Effective Tips for Growing the Silver Vase Plant
The silver vase plant is a striking houseplant with low maintenance needs. Its showy pink flower bract and delicate bluish flowers make it an eye-catching focal point for any room. Though it takes a while to bloom, it is worth the wait. While it has some special care needs, it isn’t a fussy plant. Continue reading to learn more about this exotic rainforest plant.
What Is the Silver Vase Plant?
The silver vase plant (Aechmea fasciata) is a member of the Bromeliaceae Family which includes the pineapple. The first time you see one, you’ll probably think it resembled a pineapple with its cluster of thick silver and green leaves. It also goes by the name urn plant, but we prefer silver vase. Most of the plants of this family are from New World subtropical and tropical regions.
It is an interesting plant, and unlike many other houseplants you may have grown before. While easy to care for, it has some special needs that will stand out. One of its most outstanding features is its rose-colored flower bract and small blue-violet flowers. However, the silver vase plant is slow-growing, so unless you buy one that is already pink, you’ll wait awhile to see it.
Planting the Silver Vase Plant
This plant is typically grown as a houseplant rather than an addition to your garden. However, if you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 10a through 11, you may have luck with it outside. Bear in mind though that is a plant that would naturally live in humid rainforests. It won’t fare well in hot, dry climates.
The plant will get about two foot tall with a similarly sized spread. However, it is a slow-growing plant. Most of its growth is above ground which makes it rather top heavy. A terra cotta or ceramic pot will help distribute the weight better. It’s a good chance to capitalize on its exotic look with an attractive container that matches its mood.
Now for the bad news. Unlike other flowering houseplants, it’s a onetime deal with the silver vase plant. It does flower season after season. Once it blooms, that’s it. It won’t be long before it goes to the big garden in the sky. However, it can take several years before it flowers, so you’ll be able to enjoy it for a long time. The flower will also last several months before it begins to decline.
Care and Maintenance
Caring for a silver vase plant is easy. It’s not too picky about what it needs which makes it a good choice if you’re new to raising houseplants. If it’s not happy, there are telltale signs that will clue you about what is lacking in its world. Fortunately, there are quick fixes for most issues. Basic care is similar to most houseplants except when it comes to watering.
The silver vase plant prefers bright indirect light such as it would get in its native Brazil. Direct sunlight will damage the plant and hasten its demise. A south, west, or east-facing window will suit it just fine. It’ll thrive in normal household temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It prefers it on the warmer side, so you can place them in a room that fits the bill.
Watering is where there is a slight departure from the typical care of a houseplant. You should keep the soil moist and avoid over-watering it. Just because it’s a rainforest plant doesn’t mean it likes soggy soils. Let it dry between waterings. You will also need to add water to its vase portion, the central area where the flower will emerge. In the wild, rainwater collects there.
At home, you’ll replicate it by filling the vase with water. To avoid bacteria development, you will also need to replace it every two to three weeks with fresh water. It’s a small price to pay for keeping this plant healthy and easing its way to flowering.
The most important thing it needs from the soil is good drainage. Root rot can become a problem even with a tropical plant. Any lighter soil mixture will do. To aid draining, you should opt for a peat-based mix. Because you’re using lighter soil, that heavier clay pot is essential to keep it from toppling over. If you keep the plants outdoors, make sure it is sheltered from the wind.
The silver vase plant is nontoxic if ingested. However, it may cause skin irritation. Then, there are its leaves. They have spines along the edges. Be careful when handling the plant. To be on the safe side, you may also want to make sure it’s well out of reach of pets and small children.
Special Care Notes
The silver vase plant is relatively problem free. If it develops brown leaf tips, it might not be getting enough water. A light misting should bring it back. If the entire leaves develop brown spots, the problem lies with light. What you’re seeing is damage from too much direct sunlight that is burning the leaves. Move it away from direct light, and the plant should recover.
The pest issues you may encounter are mealy bugs and scale. A regular application of an insecticidal soap will take care of most problems. And finally, its large leaves may become dust magnet, especially if you’re misting your plant. You should wipe down the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth to keep it looking its best. It’ll also help keep the plant healthy.
This video from Koppert Biological Systems discusses how mealy bugs can affect your houseplants.
The silver base plant is a low-maintenance plant that offers a stunning display of its beautiful flowers even if they only bloom once. As a foliage plant, it’s an attractive addition on it own. With the proper light and adequate watering, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with a gorgeous plant that will bring a bit of the tropics to your home.
Photo by HilaryFran licensed under CC0.