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AECHMEA orlandiana 'Ensign'

Image of Aechmea orlandiana 'Ensign'

James Burghardt

Family

Bromeliaceae

Botanical Name

AECHMEA orlandiana 'Ensign'

Plant Common Name

Aechmea, Ensign Aechmea, Ensign Bromeliad, Ensign Orland's Aechmea Bromeliad

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

A carnival of color and texture in its foliage, the Ensign bromeliad has apple-green and white leaves with pink-red stripes and speckles and eventually forms a red flower spike with yellow blossoms. A tender tropical perennial bromeliad that is an epiphyte (grows upon other plants like trees), it is native to southern Brazil. It may also be propped in well-draining soil to look ground-dwelling but it is very tender to frosts.

The wide strap-like leaves form a vase-shaped rosette that holds water in the base. The light green leaf has edge bands of ivory with speckles of pink on the top and striped of pink-red on the undersides. Edges are lined with tiny dark spines. In late spring on mature plants, a fiery red flower stalk appears with a clustered head of red bracts (rigid modified leaves), from with the light yellow flowers emerge. The bract remains for weeks after the flowers fade, and from the base of the plant should be one to three young pup plants that will replace the dying mother. Established colonies of this plant often have snake-like stems clasping to the tree trunk or cliffside.

Grow Ensign bromeliad in nearly full sun to partial sun for best foliage coloring. Mount it upon a tree trunk or set in a hanging basket or prop in moist but fast-draining soil in frost free regions. Ensure the plant base is full of water in the heat of the growing season. This makes a breathtaking clustering accent for a tropical tree among sun-loving orchids like cattleyas and oncidiums or as a foreground accent in a mixed tropical border.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    11 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    12"-16" / 30.5cm - 40.6cm

  • Width

    10"-12" / 25.4cm - 30.5cm

  • Native To

    Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Very Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    No