Vriesea is a member of the bromelaid family and a tropical epiphyte, or tree dweller, that can be cultivated as a spectacular indoor plant. Strappy, variegated or striped leaves whorl out from a rosette center, where a plaited, spear shaped bloom appears on a tall stalk in hot, bright colors. Once educated about the nature and structure of Vriesea, you too can grow your own bit of paradise.
Choose a pot that has good drainage and is slightly larger than the current root structure of your Vriesea. Bromeliads do not use their roots in the traditional sense, taking nutrients and water through the cups formed by their whorled rosette leaves. Too much potting medium, especially dense material, will quickly cause root rot. An orchid pot is a good choice. Clay pots, which quickly dry out, are advisable for humid climates Plastic pots are recommended for areas with dry climates as well as indoor environments.
Create a potting media designed for your Vriesea's specific needs. As an epiphyte, Vriesea does not require soil. Robert J. Black and Bijan Dehgan of the University of Florida IFAS Extension have developed a recipe for Vriesea potting mix designed for support and drainage. Mix one part peat moss, one part bark, and one part perlite and fill your pot.
Perch the Vriesea gently in the pot, firming the medium around the root structure lightly so the plant is well supported.
Pour water over the center leaves so it pools in the rosette cups at the center. The plant will take what it needs from there, and residual overflow will be enough to moisten the potting mix. Check to see if the medium is completely dry before watering again, about once per week. Be aware that home cooling systems may alter the water requirements of this bromeliad, so check frequently while your plant adjusts.
Provide a location with bright sunlight for at least 4 hours per day. Indoors, a southern facing window will provide the best overall light source. If your Vriesea is not getting enough light, you will see the leaves become longer and darker. Too much light results in a yellowish green cast to foliage. Adjust as necessary.
Keep temperatures between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and optimum humidity between 40 to 60 percent. Most homes, according to the IFAS Extension experts, fall below the 40 percent humidity marker. Set the pot on a tray with wet gravel to provide humidity as the water evaporates, or run a humidifier in the room.
Fertilize with a slow release mix, applied per manufacturer instructions, over the surface of the potting medium once a month.