The flaming sword plant (botanical name : vriesea splendens) is one of the most popular vriesea bromeliads grown indoors. This species features a red sword-like flower head that can grow up to 2ft tall and attractive mottled leaves.
Let’s take a closer look a closer look at how suitable the Sword plant is for growing indoors and the care required.
The flaming sword bromeliad is a flowering plant that belongs to the vriesea genus and Bromeliaceae family. Like other bromeliads, this species has a rosette of leaves and a cup or vase in the center which has to be filled with water regularly.
Many bromeliads can grow out of hand (that’s fine outdoors and can be a pain indoors), but fortunately, the splendens keep its maximum growth size quite manageable ( height 2 ft – diameter 1½ ft) which is why it’s a popular house plant.
Caring for these is not difficult, just different from other plants because they only require the center vase to be watered and not the soil. In fact, in their natural habitat, they do not need soil and will grow on trees. The roots are very small on this plant compared to most house plants and do not take water and nutrients from the root system.
Most bromeliads are grown mainly for flowering and others for attractive foliage. This plant is so attractive it’s grown for both.
How it looks: The wide arching leaves have the most striking zebra appearance about them and grow up to 1½ ft in length. The long flower head that rises well above the foliage has bright red bracts, shaped kind of like a sword and flat. Other vriesea plants grow with various types of foliage, flower head colors, and shapes.
Flowering: Vriesea splendens are in no rush to bloom flowers for you and need patience. This obviously depends on the age of the plant when a grower receives it. Grown from a pup it can take a few years or possibly less in ideal conditions. I find the bract is the most attractive part of the flowering process rather than the small tubular greenish-yellow flowers that appear.
Once the flowers have bloomed (which can last for a few months) and begin to die the plant will also die. The middle section of the plant will produce offsets that can be re-potted or placed on a bromeliad tree. These plants are potted for a place to sit rather than the soil, which is why they can be planted on a bromeliad tree (a large tree branch that can be used indoors).
|Flaming Sword (common). Vriesea splendens (botanical/scientific).
|Max Growth (approx):
|Height 18 in/45 cm, diameter 10 in/25 cm.
|Poisonous for pets:
|Non-Toxic to cats and dogs.
Flaming Sword Care
|To bring them in to flower you may need to keep the temperature up to around 75°f / 24°c and then average room temperatures above 65°f / 18.3°c at any other time.
|Bright light without direct sunlight is preferable.
|The vase needs to be kept topped up with water which should be emptied and replaced every two-three weeks The soil is best watered when it becomes slightly dry at the top, and avoid over-watering. Using a pot that has sufficient drainage holes is advised.
|A peat-based potting mix is fine – as long as it drains well.
|Feeding with a liquid diluted fertilizer from May – September is ideal, once every 4 weeks. They can also be mist sprayed with a foliar fertilizer to provide the foliage with nutrients.
|These should not need re-potting if they have matured. Smaller urn plants may need a slightly bigger container to give the roots more room for growth.
|Normal humidity indoors should be fine, and misting the plant leaves will help too.
|These are easily propagated after the offsets have grown over 5 inches tall, and are a few months old. They need to be separated from the container they have been growing inside with roots attached and then placed into a suitable-sized container with a moist soil mix.
The flaming sword is a great ornamental decorative plant that is fairly easy to grow. The main requirements are the correct amount of light and NOT to over-water.
- Brown leaf tips: I would say dry air is the first possible cause, which misting will improve. Or there could be a chance the plant’s vase has not been filled with water.
- Brown leaf patches: The most likely cause is too much direct sun. Place the plant where there is less direct sun.
- The plant dies: After flowering as mentioned above it is time for this plant to die its natural death. If it has not bloomed as yet, then the possible cause could be over-watering.
- Insects: Mealy bugs and scale can be a problem.
Elyssa Goins is an experienced house plant hobbyist who maintains over a hundred plants. She is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mother of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has a published study in the National Social Science Association, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.