Monday, April 6, 2009

Exotic Plant?

Dear George,
I came across your site whilst searching for some information about this plant (I hope you can open the attachment). I can't find a similar picture on the internet, and the lady who sold it to me (in a rather upmarket shop in town) yesterday didn't know the exact name (but muttered it could be from a family beginning with Ga...?). I gave it as a present to our local priest today, who really appreciated it and said it's going in their Easter garden, but I would like to let him know what it is..

I was told it doesn't like direct sunlight, only partial shade, but no tips as to watering / feeding. Because the leaves are cactus-like I would assume it doesn't want too much water. A lady I bumped into at the supermarket, after asking me where I got it from, suggested it might like to draw its own (lukewarm) water from a saucer.

I don't know anything about plants, and I've never come across this particular specimen during my travels. Could it be from Thailand? And, most importantly, is it safe to have around?

Any help would be really appreciated.

Thank you for your time and best wishes

Alessia, London (UK)


Greetings from across the pond.....

What you have is a Bromeliad, the botanical name is Aechmea ‘Blue tango’. This is a man-made cultivar, which means it doesn’t exist in nature.
Here is some culture on these plants…..

Their native soil is Middle and South America. They thrive in the lowlands of the tropical forests and even in some higher regions (up to 4000 m) of Sierra Madre and the Andes.

They thrive in different climate zones: tropical and monsoon climate of the rainforests, subtropical savannah climate with dry period either during summer or winter, subtropical steppe climate and subtropical highland savannah climate.

It is important to know the climate zone of origin of certain bromeliad, as you will be able to offer your plant convenient conditions.

Bromeliads are epiphytes. They do not drain the host tree, they are simply attached to the rough bark of the trunk or branches. They grow high in the tree crowns to bath in the shaded light. Some thrive even on the ground. They gather rainwater with all necessary nutrients in their specially shaped leaf rosettes. Some sorts that thrive in wet regions regulate the quantity of water with special sucking scales on the rosette leaves that open or close according to the needs. Sorts from the dry regions do not have distinctive rosettes, instead their surface is covered in scales that prevent vaporization.

Bromeliads flower only once in a lifetime. After the flowering the parent plant slowly dies, but new sprouts that appear around it continue the life.. We can transplant these sprouts in their own flowerpots filled with special soil mixture for bromeliaed. Bromeliads should flower in 2-3 years provided with appropriate temperature, humidity and enough light. We recommend buying the plant that is close to its flowering period.*

I hope this helps you and enjoy your lovely bromeliad.


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