What is Vriesea?

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  • Written By: N. Phipps
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 February 2019
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Vriesea is a genus of tropical plants that extend from Mexico through the rainforests of Central America and parts of South America. Since these plants stretch out as far as they do, they’re quite adaptable. This in turn makes the plants fairly popular with plant hobbyists. Named after Dutch botanist W. H. de Vriese, this plant group includes some of the largest bromeliads — a type of flowering plant — with over two hundred species.

Most of the bromeliad species found within the genus are known as epiphytes, which do not require soil for growth. In fact, they are typically found growing on rocks or tree trunks in their native environments. This is also one of the most popular features of bromeliad plants. Instead of growing at or near ground level, Vriesea plants can be grown within the branches or along trunks of trees.

These plants don’t have the typical roots found in most others. Rather than taking up nutrients through roots that reach deep in the soil, bromeliad plants absorb moisture from their naturally humid environments. In addition, water is taken in through the cup-like center found within the rosette leaves of Vriesea plants.

As with most bromeliad species, flowering doesn’t usually occur for several years. When it does, however, it’s well worth the wait. In addition to their colorful foliage, Vriesea plants produce exceptional sword-shaped spikes of flowers. Bloom color generally ranges anywhere from white to yellow or even green.


Another interesting feature found in these plants is their seed-dispersing characteristic, which is similar to that of dandelions. Vriesea plants commonly produce seed capsules that dry and split open to reveal seeds that are quite reminiscent of those found in dandelion flowers. Propagation, however, is most often accomplished by separating offsets from the mother plant.

For those considering growing Vriesea at home, they can be grown in relatively small containers. Growing them in a substrate such as tree-fern bark, cork-oak bark, or pieces of wood will usually provide better results than that of traditional potting soil. This is especially true when wrapping the root system in sphagnum moss. The moss should also be sprayed with just enough water to prevent it from completely drying out.



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