Ask a Question forum: Vriesea splendens fading bract

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Sep 25, 2017 9:31 AM CST
I bought this flaming sword about 3 weeks ago, at which time it had a bright red bract. By now the bract has begun to fade and the leaves appear to have less vigor/ depth of color.

The plant is in a terra cotta pot on top of our window AC unit (which we haven't been running). I have been keeping the medium just-moist and adding water to the cup. The window is south facing and only gets a few hours of direct light midday.

I am concerned about the fading bract since the plant hasn't bloomed yet - is this normal? It also seems too small to be ready to throw out pups so I'm not sure what is going on. This is my first bromeliad and while I've tried to research online I am still a little concerned - just looking for input on if/how I can improve the health of this plant. Thank you in advance!

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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Sep 25, 2017 10:20 AM CST
Hi HilaryNYC, Welcome!

You may have just missed the tiny yellow flowers that appear from the bright red bracts of your Flaming Sword Bromeliad (Lutheria splendens) The little flowers aren't all that exciting, it's those red bracts (as shown in the photo from our database below) that draw attention. Your mother plant will slowly wither and die but pups should form at the base of the plant ... so don't throw it away. Once the pups form and reach about 1/3 the size of the mother, you can remove them and pot them up.

~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~

Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Sep 25, 2017 2:36 PM CST
Although you have had your plant for only 3 weeks, we don't know how long it had been in bloom before you got it. Normally, it would not start to fade after just 3 weeks. In any case, it has reached the beginning of the end of its flowering cycle, but as Lin has indicated, its circle of life will continue.

You may have better success if you keep the "vase" dry and water only the soil and roots.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Sep 25, 2017 5:17 PM CST
Thank you Plantlady and Will, I had assumed the "sword" bracts would remain open after blooming. I am glad to know the plant is just doing its thing and not suffering from improper care. I look forward to witnessing all it's life phases; honestly I purchased it out of love for that beautiful foliage anyway! Thanks again.

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