Vriesea Splendens
Flaming Sword Bromeliad

Vriesea splendens (also known as Flaming Sword, Painted Feather, and Zebra Bromeliad) features rigid, strap-like arching leaves, marked in irregular horizontal bands of dark green and black, which form a tight vase in the center.

Mature plants grow to 20 in/50 cm tall with a spread reaching 24 in/60 cm wide. 

The best environment for the Flaming Sword bromeliad provides bright light, warm temperatures, and moderate to high humidity.

When this bromeliad is three to four years old, a tall, bright red sword-shaped spike will emerge, with small yellow flowers emerging from the bracts.

The red spike will last for several weeks, followed by a slow decline while product one or more offsets.  

Vriesea splendens can be planted in the ground in a humus rich soil, or attached to the side of a fern tree.

Bring this bromeliad inside during winter months. Propagate a new plant from the pups when the parent plant is close to expiring.

Vriesea Splendens (Flaming Sword) Bromeliad Care Tips

Lighting RequirementsVriesea Splendens

This bromeliad prefers bright, indirect light year-round, with some direct sunlight in the winter.

Temperature Requirements

Warm temperatures year-round (70 - 80° F / 21 - 27° C) are ideal.


Fertilize monthly with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer diluted to ½ the normal strength. Apply the fertilizer to the leaves, roots, and reservoir.


Keep soil lightly moist at all times. Refill the reservoir every two weeks with fresh water. Spray leaves weekly. Keep bromeliad in a humid environment.


Orchid potting soil or bromeliad mix.


After flowering, the Flaming Sword Bromeliad usually produces one healthy offset. Allow the pup to grow until it reaches a height of at least 8 in / 20 cm. The pup can then be removed and potted. The parent plant can then be discarded.


The ideal container size for mature plants is 6 in / 15 cm. Young plants should be repotted after two years.

LongetivityFlaming Sword Bromeliad

Individual plants live for three to four years.


Varieties will vary in leaf variegation and color of the flowering spike. Look for plants that have not yet bloomed, or are just beginning to produce the flowering spike.

Uses and Display Tips

The vibrant leaf colors make this bromeliad a unique focal point, even when the flower is not blooming. Since the spread of this plant is wide, a good location is a raised platform or plant stand, with other low-light plants used as accents beneath.


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