(vree' see-ah)

Common name: Vriesea, Flaming Sword (splendens)

Family: Bromeliaceae, Bromeliad

Height x width: 12-36" x 6-36"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: generally lance-shaped or linear, 1-5' long (generally 8-24"), green or purplish often with crossbands, smooth margins; may have colorful bracts at leaf bases; often arching, forming a funnel-shaped rosette

Flowers: variously shaped short-stalked flowers, generally in flattened spike-like racemes or panicles in 2 rows, petals often tubular and short-lived, bracts often colored and lasting months

Light: bright to moderate, often tolerates low

Temperature: average to warm

Watering: moderate, keep leaf cup filled

Fertility: low

Humidity: humid

Soil: epiphytic or attached to slabs or bark

Pests and Problems: leaf spots (especially from drying), bacterial soft rot (especially during propagation), scales, mealybugs, leaf spots

Growth habit, uses: vertical surfaces, flowering effect

Other interest: native to Central and South America; named for 19th century Dutch botanist W. de Vriese; closely related to Tillandsia; fenestralis and gigantea are nocturnal flowering with a strong scent to attract natural nocturnal moth and butterfly pollinators

Other culture: rosette dies after bloom, but offsets replace it; may not bloom indoors with insufficient light or environment

Propagation: offset removal when half the size of original plant, seeds


Of the about 250 species, the following are often seen, with splendens perhaps most common.
Species height foliage flowers bracts
carinata 1' reddish green green-tipped yellow red bases, green
fenestralis 3' pale, dark green lines yellowish green green
fosteriana 5' green, purple crossbands yellow yellow
gluttinosa 4' green, banding below red-orange red-pink
hieroglyphica 3' yellowish-green yellow yellow
imperialis 12' pale red, 5' long yellow or white red
'Kitteliana' 3' dull green yellow yellow
'Mariae' 2' pale green yellow red
platynema 3' violet tipped, stripes, edges green-yellow red-yellow
psittacina 2' pale green yellow, green tips red or green
pulmonata 2' bright green bright red bright red
'Red Chestnut' 2' whitish flecks, bands yellow yellow
'Rex' 2' green yellow red
saundersii 2' gray-green, spotted below yellow  yellowish green
splendens 3' bluish-green, crossbands yellow bright red

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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