Jeffrey Harrington's Blog
Growing Sword Plants Indoors Native to Central and South America, Vriesea plants, also known as sword plants are robust, easy to grow, low-maintenance plants that do well as indoor houseplants. Also known as “mother-in-law's tongue”, Vriesea is one of the most common members of the forty genera of bromeliads. Vriesea provides brilliant, showy greenery. An epiphyte in its native habitat, Vriesea does well in any well-light spot indoors. Vriesea can grow just as well with artificial light as it does with sunlight, but does best in a full sun location. Place the plant in the corner of a sunny room and it will flourish for years with little or no attention. Just keep in mind that the more sunlight the plant receives, the more moisture it requires. Sword plants thrive on high humidity. A sunny and highly moist kitchen, laundry room or steamy bathroom, are ideal locations for a collection of colorful and eye-catching Vriesea plants. Description There are more than 250 varieties of Vriesea across a broad spectrum of colors in both leaves and flower bracts and hundreds of different cultivars. Indoor gardeners delight in collecting and cultivating the many unusual varieties sporting variegated leaves and brilliantly colored bracts in every color of the rainbow. Within the Vriesea genera are hundreds of tiny and medium sized plants. However, some varieties of Vriesea are within the tallest and largest of all bromeliads. The most common of Vriesea varieties, the “Flaming” sword plant, is so named for its fire red bracts that appear when the plant is from three to five years old. Most Vriesea plants only flower once and then withers away, however, not before producing a batch of “pups” or new offset plants at the base of the parent plant. Remove the pups for transplanting when they are approximately half the size of the mother plant. Cultivation Sword plants grow best in a mixture of half regular potting soil and half orchid mix. A specialty soil mix for bromeliads is available from florists or plant nurseries. Sword plants can also be attached to a slab of wood, bark or a piece of freshwater driftwood. Do not use driftwood from the ocean. The salt embedded in the wood is harmful to plants. Vriesea plants do best when the temperature maintained between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Similar to all other bromeliads, Vriesea plants have a tank or cup in the center of the plant to hold moisture. Make sure that the cup is always filled with water. Sword plants prefer a humid atmosphere. Planting soil should remain slightly moist and never allowed to dry completely out. Maintain a high humidity level by misting the plant daily or placing the planting container on a pebble tray or close to other transpiring houseplants. Shop online to find unique Vriesea plants to combine in a designer pot or ceramic container. A striking arrangement of sword plants is a popular type of floral arrangement often used in corporate office décor. The plant has no odor, is non-allergenic and requires very little care and attention.