Acantostachis – unpretentious bromeliad epiphyte – Beautiful indoor plants

From a distance, acanthostachis is very easy to confuse with cereals. Large, but airy, spreading, visually light, this plant seems so delicate that the details of its appearance and its relationship with bromeliads cannot be immediately guessed. Sharp thorns on the fleshy and tough leaves do not prevent acanthostachis from looking so graceful. It is an easy-to-grow bromeliad that can surprise you with its character. And when flowering begins, the bushes will shine in a new light. Inflorescences similar to flaming stars seem to be lost in long thin leaves and remind that acanthostachis is still exotic.

Acantostachis is an unpretentious epiphyte from bromeliads. Farmer Jon T. Lindstrom


Acantostachis – a bromeliad that looks like a cereal

In our country, acantostachis are considered not popular representatives of the Bromeliad family. And completely in vain. Unlike the much more capricious and difficult to grow Vriesia and Co., this type of plant can only surprise you pleasantly.

The appearance of the plant is not quite typical for bromeliads, but this is the main advantage of acanthostachis over competitors. Unusual in itself, revealing new secrets every day, this amazing perennial brings the most graceful lines to the modern interior.

The name of acanthostachis directly indicates the features that distinguish this plant from other relatives. The botanical name for the plant, which remains the most popular name around the world, derives from the Greek “thorn” and “spike” (acantha and stachys).

In nature, acanthostachis are Latin American endemics. They are common in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. Even in humid tropical forests, Acanthostachis give the impression of a stunningly graceful culture that soars almost in zero gravity – an airy, bright and unusual epiphyte that stands out from the competition.

The genus of acanthostachis includes only two species of plants, of which only one species is used in room culture. Acanthostachys pineal (Acanthostachys strobilacea) – without exaggeration, the most decorative representative of the genus, a fairly large herb with a tropical character.

Like all representatives of Bromeliads, acanthostachis forms rosettes of leaves, although their shape is not so pronounced and distinguishable due to atypically narrow leaves. The plant grows beautifully. Unlike many brethren, there is no need to wait for the mother’s outlet to die off, because acantostachis actively forms lateral shoots.

A showy and lush bush always looks good and is densely leafy. In favorable conditions, acantostachis can reach a height of 1 m. These are large and showy, but visually light plants, one of the best graphic plants for interior decoration – with clean, straight or arcuate lines. They accentuate and enhance the geometry in the decoration of the rooms.

Bright green, with an unusual olive, marsh, bluish, brownish, muted red tint, which, as a rule, is different for each plant, the leaves reach stunning lengths of up to 1 m.With a maximum width of 1 cm, they seem to be blades of grass, until you get closer to them.

Hanging, bending and bending non-uniformly, they create graceful and airy rosettes. Fleshiness, thickness, type of leaves, as well as sharp and rather dangerous thorns along the edge do not prevent acantostachis from always reminding of cereals.

The flowering of acanthostachis depends on the conditions, temperature, characteristics of cultivation and wintering. It is not completely determined by the presence or absence of cool wintering, so the flowering time can vary even for one generation of plants. Acantostachis, most often, bloom in summer, from June to August, or throughout the winter, pleasantly delighting for the winter holidays.

The inflorescences of this culture are typical for the entire family, but the compact size allows the spikelets of acanthostachis to look very original. Dense, clavate, simple, with a length of 3 to 7 cm, they are emphasized by two inflorescence leaves and seem even brighter because of the scales on a thin peduncle.

Sedentary flowers are about 2 cm long, narrow, with free sepals, bright yellow, only accentuated by triangular bracts with a convex shape, almost needle-like pointed tip, dense texture and bright fruity shades of orange color, which changes to brown as it dries. The glossy reflection of the bracts further emphasizes the beauty of the yellow flowers and enhances the similarity with the stars that have fallen on the bush.

After flowering, acanthostachis undertake pineal, somewhat reminiscent of a mini-copy of a relative of pineapple, seed fruits, which gradually turn a bright orange color and are no less decorative than the inflorescences.

The flowering of acanthostachis depends on the conditions, temperature, characteristics of cultivation and wintering.
The flowering of acanthostachis depends on the conditions, temperature, characteristics of cultivation and wintering. Farmer Darlan Adorno

Conditions for growing indoor acanthostachis

Acantostachis are surprisingly unpretentious plants for the Bromeliad family. They adapt well to different conditions, withstand shading. Even a warm winter for them can be compensated for by an increase in air humidity, so they feel great in the rooms.

These plants are equally good as a houseplant and as a greenhouse plant. As an unpretentious epiphyte, they are suitable for flower showcases and office projects. They are not afraid of being close to other plants, they can be grown not only as soloists, but also in groups.

When composing complex compositions, especially in various types of florarium, they are combined, first of all, with other bromeliads. Acantostachis can be grown both as a pot plant and as an ampel plant – long and drooping leaves create strikingly beautiful lines. In hanging form, acanthostachis makes an even more elegant impression.

