Ehmeya - a brave warrior
The exotic ehmeya looks like a warrior well prepared for battle: the broad leaves growing from a funnel-shaped rosette and falling down are densely covered with thorns, and even the flowers are protected by pointed bracts. The name of the plant "ehmeya" has Greek roots and translates as "peak tip" - it is given for the similarity of pointed bracts to a peak. Amazingly structured inflorescences and ehmei flowers, depending on the species, have a variety of colors - pink, coral, red-gold, red and blue.
Description of ehmei
Genus Echmea (Aechmea) Belongs to the Bromeliad family. The genus unites about 170 species common in Central and South America.
The name Aechmea comes from the Greek aechme - the tip of the peaks - and, apparently, indicates pointed bracts.
Ehmei grow in places with a pronounced dry season and sharp fluctuations in temperature. These are epiphytes and land plants that form easily rooted vegetative shoots. This genus differs from other genera of bromeliads with leaves rounded at the edges. Leaves in well-defined funnel rosettes are monochromatic or variegated, hard or soft leathery, serrated along the edge. From the outlet grows a thick peduncle with a spectacular inflorescence head at the end. The stalk is shortened.
The variety of inflorescences and individual flowers is very diverse. A characteristic decorative element of all kinds is bright spiky bracts and bracts. The fruit is a berry. Each rosette blooms only once; after flowering, it dies.
Many representatives of the genus Ehmeya are beautiful ornamental plants that are widespread in culture. Ehmei are also popular because, unlike many bromeliads, they are relatively easy to care for.
Conditions for growing ehmei
Temperature: Ekhmei prefers moderate temperatures - in the summer about 20-25 ° C, in the winter about 17-18 ° C, at least 16 ° C.
Lighting: Bright diffused light is possible with some direct sun in the morning or evening. It grows well on the eastern and western windows. Ehmei with thick, hard leaves (striped ehmeya, bract echmea, etc.) can grow well on the southern windows, where shading may be required only in the hottest hours of the day.
Watering: The soil should be kept slightly moist at all times. In spring and summer, the outlet is filled with soft water.
Fertilizers: Fertilizing with fertilizer is carried out in spring and summer. For top dressing, special fertilizers for bromeliads are used. Fertilizers can be used for other flowering houseplants in half dose. Top dressing is carried out after 2 weeks.
Air humidity: Ehmeya prefers rather moist air, about 60% humidity. Therefore, it is useful to regularly spray the plant with warm, soft water from a very fine spray.
Transfer: Every year, after flowering into the soil, consisting of 1 part of light turfy soil, 1 part of peat, 1 part of leaf and 1 part of humus, with an admixture of sand. You can use a commercial soil mixture for bromeliads. The capacity for landing should not be too deep.
Reproduction: Seeds and daughter shoots, when they are already sufficiently formed, i.e., have a length of about 13-15 cm. The resulting young plants bloom, usually in a year or two. Plants grown from seeds usually bloom in 3-4 years. In this case, the ehmei are transplanted every two years.
Caring for Echmea
Ekhmey love a lot of light, carry direct sunlight, but can grow in partial shade. The optimal placement for plants is at the windows of the southwestern and southeastern exposition. At the windows of the southern exposure in the summer, light shading from direct sunlight is recommended. In summer, ehmei can be displayed on the balcony, gradually accustoming to bright light. Keep in mind that a purchased plant or plant after a long cloudy weather or after a penumbra location is accustomed to bright light gradually.
In ehmei with dense leathery leaves, especially in ehmei curved, with shading and high humidity, the color of the leaves becomes green and less decorative; they need the most light location and less humid air.
The temperature favorable for ehmei in summer is 20-27 ° C, in winter 14-18-18 ° C. Low winter temperatures stimulate the formation of peduncles. The rest period is either absent or short. Sparkling ehmei is kept in warmer conditions in winter than other ehmei.
The difference between night and day temperature (up to 16 ° C at night) is positive for echmea.
The room in which the plants are located must be ventilated. Ehmeya sparkling more resistant to stagnation of air.
