University of California

Outstanding Ornamental:

Title Outstanding Ornamental 36
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Photo Information Aechmea fasciata
Auerbach, Jane: UC Master Gardener Vol.
Description This Aechmea fasciata was originally a rescue, probably one of those gift plants that someone discarded once its inflorescence faded. But we gardeners know that with patience, we'll see a new pup form, and flowers will eventually follow. Even knowing this, this bromeliad always surprises me: how can something so tough and scratchy look so paradoxically soft and inviting?.New pups, their leaves frosted white, develop without any fanfare. At some point, seemingly suddenly, they surround a very pale pink spike. As the spike continues to emerge, the pink of its bracts deepens and tiny dark blue buds become visible, turning violet and rose all at once as its flowers open. The bracts retain their color for months until they too fade, and the cycle begins anew. This photo is my favorite of many taken over a decade ago, when this Aechmea first bloomed in its pot on my front porch. It's still going strong, with yet another spike currently forming.

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