Ehmeya is a charming indoor plant, which is famous not only for decorative leaves, but also for amazingly beautiful flowers. The dense bright inflorescence can be compared to a firework or an amazing star. The plant belongs to the Bromeliad family, so flowering can only be observed once in its entire life. Its homeland is the tropical part of Latin America, where plants settle on the trunks of large trees and snags. In this case, echmea is characterized by a relatively simple character and vitality. She will not cause unnecessary trouble, but will attract all the attention.
Ehmeya is a herbaceous perennial with long leathery leaves. In nature, the length of foliage can reach two meters, but houseplants differ in smaller dimensions. Height ranges from 30-90 cm. On average, the leaves are 20-50 cm in length. A linear or belt-shaped sheet plate has finely serrated edges and a pointed or rounded end. The leaves form a rounded rosette at the base with a funnel in the center. On the surface of dark green foliage there is a chaotic pattern of silver stripes and spots. Most often they are located transversely.
Echmea is an epiphyte, therefore its root system is intended mainly for fixing on the trunk of another tree. The flower receives the main nutrition through the leaves. During growth, in addition to the main leaf rosette, side shoots are formed. Each shoot is able to bloom. Usually this happens after 3-4 years and ends with the death of the outlet.
During the flowering period, a large inflorescence blossoms on a fleshy dense peduncle. It may have a capitate or spike shape. Among the long, bright bracts of a lanceolate shape, small buds are visible. In one inflorescence, several shades of pink, purple, blue or lilac flowers can be combined. Each inflorescence pleases the owner for several months. After pollination, the fruits ripen - small juicy berries. Inside there are small oblong seeds.
Attention! Ehmeya is poisonous, therefore it is impossible to eat its fruits in any case. Since the juice causes severe skin irritation, gloves must be worn while working with the plant, and then hands should be thoroughly washed.
The genus of ehmei is quite diverse, it includes several dozen species.
The ehmea is striped. Belt-like leathery foliage up to 60 cm long is collected in a high dense funnel. The edges of the leaves gradually hang. The surface of the sheet plate is painted in dark green color, on which there is a silver marble pattern. Rigid small teeth are visible along the edges. The inflorescence on an upright peduncle is 30 cm high. It has a pyramidal or capitate shape. Among the glossy pink bracts are bluish-red small flowers.
Ehmey Weilbach. Copper-red xiphoid leaves of a linear form form a symmetrical outlet. The length of a fairly wide sheet does not exceed 50 cm. It has smooth edges without spikes. The inflorescence on a reddish peduncle up to 35 cm long has a racemose shape. Large bracts fused at the base are red in color, and between them small flowers with lilac-blue petals are visible.
The echmea is curved. The plant consists of light green narrow linear leaves that grow together in a wide funnel. The leaf is 40 cm long and 1.5 cm wide. The edges of the leaves are densely covered with sharp spines. The capitate inflorescence on a fleshy peduncle reaches a height of 20 cm. It consists of salmon-red triangular bracts and pink flowers.
Ehmeya sparkling. Spreading leaf rosette of dense belt-shaped leaves forms a beautiful cascade. The sheet length is 40 cm with a width of up to 6 cm. The surface of the leaves is painted dark green with silver longitudinal stripes. Root inflorescences consist of coral bracts and bluish-pink flowers.
Ehmeya is empty. Dense shortened leaves grow in a circle in several tiers and form a high funnel. Long brown spines are visible along their lateral edges. The base of the spike-shaped inflorescence is covered with scarlet long bracts. The apex consists of small pink-yellow flowers that barely open.
Propagation of ehmei
Ehmey propagated by sowing seeds or rooting children. A young plant blooms for 3-4 years of life. Children or lateral processes with small own roots are separated when they reach one third or half the height of the mother plant. They are planted in separate small pots in early spring. Places of cuts on the baby and the mother plant must be sprinkled with crushed charcoal. Young seedlings quickly adapt to a new place and do not require special care. Do not rush to throw away a wilted mother plant. It is able to produce lateral processes several times. It is only necessary to periodically moisten the soil and to plant children as they appear.