In the summer, plants are watered regularly with soft and warm water, as the top layer of the substrate dries, first pour water into the leaf sockets, and then water the soil. Accidental drying of the soil does not bring tangible harm, but prolonged drying is harmful. Watering is reduced from autumn, watering is rare in winter, the funnel should be dry, occasionally the plant is sprayed with warm water. Before the dormant period and after flowering, the water from the outlet is drained! If the plant has faded, do not pour water into the outlet, otherwise it will lead to decay!
Ekhmeys carry dry air of apartments, but prefer the increased humidity of air. To maintain air humidity, the pot with the plant can be placed on a small tray with pebbles, in which water reaches the base of the pot. Spray the plant with soft, settled water.
Ehmei are fed with liquid complex fertilizers every 2-3 weeks, less often in winter - not earlier than after 6 weeks.
It is known that ethylene gas emanating from ripe apples and citrus fruits causes bromeliads to form flowers. Place the plant with a few ripe apples for one to two weeks in a transparent plastic bag and do not tie it very tightly on top. Four months later, the echmea will bloom.
If possible, ehmei are transplanted, removing faded rosettes, into a substrate consisting of deciduous, fibrous-peaty earth (in two parts) and sand (one part). This plant grows best on compost (humus) mixed in equal parts with chopped moss and deciduous soil, with the addition of sand and broken shards.
Propagated by echmea seeds and offspring. The latter method is more acceptable.
Young offspring are separated from the mother plant in March, at which time they are quite leafy and easily form roots. The places of cuts in order to avoid decay must be sprinkled with charcoal powder. The substrate is prepared from two parts of leaf, two parts of fibrous peat land and one part of sand. You can also use a substrate consisting of equal parts of humus, leafy soil and chopped sphagnum with the addition of a small amount of sand and broken shards.
In the seed propagation method, loose peat soil or sphagnum or crushed fern roots are used. Sowing care consists in maintaining humidity and high temperature (22-25 ° C) of the air, in sufficient watering and protection from direct sunlight. Three months later, emerged seedlings dive into a mixture of equal parts of leaf and heather land. Subsequent care is reduced to maintaining a constant temperature (at least 20 ° C), watering and spraying. After a year, the plants are transplanted into a substrate for adult plants.
striped echmea, especially its leaves, is slightly toxic and can cause skin inflammation.
Types of ehmei
Ehmeya Weilbach (Aechmea weilbachii)
Epiphytic plant with a dense goblet leaf rosette. Leaves are 30-60 cm long, 2.5-3.5 cm wide, linear-xiphoid, with a short pointed tip, grooved, curved, narrowed to the base, bright green, along the edge of the base with rare spikes. Peduncle up to 40-50 cm, straight, leaves on it are lanceolate-oval, thin, whole-marginal, imbricate, bright red. Inflorescence is a complex, spreading brush 15 cm long, with a bright red axis and inflorescence leaves, bare. Spikelets 2-6-flowered, loose, curved, up to 4 cm long.
Bracts are rounded, with a small pointed point, equal in length to the ovary. Flowers up to 2.5 cm long. Sedentary, curved in the upper part. Sepals are pale lilac, a third fused. Petals are rounded, pale lilac, with a white edge, 2 cm long. Blossoms in March-August, November. In a culture since 1879. Homeland - forests of Brazil. In floriculture, the var. leodiensis with leaves of bronze color.
Echmea Luddeman (Aechmea lueddeman)
Epiphytic or terrestrial plant with a goblet leaf rosette. Leaves (there are about 20) are 30-60 cm long, 4.5 cm wide, lapid, pointed or rounded at the apex, turning into spiky edges, with curved thorns at the edges, covered with pale scales. Peduncle 25-70 cm, with a white powdery coating, straight. The leaves on it are membranous, white, longer than internodes, whole-marginal, lower — erect, elliptical, upper bent, linearly lanceolate. The inflorescence is broad-shaped, cylindrical or narrow-pyramidal, 12-30 cm long. Inflorescences are simple or branched lower, the brushes are slightly flowered, friable.
