Answer: Aechmea fasciata is a bromeliad with gray-green leaves crossbanded with silvery white. When given proper growing conditions, a floral spike appears in midsummer and lasts until early winter.
Bromeliads have arching leaves and a distinct central 'vase' from which a stout stalk emerges, bearing a bold flower-head. The secrets to successful growing include average household temperatures (heat during summer is what brings plants into flower), bright light but no direct sunlight, well-draining soil, and occasional feeding. Keep the soil just barely damp and fill the 'vase' with water, replenishing as needed. Every 4-6 weeks dump the water out and start over with fresh water. Mist the leaves in summer, substituting a dilute liquid fertilizer in the sprayer every few weeks, to provide nutrients to your plant.
As your bromeliad matures, little offsets will appear at the base of the plant. When these offsets have developed roots of their own, break off and plant in sharp sand or seed starting mix. They'll become established plants in a few short months.
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