Vriesea bromeliads were discovered by W. DeVriese in the 1800's and have been a favorite of bromeliad growers and collectors ever since. Vriesea is grown for its long-lasting, brightly colored, sword-shaped flowers, but many varieties have leaves with striking colors or patterns. This bromeliad's tolerance to lower light levels makes it a good choice for indoor growing. A little harder to grow than some bromeliads, if given all it requires, a vriesea can thrive as a houseplant.
- Well-draining potting mix
- Standard orchid potting mix
- 4- to 6-inch clay pot
- Distilled or purified water
Soak your clay pot in water until it is saturated. This will keep the pot from sucking moisture out of the potting mix.
Mix equal parts of well-draining potting mix and orchid bark potting mix. Add 1 inch of pebbles into the bottom of the pot for stability and drainage. Place the bromeliad in the pot and fill with the mix until the top of the root ball is sitting flush with the surface, about 1 inch from the rim of the pot. Tamp the mix down well with your fingers, making sure the plant is stabilized in the pot.
Mix a one-quarter strength solution of an all-purpose balanced liquid fertilizer, such as a 20-20-20. Add 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid to each gallon of the mixture to make the water stick to the potting mixture. Pour the fertilizer solution into the container until it is level with the top rim and let it run through three times to thoroughly soak the mix. Pour some of the mixture directly into the center of the plant where the bloom stalks emerges, which is called the "vase" of a bromeliad plant.
Place your plant in a location with bright light but no direct sun. An east or south window is preferable, although Vriesea can withstand lower light intensities. Move it away from the window during cold weather, because they are not cold tolerant and require temperatures above 50 degrees. Maintain humidity by placing your plant on a pebble-filled tray to which water is added halfway to the top of the pebbles. Spritz leaves lightly with water daily in the early morning. Maintain a good air flow around your plant to avoid fungal diseases.
Keep the center vase of the plant filled with distilled or purified water at all times. Keep the soil slightly damp, but not wet. Fertilize once a month with a one-half-strength balanced liquid fertilizer. Flush the medium with clear water after every third feeding. Do not allow your plant to sit in water.