Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Flaming Sword Bromeliad
Vriesea splendens

Family: Bromeliaceae (bro-mee-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vriesea (VREE-zee-uh) (Info)
Species: splendens (SPLEN-denz) (Info)

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is monocarpic
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 18 photos.
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5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Hempster On Jul 21, 2011, Hempster from Sacramento, CA wrote:

I simply love this plant. I have it in my kitchen in a east facing window and it loves it there. It gets around 2 hours of direct sun. I fill the center reservoir once a week and the soil 1 to 3 times a month (depending on how hot it's been). I was concerned about the heat from my oven, but that is not an issue.
The flower spike was about 2.5 feet tall on the parent last year. After the first bloom the parent plant did not die on me, only 3 leaves died after I cut the stem of the bloom. Then it just exploded with growth. It's 3x the size now and I'm waiting for the next flower spike to show. Can't wait.

Positive foodiesleuth On Jun 22, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I was given this plant as a birthday gift several years ago. It blooms profusely. We have had to divide it several times. Does quite well in our wetter area.

My son collects bromeliads and he has a huge assortment. Our latest blooms are the yellow Puna Gold developed in Hawaii

Positive MrRedwood On Jun 19, 2004, MrRedwood from San Francisco, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

To a casual observer, this looks like it could be a desert plant. I got mine from a previous owner that had given it full southern heat and sun. It took me over two years before I could cull the last of the burned leaves. Since then it's been very hardy. The spike lasts for a long time, providing a nice burst of color.

Positive Monocromatico On Nov 30, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

It needs high humidity and constant watering. This is an epiphyte from the moist forests of southeastern Brazil, and is sensitive to other climatic conditions. I tried to grow one in my bedroom, and when the red inflorescence started to fade, all the plant went down quickly because of the dry air in there.

An extremely good looking plant, whatever its blooming or not. But need some care too.

Oh, and be aware that this is one of the many endangered bromeliads, since lots of them are illegally collected from their natural habitat and sold everywhere.

Positive palmbob On Aug 24, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Great looking bromeliad for the tropical and subtropical gardens. Nice striped, mottled foliage, and stunning flowers in the later summer... though sometimes flowering seems sort of random. Needs to have the center of the plant kept wet, but overwatering the soil will result in rotting of the plant. After flowering the main plant dies, but then makes an offshoot or two. Usually those are divided off and a new plant is stared. Often planted in pots in the ground to make them look like they're really growing there.

Neutral euphorbrom On Aug 21, 2001, euphorbrom from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9A) wrote:

Green foliage with prominent dark bands across them. Do not fertilize. Keep some water in the center and change the water once a week. The bright red inflorescence will develop yellow tubular flowers that last only one day each. Do not expect seeds. A single pup often grows near the center of the plant; let it stay on, replanting it only when the adult falls apart. Relatively difficult for a bromeliad.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Camarillo, California
Sacramento, California
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Key West, Florida
Miami, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Honomu, Hawaii

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