Tag Archives: tropical

Our chameleon-like bromeliad: Aechmea blanchetiana

Canarius | Friday December 18th, 2015 |


Crop of pups of Aechmea blanchettiana, ready for shipping.

Crop of pups of Aechmea blanchettiana, ready for shipping.

Aechmea blanchetiana is a botanical species of the bromeliad family, originating in Brazil, from Bahia to Espirito Santo. It is a typical element of the vegetation that grows along the coasts, referred to as “restingas”, whose soils are generally poor and sandy.

This is one of the most popular bromeliads used for landscaping in tropical and subtropical countries. It can withstand powerful solar radiation, low availability of water and salty sea air. It is a plant that also endures shaded spaces, but the leaves turn green and rather soft and flaccid, therefore losing part of its beauty.

This large bromeliad is often used outdoors in full sun.

The genus name derives from the Greek “aichme” (spearhead) and the species is named after its discoverer, Jacques S. Blanchet. Currently,  Aechmea blanchetiana is widely used as an ornamental plant.

It is a large evergreen herbaceous plant that has a rosette with abundant leaves,  that turn bright orange when exposed to sunlight. Aechmeas are “tank-type bromeliad”, so leaves are arranged as a funnel and they form a central cavity, usually filled with water. Leaves are stiff, with soft spines at the apex and on the margins. Curiously, we could highlight that each rosette of Aechmea blanchetiana blooms only once  and then dies, but this process takes about two years and new “pups” are produced at the base of the mother plant. The blooming season starts in mid summer and the colourful branches last until the end of the year or even more, until they start bearing fruits. These  are small globose berries containing elliptical seeds about 1-2 mm long. It can be reproduced, not only by seed, but also vegetatively through the new “pups” that are born at the base and can be separated when they have reached a size of at least one third of the mother plant.

Frog inside an Aechmea blanchetiana

Frog inside an Aechmea blanchetiana

Currently, in the nursery of Canarius, we have lots of Aechmea blanchetiana, available in younger or adult sizes.

Furthermore, we also offer a large selection of bromeliads which are hard to find in European collections and gardens. Above all, thanks to the adaptation of these species to both the cold and dry heat of the Canary Islands (Spain), most of them can be grown outdoors in coastal mediterranean climates.