Vriesea is one of the bromeliad family and are known for their striking flat flower spikes that come in a variety of bright colours. The name is pronounced V-REE-se-a, and was named after an Amsterdam botanist, Willem Hendrik de Vriese.
The leaves on vriesea plants tend to be large, strap-like and glossy and are decorative in their own right. Seeds are released in a similar way to dandelions with a dry capsule that splits open, to allow seeds to parachute over a wide area. Unlike many plants, vriesea has no roots and the plant takes in its nutrients via a rosette of leaves. Its flowers are typically red, orange or yellow.
Vriesea do not grow in soil, but anchor themselves to trees. Native to tropical Guyana and Central and South America, they thrive in the shade provided by the canopy of trees and a warm, tropical climate.
As vriesea do not need soil to survive, they can be presented in unusual and attractive containers. They can be potted in a fast draining soil. Bromeliads produce offshoots that can be potted on to produce more plants with relative ease and success. Their unusual flowers mean they are extremely popular as houseplants and as gifts.
There are well over a hundred species of vriesea and they typically provide food and shelter for a variety of insects and small reptiles in the wild.
Warmth is essential for vriesea to thrive. The centre rosette or cup of the plant’s foliage should be kept full of spring water which should be changed often. The plant will take all its nutrients through the same central cup and liquid fertilizer should be applied very sparingly. The plants enjoy humidity and being misted should provide the humidity they require.
Did You Know?
Vriesea’s spectacular blooms have earned it the nickname ‘Mini Flaming Sword’.