Aechmea maculata is one of the bromeliads that grows well in sunny locations. Flowering takes place in late winter or early spring. The inflorescence stands straight up, rising about a foot above the foliage. The stalk is decorated with pinkish-red bracts that are upright or at right angles to the stem. A gray, cone-like structure holds the yellow flowers, which open from bottom to top over a period of three to four weeks.
The vivid coloration of the inflorescence fades by the time the last flowers are opening.
Individual plants grow from two to three feet in height and about two feet wide. Leaves are stiff and armed with sharp spines along the edges. The foliage is arranged in an upright growth habit.
Ae. maculata is fairly hardy to cold, but leaves will be damaged if frost settles on the plant.