This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The variegated AEchmea, AE. discolor, is a very showy and attractive stove plant belonging to the natural order Bromeliaceae. It is a plant to be found in a very few collections only, but as it is a very singular and attractive one when well grown, I am induced to call attention to it. For decorative purposes it is very useful, owing to its winter-flowering habit, and the length of time its brilliantly colored flower spike remains in an attractive condition. It is a plant that bears a considerable resemblance to a small pine-apple in its habit and manner of growth. It has long broad leaves, which are shortly acuminated near the apex; they are also considerably reflexed, as well as being sharply serrate; they are of a dull green color above, and of a dirty violaceous beneath. From the centre of the plant the flower panicle arises; it is much longer than the leaves and of a bright scarlet color; it is also branched and bears the flowers distantly spiked along the branches, the culycine segments being scarlet below and black on the upper portion.
It requires a treatment similar to that given all plants belonging to the natural order Bromeliacese. It should have, a season of growth, a season of rest after growth ceases, then liberal treatment should be given to assist in the production of the flower stem. When growing, a temperature of from fifty to sixty degrees will answer, and one of from fifty to fifty-five when at rest. It prefers a compost of rich fibrous loam and well decomposed leaf mould in equal parts, to which some small bits of charcoal may be added. Use the compost rough and pot lightly, taking every care to drain the pots well. Place the plants singly into four or five inch pots as early in the spring as possible, and then place them in a warm, light position, and when they commence to grow, water freely. About the middle of summer they will require to be shifted into larger sized pots, six or seven inch, according to the size and strength of the plant. Now treat liberally, in order to obtain as vigorous a growth as possible, and gradually bring it to a state of rest about the first of October. After this keep it dry at the roots until it is wanted to flower, then water freely, giving manure water so as to induce a vigorous growth of the flower spike; when in bloom keep the plant in a dry and cool situation in order to prolong the bloom.
After flowering cut away the old plant and the suckers, of which five or six will be produced, can be treated as advised for young plants. In this way the plant is propagated. Queens, N. Y.