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Vriesea – a magnificent indoor plant


In the Bromeliaceae family, fiery Vriesea really stands out.

A summary of Vriesea facts

Family – Bromeliaceae
Type – indoor plant

Height – 12 to 20 inches (30 to 50 cm)
Exposure – light but not direct light

Foliage:  evergreen      –      Flowering: end of winter or summer (species)

As original, colorful and exotic as its cousins, Vriesea is simply an astounding indoor plant. Native to South America, its deep dark green foliage and beautiful orange or red blooming are truly appealing.

Planting and re-potting Vriesea

Vriesea, like all other Bromeliaceae plants, requires soil that is sufficiently rich and very well-drained to grow well.

Vriesea potSpecial Bromeliaceae soil mix is the best solution but you can also opt for flower plant soil mix and layer the bottom with a thick drainage medium.

  • Vriesea never grows far-reaching roots, which is why a small pot, about 4 inches (10 cm) across and deep, is more than enough.
  • You will only need to repot when you want to split new shoots from the main plant.

Repotting vriesea

If you wish to repot your vriesea, wait for the blooming to end.

  • Vriesea roots hate having too much water.
    Double-check that the new pot has a hole in the bottom.
    Increase drainage with a layer of gravel or clay pebbles along the bottom of the pot, to make water flow through more easily.
  • Good soil mix is needed. Usually, stores offer special Bromeliaceae potting soil for sale, you can use that if possible.
    The plant, when it lives indoors, needs soil mix because that is the only source for the nutrients it needs.
  • Low but constant moisture levels must be maintained, which you can ensure if you spray the leaves often.
    You must rest the pot on a bed of gravel, rocks or clay marbles doused in water.

Best spot for a Vriesea

Vriesea requires temperatures that oscillate between 64 and 75°F (18 to 24°C) and never drop below 57°F (13°C).

vriesea location exposureThe temperature of a house or apartment is thus ideal for growing a vriesea.

An ideal location for your vriesea is in a spot where there isn’t any direct sun on the plant.

  • Vriesea can’t stand the sun’s rays when they touch its leaves directly.
    Good light but no direct sunlight is what’s needed.
  • Absolutely avoid setting it near heat sources such as radiators, because moisture is what this tropical plant needs most.
  • East or West-facing windows are thus usually the best call for your Vriesea.
  • Vriesea plants fear drafty spots.

Watering Vriesea and adding fertilizer

Regular but moderate watering is called for because Vriesea doesn’t usually require a lot of water.

In spring and summer

Caring for vrieseaKeep the soil mix barely moist and check that water drains properly.

Provide liquid leaf plant fertilizer more or less once a month to extend the blooming to the maximum.

  • Water from above, ideally with water that is already at room temperature.
  • It’s ok to let water collect in the little funnel where the leaves meet the stem. This is called the rosette. A couple drops a day are enough.
  • Take care to dry this vulnerable spot whenever the temperature drops below 65°F (18°C).

To retain a certain moisture level, it is best to put the pot atop a bed of clay pebbles or little stones wallowing in water. Evaporation will help recreate the living environment of their native habitat without needing to overwater.

In fall and winter

Limit the watering and wait for the soil to be thoroughly dry before watering again.

  • Stop adding fertilizer.

Diseases often found on a Vriesea plant

Most diseases targeted are common indoor plant diseases, red spider mitesscale insects, aphids and also powdery mildew.

  • If the color of the leaves turns pale, it is probably due to a lack of fertilizer.
  • If the inside leaves turn yellow or brown, it is probably due to too much watering.

Vriesea blooming and propagation

Propagating Vriesea pupsThere’s a reason why the Vriesea flower is so stunning: a plant will only bear a single flower in its entire lifetime!

However, as soon as pups or small offshoots start forming, you can separate them from the mother plant and nurture them. These will give you a new flower when they have grown a bit larger.

So it isn’t possible to make the same plant bloom again. But all the offspring you can divide from the main plant will be exact clones of the first one, flower included!

The Vriesea flower, commonly called Flaming Sword, is truly an outstanding houseplant that will lend your house a definite urban jungle touch!

Read also:

Smart tip about Vriesea

A fabulous indoor plant, vriesea is native to tropical forests and is rendered vulnerable by the dry air in our homes.

Spraying the plant regularly with rainwater and placing the pot atop a bed of wet gravel will help re-create the plant’s natural habitat.

Images: CC BY 2.0: Geoff McKay, Maja Dumat, Seiya Ishibashi, Jungle Rebel; Pixabay: Hans Benn
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  • Moyra Mckissockf wrote on 28 December 2022 at 3 h 19 min

    Where can I purchase these I am in West Australia

    • Gaspard wrote on 28 December 2022 at 4 h 38 min

      Hi Moyra, there are quite a few suppliers (Nature & Garden doesn’t sell). Physical stores in West Australia include Red Rock Nursery (Forrestfeild) and Benara Nurseries (Carabooda). Online, some stores will deliver throughout the country, like AusBroms (New South Wales), GardensOnline (South Australia) and Australian Plants Online (Queensland).