Sowing seeds is carried out in shallow containers with sand and peat soil. Shredded fern rhizomes can also be used as soil. Seeds are distributed on the surface and sprinkled with a small layer of earth. The soil is moistened and covered with a film. Container must be kept at + 25 ° C. Seedlings are aired daily and sprayed plentifully. Direct sunlight should not be allowed on crops. Shoots appear within a month, they are grown in partial shade at high humidity. After 2-3 months, young plants dive in separate pots with soil for the Bromeliads. In the first year of life, seedlings need more careful care, warm maintenance and high humidity. The next transplant is carried out in the spring.
So that the rhizome of echmea is not affected by rot, it is recommended to replace the soil of the plant every year during transplantation. The best time for this is the beginning of spring. There is no need for a superficial rhizome in a deep pot, but it is desirable that the container be wide enough. The pot and soil in it serve not so much for nutrition as for fixing the vertical position.
The plant can be grown with a bush (the mother plant with the children). A large dense bush has a separate appeal. However, at least once every 2-3 years, separation and transplantation is necessary.
The soil for the ehmeya should have high breathability and easy to pass water. Fertile soils should also be preferred. Special land for planting ehmei can be bought at a flower shop (soil mix for the Bromeliads) or made up independently of the following components:
- river sand;
- sphagnum moss;
- deciduous land;
- deciduous humus;
- turf land.
Caring for echmea at home requires little effort. Many note that the flower is quite suitable for lazy gardeners. It is enough to create a favorable environment and abundant flowering along with dense spreading foliage is guaranteed.
Lighting. Ehmeya does not tolerate direct sunlight, but loves bright diffused light. It is permissible to grow it in partial shade. If the windows face north in the room, there may be a lack of lighting, which must be compensated for by fitolamps. The lack of light manifests itself in a change in the color of the leaves. They become faded and less expressive.
Temperature. The plant needs a seasonal change in temperature. If in the summer it feels great at + 25 ... + 28 ° C, then in winter the ehmey is transferred to a cooler room with a temperature of + 16 ... + 18 ° C. A stronger cooling is detrimental to the flower. Ehmeya loves the fresh air. Throughout the year, it is necessary to carry out regular ventilation, but you can not put a plant on the path of drafts.
Humidity. Ehmei live in tropical rainforests and therefore require high humidity. They can adapt to the natural humidity in the room, but near the radiators the leaves begin to dry and turn yellow. To help the plant, it is regularly sprayed, and also put closer to fountains or pallets with wet expanded clay.
Watering. In the warm season, frequent watering is required. The soil should always be slightly moist, and a little water should be left in the center of the funnel. However, excessively wet soil is contraindicated. Most of the water during irrigation is poured into a leaf outlet, and the soil is only slightly moistened. The fluid should be thoroughly cleaned of impurities. Rainwater is great.
Fertilizer. In April-September, the echmea is fed every 10-14 days with a solution of mineral fertilizer for the Bromelievs. Typically, in such a composition, the concentration of nutrients is half that of a standard complex for flowering plants. Top dressing is divided into two parts. One is poured into the ground, and the other into a leaf outlet.
Diseases and pests. Ehmeya is resistant to plant diseases, however, with excessive watering or keeping in a damp room, the roots, leaf rosette or the base of the peduncle rot. The first sign of the disease is shriveled and drooping leaves, as well as brown soft spots. It is rare to save a diseased plant. If possible, it is necessary to separate the children, treat them with fungicide and plant them in separate pots with disinfected soil.
Most often, the flower affects aphids, mealybugs and bromeliads. If parasites are found, the flower is bathed under a strong warm shower, and also treated with insecticides (Karbofos, Aktara).