Answer: Vriesea splendens, also known as the Flaming Sword, Painted Feather, and Zebra Bromeliad is one of the showiest bromeliads. It features stiff, arching leaves banded with maroon, which form a tight vase in the center. Mature plants grow 20 in tall and 24 in wide. Flaming sword is not as easy to grow as some other bromeliads, but it will succeed when provided with bright light, warm temperatures, and moderate to high humidity. If all goes well, a 3 to 4 year old plant will reward you with a tall, flattened flower spike, which is usually bright red, with small yellow flowers emerging from the bracts. The spike persists for several weeks, after which the plant slowly declines while producing one or more offsets. Wait until the parent plant is quite far gone to propagate a new plant from the pup.
Here are specifics:
Provide bright indirect light year-round, and warm temperatures (70-80 degrees F) year-round. Feed monthly with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer mixed at half the normal strength. Feed the leaves, roots, and reservoir. Keep soil lightly moist at all times, and refill reservoir every 2 weeks with fresh water. Mist daily, and keep in a humid room. Use Bromeliad mix or orchid potting soil and repot young plants after 2 years. Limit pot size for mature plants to 6 in (they prefer to be root bound. Individual plants live for 3 to 4 years. After flowering, this bromeliad usually produces one robust pup. Allow it to grow until it is at least 8 in tall before detaching it, potting it up, and discarding the parent plant.
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