Friday, October 17, 2008

Pretty picture: Aechmea 'Del Mar' flower

Like with Oncidium 'Sharry Baby,' Aechmea 'Del Mar' is one of those plants I've heard about but not actually been able to view in person until very recently. I bought one (we only had three to begin with, and I know already that the price isn't going to go down any), so now I get to find out what it's like to live with.

The draw is of course the flower.


There aren't a lot of tropical plants suitable for growing indoors that have flowers anything like this. Plus, it's actually a lot cooler in person: the dark cobalt blue and bright white are pretty striking.

On the other hand, the foliage is disappointingly plain, as bromeliads go:

The full view of the plant.

And then there are the spines. I was not warned about the spines. I'm accustomed to bromeliads occasionally being a little prickly, but this is actually pretty aggressively unpleasant. Had I known, would I have bought the plant anyway? Oh hell yeah. But I might have, you know, hesitated a little bit first, or something.

Close-up on the spines. If you really want to be alarmed, open the picture in its own window.

Still, if it's as easy to grow as the other bromeliads I've got (and we seem to be accumulating them in a big hurry: the spreadsheet tells me I've got 32 now: 5 Aechmea, 1 Alcantarea, 3 Cryptanthus, 9 Guzmania, 5 Neoregelia, 1 Tillandsia, 8 Vriesea), and if it offsets as easily as the others, then I suppose it'll be worth it. We'll find out. Even if it's not easy and doesn't offset, it's surely worth some money to have something like this hanging around the apartment for a few months. I've spent more money for less benefit before.

In the greenhouse.


Lance said...

Looks cool, don't guess I've seen this one before either. And now I want one - with no place to put it.

lisa said...

Wow, very unique flower and plant! I like the they actually hurt?

MrBrownThumb said...

Cool plant.

I saw one of these recently maybe it was at the brom booth at the Independent Garden Center show? Anyway it has cool flowers and I can see why you were drawn to it.

mr_subjunctive said...


They really do. Or at least they really can. I'm less concerned about me personally, though, and more worried about the plants next to it: it's going to be tricky to move anything around in that area for a while.

Melissa Gay Art said...

So lovely! I love bromeliads, but have always managed to kill the ones I've had. (I think they don't get enough light in my house.)

Anonymous said...

great bromeliad but spiney... def need gloves with this one! I had one of these a couple of years ago but didn't know what it was called. If I remember correctly it held bloom for about a month. great pics!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

That is one awesome flower display. Bromeliads rule!

Anonymous said...

Take pics of the flowers when they emerge from the bracts. Don't recall the flowers being very long lived or noticable (but it has been a long time since I last saw them...). Fortunately the bracts more than make up for it!

Anonymous said...

In the plant shop I work in, we joke around that a lot of houseplants are like freshwater fish, mostly ordinary, but this plant is truly a glorious saltwater fish.

Mitch said...

Hey, Richard, we say the same thing here at our shop! Where are you from?

Laise said...

Paul said "Don't recall the flowers being very long lived". What impressed me the most about mine was that the flower lasted for about 5 months. 3 out of 4 pups are surviving, but nowhere near flowering yet. What's the best soil? Mine are in a mix of orchid mix and peat, but they're not 100% happy with that.

mr_subjunctive said...


Yeah, the flowers on mine were around quite a while too, though it's been long enough ago that I don't remember how long exactly. I've only managed to keep one pup going, but it's at least pretty big now. Might or might not ever flower indoors.

I have no idea about a best soil; I've used the same all-purpose mix I use for everything else, and that's apparently acceptable.