Ehmeya (lat.Aechmea) is a herbaceous perennial from the Bromeliad family. Native to South America, less commonly seen in Central America. About 200 species are known. Under natural conditions, it settles in tropical and subtropical areas, on loose forest soil, old trees, snags.
Indoors, they are grown in shallow flowerpots or on snags. On a shortened thick stem, leathery, tough, dark green leaves are spirally located, twisted closer to the base. The sheet plate is covered with a white protective coating. The root system is poorly developed, the flower receives nutrients through the foliage.
It blooms once in a lifetime, during this period a spike-shaped inflorescence appears on a powerful peduncle from the center of the outlet. Lateral offshoots are formed around the outlet. When the babies are old enough and strong enough, they are disconnected from the mother plant and planted in separate flowerpots.
Large, long leaves and bright bracts give particular attractiveness to echmea. The fruit is a berry.
Other names: Aechmea, Pike tail.
Ehmeya - popular types:
Echmea striped (Aechmea fasciata) is the most popular species in home floriculture. In nature, a fairly large plant, it grows up to 2 meters, but in indoor conditions it rarely exceeds 50-60 cm. Leaves are green with silvery stripes. The inflorescence is about 25 cm in length, spherical in shape, the bracts are pink, the petals of the flowers are immediately blue, then acquire a blue-red color.
Echmea sparkling (Aechmea fulgens) - green leaves with jagged edges, grow about 0.5 meters in length, 5-7 cm in width.In the flowering period, up to 100 pieces of coral-red flowers are formed, attached to a paniculate inflorescence.
Echmea caudata (Aechmea caudata) - leaves of bright green color with a yellowish stripe along the edge, collected in a socket. There are golden flowers on a long peduncle.
Echmea two-color (Aechmea discolor) - a feature of this species is the different color of the leaves: above - green, below - purple-red. The inflorescence is paniculate, the bracts are dark pink.
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An exotic plant captivates flower growers with its unusual beauty, besides, the flower perfectly adapts to new conditions. The main rule that must be adhered to is to provide sufficient lighting and air humidity; it is recommended to shade from direct sunlight.
It can grow in a dark room, but in this case it will not be possible to wait for flowering.
The catchy beauty of echmea overshadows the flowers placed in the neighborhood, so it is better to exhibit it as a soloist at some distance from other plants. If you still want to combine it with other colors, choose representatives with similar characteristics for the company, then you will get an original exotic composition.
Ehmeya perfectly purifies the air and releases oxygen. Therefore, it is best to place it in the bedroom.
Lighting. Bright and diffused. Feels more comfortable near the east or west window. When placing on the south side of the apartment, be sure to take care of shading and keep it away from the window. In the warm season, you can take out a flowerpot with a plant on a balcony or veranda, with light shelter from the scorching sun's rays.
Temperature. Despite the fact that the plant is thermophilic, it is better not to allow too high a temperature, it is optimal for growth and flowering: 23-26 ° C in summer and 16-18 ° C in the cool season. A decrease in temperature at night to 7-10 degrees is welcomed, this contributes to the appearance and development of a peduncle.
Air humidity. Dry air causes the leaves to dry out. In the heat of summer and in winter, when the central heating batteries are working, it is necessary to humidify the air around the echmea and spray the flower. An ideal option is to install a decorative fountain or a special air humidifier near the plant.
Watering. In summer, watering is carried out not only for the soil, but also additionally in the center of the leaf outlet, because in natural conditions, the echmeya feeds on the stored moisture in the leaf outlet during the time between rains. Watering after drying the soil. Water is not poured into the leaf outlet during the rest period and after the end of flowering.
In autumn, reduce watering and stop watering the leaf outlet. Water must be used in a separated, soft, room temperature. In winter, watering is rare, the outlet should remain dry.
Top dressing. Complex mineral fertilizers are applied from spring to early autumn twice a month.
Transfer. Transplanted every three years, while removing faded sockets. The soil is suitable for the store, intended for Bromeliads. Choose a pot wide, but not deep. Drainage is required.
Trimming and shaping. No special formation is required. With the help of a secateurs, the faded inflorescence that has lost its decorative effect is removed.
Bloom. It blooms in the third or fourth year after planting with attractive inflorescences with bright bracts. Duration of flowering from May to October. At this time, do not flood the plant, otherwise the root system will rot. Ehmeya blooms only once in a lifetime, but thanks to the young rosettes that have appeared, you will have several new plants.
Reproduction. Propagated by shoots and seeds. The most convenient way is the scions. To do this, at the beginning of spring, developed rosettes are cut off from the mother plant with a sharp knife, which have reached a height of 10-15 cm. The cut place is sprinkled with charcoal and, after a short drying, is planted in a prepared substrate. Spray young seedlings regularly. After a year and a half, you will wait for a beautiful flowering.
Diseases and pests. A hardy plant is sick only due to improper care:
Pests that can attack ehmeya: mealybug, spider mite, aphid. If you notice parasites on the leaves of the plant, rinse it with warm water, protecting the soil from water ingress. This is followed by treatment with special insecticidal preparations.
Ehmeya in winter. The admissible temperature for wintering is 16-18 ° C. Protect from drafts and frosty air. Watering frequency is noticeably reduced, no more than once every two weeks.
Interesting Facts. The plant maintains a good indoor climate, absorbs formaldehyde vapors and other harmful chemical compounds. Echmea juice has a weak toxicity, can cause skin irritation. Therefore, when transplanting, be sure to use gloves and wash your hands with laundry soap after the procedure.