How to grow and care for Flaming Sword Bromeliads (Vriesea spp) Indoors

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Flaming Sword Bromeliad, Vriesea spp

Botanical name: Vriesea spp
Family: Bromeliaceae
Sufamily: Tillandsioideae

Vriesea (Flaming Sword) Bromeliads are excellent houseplants with arching, smooth-edged leaves and and upright, sword-like flower-head with bright red bracts. They are typical Bromeliads with a central vase surrounded by a rosette of leaves. The leaves are about 1-1.5 ft long and the flower-head is up to 2 ft long. This species of Bromeliads are widespread over Mexico, Central America, South America and West Indies where they grow as epiphytes on trees. The genus name "Vriesea" is for Willem Hendrik de Vriese, a Dutch Botanist and Physcian (1806-1862). The most common species is Vriesea splendens which bears all-red, sword-like flower-head. Other types generally have more spreading flower-heads; they include the all-red Vriesea vulcana, maroon and yellow Vriesea favorite, red and yellow Vriesea carinata and yellow Vriesea rodigasiana. Some species are grown for their striking foliage like Vriesea hieroglyphica and Vriesea fenestralis.

How to Grow Flaming Sword (Vriesea) Bromeliads

Light for Flaming Sword Bromeliads

Flaming Sword Bromeliads prefer bright light but away from direct sunlight. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering Flaming Sword Bromeliads

Like with other rosette Bromeliads, Vriesea Bromeliads require the central 'vase' to be filled with water at all times. Empty and refill the 'vase' regularly to prevent growth of bacteria which may cause the water to become smelly. Use only chlorine-free water as they are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals that may be dissolved in water. Water the soil only when it dries to keep the roots moist; avoid waterlogging as it can lead to root-rot. Allow good air circulation to prevent pests and disease infestation.

Temperature for Flaming Sword Bromeliads

Average warmth with a minimum of 150C is ideal for Flaming Sword Bromeliads. To bring the plant to flower may require temperatures above 260C.

Humidity for Flaming Sword Bromeliads

Flaming Sword Bromeliads require a humid enviroment. Employ these techniques to raise humidity. Allow good air circulation to prevent pests and disease infestation.

Feeding Flaming Sword Bromeliads

Feed Flaming Sword Bromeliads with a liquid fertilizer (foliar feed) once every month during the growing season. Do not feed during the cold season as growth is minimal.

Repotting Flaming Sword Bromeliads

Repotting Flaming Sword Bromeliads is not necessary as their roots are tiny and are unlikely to fill the pot. Pot these Bromeliads in a shallow heavy pot to prevent them from toppling over as they can become top-heavy. Also provide support to help keep it upright.

Pruning Flaming Sword Bromeliads

Pruning Flaming Sword Bromeliads involves removal of dead leaves to keep the plant neat and tidy and to allow adequate room for the new plants to grow. Remove the dead foliage by cutting at the base with a clean knife or a pair of scissors.

How to Propagate Flaming Sword (Vriesea) Bromeliads

Flaming Sword Bromeliads are propagated from offsets appearing at the base of the plant. When the offset is several months old, remove it with some roots attached and plant shallow in free-draining bark soil. Place the set up in a warm shaded place until the plant is well established. Ensure the plant is well supported; due to their small roots it may topple over. Pot in a shallow heavy pot.

Common Problems in Growing Flaming Sword (Vriesea) Bromeliads

  • Brown leaf tips
  • Growing Flaming Sword Bromeliads where air is too dry will cause brown leaf tips. Employ these techniques to raise humidity.

  • Pale brown patches on leaves
  • Exposure to direct sunlight is the reason. Flaming Sword Bromeliad does not like to be exposed to direct sunlight. Protect it from direct sunlight or move it to a shadier spot.

  • Dark, soft, drooping, long leaves
  • Inadequate light for Flaming Sword Bromeliads is the cause of dark, soft, drooping, long leaves. Move it to a brighter spot; it prefers bright light but away from direct sunlight.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Vriesea Bromeliads are Scales and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat appropriately.

  • Plant death
  • Flaming Sword Bromeliads are prone to Root-rot Disease due to waterlogging. If the Bromeliad has not flowered the reason for death is root-rot disease. If it has flowered then rotting and death of rosette which bore flower-stalk is natural to give room for the new plants. Remove the dead foliage by cutting at the base with a clean knife or a pair of scissors.


Flaming Sword (Vriesea) Bromeliads are non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors.

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