Lighting and placement in the interior

Thanks to its narrow leaves, acanthostachis is strikingly shade-tolerant. He can put up with not only the usual diffused, bright lighting, but also with partial shade. True, it is better to accustom the plant to shading from a young age. A drastic change in lighting for this bromeliad is undesirable. It is imperative to protect the plant from direct sunlight, they leave beige spots on thin leaves that can spoil the impression.

Acantostachis can be placed both on the windowsill and not far from the window in the interior. The thorniness of the plant and the span of its leaves require a sufficient distance. But on the other hand, the lines of acanthostachis visually increase the space of the room, give lightness and grace to any setting.

Temperature control and ventilation

From spring to autumn, acanthostachis prefers stable warmth. Normal room temperatures are suitable for him, in the range of 20 degrees Celsius, and an increase to 25 degrees and above requires an increase in air humidity.

Acantostachis prefers to hibernate in the cool, but the inability to change the temperature of the content can be easily compensated by changing the care. Wintering at temperatures from 14 to 18 degrees is considered optimal for acanthostachis. If the temperature remains the same, then it is compensated by spraying.

Growing acanthostachis is possible even for novice growers
Growing acanthostachis is possible even for novice growers. Farmer Ruud de Block

Home care for acanthostachis

Growing acanthostachis is possible even for novice growers. He is not very fond of drought, but still forgives care mistakes. Both watering and feeding for this plant are quite standard. Some difficulties can be caused by his love for humid air, but acanthostachis can do with simple water procedures.

Watering and air humidity

 For acantostachis, the usual irrigation scheme is suitable – generous water procedures in summer and scarce watering in winter. In summer, the frequency of watering is set so that the substrate always remains moist, but without dampness. Acanthostachis is not afraid of complete drought, but it is better not to bring the situation to extremes.

In winter, watering is reduced so that the substrate remains slightly moist, reducing the amount of water several times and conducting occasional watering, depending on the condition of the soil. For acanthostachis, the funnel watering method is rarely used, and it can only be carried out in the summer. Due to the special shape of the leaves, this plant is best watered using the classical method.

The need for acanthostachis in high air humidity directly depends on the conditions of detention. The higher these indicators, the better the plant grows and looks. Usually, Acanthostachis is content with simple sprays, which are carried out daily in the summer.

With a cool winter, the humidity is not increased, with a period of rest in warm or hot weather, the air humidity is increased in proportion to how much the temperature exceeds the recommended values. It is not necessary to install humidifiers for acanthostachis, even with a warm winter, only spraying is enough.

Both for irrigation and for spraying acanthostachis, soft water is used, the water temperature should not be lower than the air temperature in the room.

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

For acantostachis, a lightweight feeding scheme is suitable. Fertilizers are applied with a frequency of about 1 time per month, using the fertilizer dosage recommended by the manufacturer. In winter, top dressing is not carried out, limiting the period of fertilization in spring and summer.

When choosing preparations for feeding this plant, it is worth stopping at special fertilizers for bromeliads.

Transplant, containers and substrate

Acantostachis can be grown both as a pot culture, and on snags, pieces of bark, decorative stands as an epiphyte, using in terrariums and florariums. When grown in soil, transplanting is carried out only as needed, trying not to disturb the plant as long as it has a place to develop.

For acanthostachis, you need to find the lightest and most loose soil. Ready-made substrates are selected from a number of special soil mixtures for bromeliads. If the soil is prepared independently, then leaf soil, spruce bark, humus, expanded clay or gravel are mixed in a ratio of 4: 1: 2: 1.

When grown on snags and decorative supports, the plant is attached with wire, wrapped in moss to create a nutrient medium.

Acantostachis, most often, are propagated by simple division, but you can grow a plant from seeds.
Acantostachis, most often, are propagated by simple division, but you can grow a plant from seeds. Farmer Vitaly Alyonkin

Diseases, pests and problems in the cultivation of acanthostachis

Acantostachis are quite resistant plants. But their thin leaves are very fond of scale insects and mealybugs. It is better to fight insect pests immediately with insecticide treatment.

Common growing problems:

  • the appearance of beige, light or brown spots in sunny places;
  • drying of the tips of the leaves in dry air;
  • brown spots on the thin ends of the leaves when watered with hard water;
  • Drying of leaves when watered with cold, hard water, during drought or in extremely dry air.

Reproduction of acanthostachis

Acantostachis are most often propagated by simple division. Due to the formation of side shoots, the plant allows you to get several new bushes every year. You can separate the children only when they have full-fledged sockets.

To separate the daughter plants, it is not necessary to remove the bush from the soil or transplant, you can carefully cut off the desired specimen at the base of the mother plant. The sections are treated with charcoal, kept in high air humidity with a slightly damp substrate at a temperature of about 20 degrees.

You can also grow acanthostachis from seeds. They are pickled in a weak solution of potassium permanganate or fungicide and sown only in crushed moss. Under glass or film, at a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius, regularly spraying, the plants are grown under glass until the first leaves appear, not forgetting to ventilate the shelters for fresh air. Acantostachis are planted after the plants release the third leaf. For small seedlings, the initial cultivation in the substrate is preferable.

  • , title : 'Bromeliads

Acantostachis - unpretentious bromeliad epiphyte - Beautiful indoor plants
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Anna Evans

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