Silver vase plant (Aechmea fasciata), also known as Urn Plant, is an incredibly beautiful bromeliad. It produces a breathtaking bright pink inflorescence with small violet flowers peeking out between the bracts. The plant blooms in spring when it’s three or four years old.
Its common name comes from the plant’s silver, waxy leaves, which form a reservoir (or vase/urn) to collect water. Like all bromeliads, silver vase plant absorbs moisture from the air through special scales on its leaves. It also absorbs nutrients from anything that falls into its water “tank.”
In this post, I’ll cover all aspects of how to care for silver vase plant – including how to induce blooming so you can enjoy these gorgeous flowers in your home.
How to Care for Silver Vase Plant
I consider silver vase plant of moderate difficulty to grow as a houseplant. It’s not super hard, but it does require some specialized care due to the nature of its growth (especially when it comes to watering). Here’s a brief rundown of the plant’s care requirements:
- WATER: Replenish reservoir, water roots once every 10 days (less in winter)
- HUMIDITY: Moderate
- FEEDING: Once monthly spring and summer (apply to leaves, reservoir, and roots)
- LIGHT: Bright, from an east- or west-facing window
- TEMPERATURE: 65 – 75 degrees F (18 – 24 degrees C)
- SAFETY: Non-toxic and safe for pets
- DIFFICULTY: Moderate
Keep reading for more in-depth information on caring for silver vase plant, including how to encourage flowering, propagation, and maintenance.
One of the most important things to learn when you’re figuring out how to care for silver vase plant is watering. You’ll need to replenish water in the reservoir formed by the plant’s leaves any time it dries out. There should always be around an inch of water in the “tank.”
In average conditions, you’ll water roughly once every 10 days. But check on your plant’s moisture levels daily until you’re comfortable with its needs in your environment. In summer, lightly water the soil once a week. In winter, reduce watering the soil to once every 10 – 14 days.
Never allow the roots to completely dry out in any season!
Empty the reservoir and refill it with fresh distilled water or rainwater once every 2 – 3 weeks. Silver vase plant is sensitive to the chemicals in tap water, so don’t use it. When moistening the potting soil, make sure it never gets soggy, as too much moisture can lead to root rot.
Silver vase plant prefers moderate humidity levels. Mist your plant a few times a week using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature distilled or rainwater. Place the plant on a homemade humidity tray, or place a high-quality houseplant humidifier in the room nearby.
See my favorite houseplant humidifier review (the one I’m using right now), or click here to view it directly on Amazon. If you don’t have a humidifier and want to grow tropical plants like this one, see my post on how to increase humidity for plants without a humidifier.
In spring and summer, feed your silver urn plant monthly with a liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half the normal strength. Spray the fertilizer onto the leaves with a spray bottle, fill the plant’s reservoir at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep, and also water fertilizer into the soil to feed the roots.
During winter, reduce feeding to once every other month. Feed the same way – diluted fertilizer applied to leaves, reservoir, and roots.
You can use any liquid houseplant fertilizer you like, but I recommend getting one specifically formulated for use on bromeliads. My favorite is this one by Aquatic Arts. I’ve had great success using this formula on my bromeliads. It encourages flowers and healthy leaves.
Silver vase plant requires bright light. The ideal location is in an east- or west-facing window. Avoid placing in a north-facing window, as it won’t provide enough light. And a south-facing window may provide too much direct sun.
If you don’t have a suitable east- or west-facing window location in your home, silver vase plant also grows well under artificial plant lights for 14 – 16 hours a day. I’ve been using this one from Amazon for my indoor flowering plants and they are LOVING it.
In fall, winter, and early spring, silver vase plant needs average room temperatures of around 65 – 75 degrees F (18 – 24 degrees C). In summer, the plant likes being placed outdoors, as long as temperatures remain between 70 – 85 degrees F (21 – 30 degrees C).
Never allow temperatures to drop below 60 degrees F (15 degrees C). As a tropical plant, Aechmea fasciata cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Keep the plant away from drafty windows and doors, and blasts of heat from heating vents or wood stoves.
The best potting soil for silver vase plant is an orchid mix or a mix formulated specifically for bromeliads. I’m using this Orchid potting mix by Perfect Plants and my bromeliads really seem to like it so far. But any coarse mix meant for orchids or bromeliads should work fine.
