own if you like.
Use equal parts of:
- Coarse Sand
- Peat Moss
- Leaf Mold
Alternately, use equal parts of:
- Perlite or Sharp Sand
- Peat Moss
- Fir Bark
When your plant is young, keep it in a 4” – 6” inch pot.
When repotting once your new pups have matured (after three or four years) move it to an 8” inch cache pot (a pot inside a pot) and keep it there for the rest of its life.
Because of their very small root systems, bromeliads like small pots and thrive when root-bound.
Be sure to choose a pot heavy enough to prevent the plant from toppling.
The Blooming Trick!
Once your small pup has grown to blooming size we all want to see the magnificent pink Fasciata bloom.
Commercial growers force plants into flowering using ethylene gas.
You can encourage blooming in your bromeliad using a ripe apple and a big clear plastic bag.
- Place your bromeliad in a large plastic bag
- Put a ripe apple in the bag
- Close the bag
- Place the bag with apple and plant in a shaded location for 7 -10 days – NO DIRECT SUN
- The apple helps induce the bromeliad to flower by giving off the ethylene gas
- Remove the plant from the bag
- The plant usually begins to develop flowers in 6-8 weeks.
NOTE: Grocery stores use to display their flowers in the produce section. Most have moved the flowers to another area away from the ripe produce.
Grooming & Maintenance
Remove dead leaves and rosettes as needed.
More Bromeliads to grow –> Colorful Guzmania Bromeliad plants
How To Propagate Silver Vase Bromeliad
It is easy to propagate bromeliads by separating offsets from the base of the plant.
Don’t remove them too soon.
Wait until the pup is about 6” inches long and then gently separate it from its parent and put it in a 4” inch pot.
If you wish, mount the pups on wood for their first season.
In tropical and semitropical settings, plant it in the landscape.
In these instances, you may even be able to plant from seed.
Be sure the soil where you sow the seed is well formulated to retain moisture and yet has good drainage.
In outdoor settings, partial shade is preferable.
Remember each plant will need a space of about 2’ feet surrounding it.
Urn Plant Main Pest or Disease Problems
Because this plant holds water, it is quite attractive to pests such as gnats.
It may also attract mosquitoes, and if rot sets in or the plant is otherwise compromised scale and mealybugs will invade.
Again, because this plant likes high humidity and holds water, it is also subject to fungal diseases such as leaf spot, rust disease, crown rot, and root rot.
If the soil becomes too dry, or the plant is kept too cold, you’ll see brown leaf tips.
Is the plant considered toxic or poisonous?
Bromeliads are not poisonous, but contact can cause skin irritation in some pets and people.
Always handle with care and wash up afterward.
Is the plant considered invasive?
These delicate plants are not invasive, even in areas where they are winter hardy.
Suggested Aechmea Fasciata Uses
Silver Vase Plant is most often kept as a houseplant.
It can make a nice understory planting in tropical and semi-tropical settings.