The Q&A Archives: What Is This Plant?

Question: Just received some sort of plant for Secretaries Day with no tag attached to keeping it alive. Also, don't know what type of plant it is. Could someone help. The plant has long 2 - 3 ft. leaves and in the center is a red short thick stem almost resembling a pineapple. Does anyone know what kind of plant/flower this is and how do I take care of it?

Answer: I'm guessing your gift plant is either a Tillandsia with a flattened flower head and grassy like leaves, or Vriesea, with an upright spike-like flower head and arching, strap-like leaves. The care for either plant is the same: provide average household warmth (minimum 50F in winter), and bright light but not direct sunlight. Provide good drainage and water when the soil begins to dry out. Mist the leaves during the summer time and feed every 6-8 weeks with a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer.

You can cut away the flower head when the color fades. A new flower will develop next year.

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