Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Imperial Bromeliad
Vriesea imperialis

Family: Bromeliaceae (bro-mee-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vriesea (VREE-zee-uh) (Info)
Species: imperialis (im-peer-ee-AL-is) (Info)

Synonym:Alcantarea imperialis

One vendor has this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

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:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
Maroon (Purple-Brown)
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds
This plant is monocarpic

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

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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By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #1 of Vriesea imperialis by Monocromatico

By palmbob
Thumbnail #2 of Vriesea imperialis by palmbob

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #3 of Vriesea imperialis by Monocromatico

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Thumbnail #4 of Vriesea imperialis by Monocromatico

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By palmbob
Thumbnail #7 of Vriesea imperialis by palmbob

There are a total of 27 photos.
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4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive jv123 On Feb 21, 2015, jv123 from Vancouver, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

V imperialis is more cold hardy than listed. A few winters ago it saw temperatures down to the low 20s, well below freezing overnight. It sustained a significant amount of damage, but recovered nicely and looks none the worse for wear. I think the fact that it was very large helped it shrug off the freezerburn. A very impressive bromeliad, one that is very nearly my favorite bromeliad.

Positive Torc On Oct 28, 2014, Torc from San Diego, CA wrote:

This is a wonderful plant. I live in SoCal and have two. I have them in large pots on pedestals made of concrete blocks (aka cinder blocks) that are stacked three high. This keeps the dogs and even the ants away from them. I will post photos. They are growing pretty much in full sun. I live in an area were they do get a sea breeze which I think helps. I flush them every day or so and water them with the flushed (nasty smelling) water from the bases of the leaves since I suspect it contains nutrients that they would receive were not growing in pots. I don't use any commercial fertilizer, only the flushed water. I do mist or shower them just about every day as the climate here is extremely dry. They do stand up well to cold. They have never been exposed to frost and once when there was a rare threat of the temperature falling below 32F/0C during the night, I covered them with old cotton bed sheets. The birds use them to bathe and drink. My only caveat, if you have one, is beware of the spiders that nest in them. The spiders do catch the mosquitos that hatch from the larvae that escape the flushing out, so I let them be. One plant has pupped but not yet flowered and it also has a very odd-looking (for me, at least) forked growth from its base, of which I am posting a photo. If anybody has ever encountered a similar growth on one of these plants, I'd appreciate the feedback.

Positive katsudon On Mar 29, 2005, katsudon from baguio city
Philippines wrote:

im from philippines living in one of the coldest part of the contry.
I have this in my garden. they do best in bright but filtered sun. mine already produced 5 pups, by the way the easiest way to propagate this plant is to get the pups that grows just beside the mother plant and planting them in a pots of fern chips. the larger the pot, the bigger it will get. the best fertilizer to use is a weak solution of fish emulsion.

Positive Monocromatico On Aug 10, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is a magnificent giant bromeliad, reaching up to 1,2m tall, but can grow up to 2m when blooming, It has large leaves, with a dark green superior page, and a purple inferior page. The spineless leaves form a rosette that acumulates water. Itīs not only important ecologically, but itīs also necessary to keep it constantly full of water. Itīs one of the largest bromeliads of the world, losing to species of the Andine genus Puya and maybe a very few isolated others from other genera (though I doubt they can grow that tall).

The inflorescence is huge for a bromeliad. White flowers protected by large bracts. The color of the bracts may vary from purple to dark green. The flowers atract a profusion of flying animals, from bees, butterflies, to bats and birds.

Itīs a living ecossystem that vegetates on the southeastern mountains of Brazil, mostly on cracks on the rocks with little organic, moist soil, but it will tolerate moderately moist soils, as long as you keep the tank full of water. Likes full sun and subtropical climates. It can be propagated from seeds that will float long distances if you donīt bag the seed heads. Iīm not sure if it will produce any buds or can be propagated by any other way.


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

Encino, California
La Jolla, California
San Diego, California (3 reports)
Santa Barbara, California (2 reports)
Big Pine Key, Florida
Bradenton, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Dade City, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Naples, Florida (2 reports)
Ainaloa, Hawaii
Kurtistown, Hawaii

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