Bracts are filiform, shorter than pedicels. Flowers rejected. Sepals of irregular shape, with a wide lateral wing and pointed, separate. Reed-shaped petals, with a notch, pink or blue, when fading, they become dark crimson. Fruits are bluish berries. It blooms in March and April. In culture since 1866. Homeland - Central America; grows on trees in forests or on stony substrates at an altitude of 270-200 m above sea level.
Echmea sky blue (Aechmea coelestis)
Epiphytic or terrestrial plant with a dense erect funnel-shaped leaf rosette. Leaves (including 9-20) 30-100 cm long. 3-5 cm wide, linguistic. at the apex pointed or rounded with a pointed tip, densely covered with scales. Peduncle straight, dense white. The leaves on it are lanceolate, pointed, membranous, red, with white thick pubescence. Paniculate inflorescence, about 1 cm long, white pubescent.
Bracts oval, with a pointed tip, brown or red. Sepals of irregular shape with a long spine, one third fused, up to 6 mm long. The lobes are reed-like, blunt, blue, with two scales at the base. It blooms in December January. In culture since 1875. Homeland - Brazil; grows in forests and gravelly open places.
Pubescens (Aechmea pubescens)
Epiphytic or terrestrial plant with a dense goblet leaf rosette. Leaves are few, up to 100 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, gray-green, lapid, grooved, with a pointed tip, with curved spikes along the edge, covered with white scales from below. Peduncle erect, densely pubescent or bare. The leaves on it are oval-lanceolate, imbricate, whole-edged, bright red, covered with pale scales. The inflorescence is up to 35 cm long, paniculate, friable at the base, initially densely pubescent, subsequently naked. Spikelets are linear, dense, two-row, 8-16-flowered.
Bracts are curved, broadly oval, with a pointed, leathery, equal to or greater than the sepals. Sepals are almost triangular, with sharp edges, strongly curved. The lobes are reed-like, dull at the apex, straw-yellow, with 2 fringed scales. It blooms in April and June. Homeland - Central America and the north of South America; grows in forests up to 900 m above sea level.
Echmea Orlandiana (Aechmea orlandiana)
Epiphytic plant. Leaves 30 cm long, up to 4.5 cm wide, lapid, pointed or pointed, with purplish-brown spots or almost black zigzag strokes on a light green or ivory background, along the edge with black spiky teeth, covered with scales. Peduncle straight, red, naked. The leaves on it are widely elliptical, pointed, serrate on the apex, filmy, red, the upper ones are tiled. The inflorescence is a dense, egg-shaped panicle up to 7 cm long. Bracts are similar to leaves on a peduncle, exceeding spikelets in length. Spikelets are almost sessile, dense, two-row, 4-flower, up to 3 cm long.
Bracts broadly oval, pointed. The flowers are sessile, straight. Sepals are free, irregular in shape, oblong, with a short pointed point. Petals are straight, rounded, yellow with a white wing, 2 cm long. Blossoms in November-December, as well as May. In a culture since 1935. Homeland - forests of Central Brazil. It requires a higher temperature of cultivation than other types of ehmey.
Echmea Chantini (Aechmea chantinii)
Epiphytic plant with a cylindrical leaf rosette. Leaves 40-100 cm long, 6-9 cm wide, few, linguistic in shape, with a pointed tip, densely covered with scales, light green or brown with wide silver stripes. Peduncle straight, with white-powdery pubescence. The leaves on it are lanceolate, bright red, broadly serrated, lower pressed, upper bent. The inflorescence is broad-celled. Bracts in shape are similar to leaves on the peduncle, serrate along the edge, slightly exceed the spikelets. Spikelets on long thin legs, narrow-lanceolate, 12-flower. The axis of the inflorescence is cranked.
Bracts broadly oval, bilinear, pubescent. Flowers over 3 cm long. Sepals are dull at the apex, fused at the bottom. Petals are dumb, orange. It blooms in March and May. In culture since 1878. Homeland - from Colombia to Peru and Brazil; grows in the forest at an altitude of 100-1160 m above sea level.