Re-pot your silver vase plant once a year in early spring until it fills an 8-inch pot. Then, you can leave it be until it flowers and puts out pups (in 3 – 4 years). Each time you up-pot, shift to a container with a diameter 2 inches larger than the previous one.
Silver vase plants performs best in shallow pots that are wider than they are deep. Once your plant matures and fills an 8-inch pot, it won’t need to be re-potted again. And once it flowers, it will slowly die over the next year after producing pups (see below).
Propagate silver vase plant by separating the pups that appear after flowering. Divide and re-pot pups once they are 4 – 6 months old and at least 6 inches (15 cm) tall. After removing the pups, keep the mother plant until she naturally dies or discard immediately. She won’t last longer than a year after flowering.
After potting the pups in the same potting medium the mother plant was growing in, keep them in a clear, loose plastic bag in warm temperatures for a month. Once established, you can remove them from the bag, place them in an east- or west-facing window, and resume regular care.
How to Make Silver Vase Plant Flower
If your silver vase plant is four years old and shows no sign of flowering, you can help it along by enclosing the plant in a clear plastic bag with a ripe apple or several apple cores. The ethylene gas given off by the apple helps promote flower bud formation.
Leave the bag and apples in place for 1 – 2 weeks for the best results. Make sure to keep the plant out of direct sun during this process to prevent overheating. Also, make sure the “water tank” in the center of the plant has plenty of water before you begin.
In addition, you can encourage flowering by feeding your silver vase plant a pinch of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Simply mix a small pinch into the water before watering your plant as usual. Don’t go overboard – just a small pinch that you can grab with two fingers will be enough.
Here are some common problems indoor gardeners often run into when learning how to care for silver vase plant (plus solutions).
- Leaves Turning Brown – If your silver vase plant leaves are turning brown, this is most likely due to low humidity and/or under-watering. In winter, increase humidity by misting every other day or placing near a humidifier. In summer, move to a shady place outdoors (as long as temperatures are below 80 degrees F). Water leaves with a spray bottle, make sure there’s always water in the reservoir, and never allow roots to dry out.
- Brown Spots on Leaves – If you notice brown spots on your silver vase plant’s leaves, this is due to sunburn. Move to an area that receives plenty of bright, indirect light and keep out of direct sun for a while. Expose bromeliads to direct sun gradually, especially in summer when the sunlight is more intense.
- Plant Rots at Base Without Blooming – This happens when the soil is kept too wet and/or there is insufficient air circulation. Plants that develop root rot often cannot be saved, so make sure you don’t over-water your silver vase plant. And make sure it’s in an area where air can circulate around the plant.
- Flower Spikes Rot at the Base – If your flower stalks are rotting at the base, this is because there is too much water in the plant’s reservoir. After flowering, reduce the amount of water placed in the “tank” and water by spraying the leaves with a spray bottle until thoroughly wet. Then, dribble water into the soil for the roots.
Here are some commonly asked questions related to silver vase plant care that you might find helpful (and my answers to them).
How Do You Water a Silver Vase Plant? Refill the plant’s reservoir (the central “tank” formed by its leaves), making sure it always has about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water inside. Spray the leaves with a spray bottle filled with room-temperature distilled or rainwater about once every 10 days. Pour some water into the potting soil once a week during summer, once every 10 – 14 days in winter. Never allow the roots to dry out completely.
How Do You Propagate a Silver Vase Plant? Propagate by separating pups after the mother plant has flowered. When pups are about 6 inches (15 cm) tall, divide and re-pot in the same type of potting mix the mother plant was growing in. Place them in plastic bags out of direct sun, keep temperatures warm, and wait a month until they are established. Then, remove from bags and remove regular care as you would for any other adult plant.
Where to Buy Silver Vase Plant
As a long-time collector of houseplants (some might even call me obsessive), I have never seen a silver vase plant for sale in my local nurseries. However, this might vary depending on your location and climate. I live in the desert, but you might be luckier if you live in a tropical area.
If you can’t find one locally, don’t let that stop you from growing this beautiful bromeliad! I buy my hard-to-find and exotic houseplants on Etsy. I prefer to buy from small growers because they care more about their quality and reputation than large online nurseries.
Click here to check the current Etsy listings for silver vase plant. Good luck and happy growing! (PS. Always check alternate names when searching on Etsy for a certain plant to find the best listings. In this case, look for silver vase plant, urn plant, and/or Aechmea fasciata.)