We add the Indian or Vriesea feather to our catalog of indoor plants. This fabulous bromeliad will stand out mainly for its slender and lively inflorescence. However, we cannot forget its “wild” leaves ( Vriesea splendens ) that will undoubtedly attract the attention of any curious. Flowering has some but that other but it is worth enjoying it.
THE GOAL OF THE VRIESEA AT HOME IS TO ATTRACT ATTENTION
Actually when we say Vriesea , we are referring, not to a plant, but to a whole genus of plants of the bromeliad family that are unmistakable once you know them. Today we bring you one of the most popular as a houseplant (Vriesea splendens) , however other species such as Vriesea carinata or Vriesea imperialis are becoming popular every time .
Whichever species is chosen, its characteristic inflorescence with hard and very colorful spike-shaped bracts, reminds in many cases of its common name, Indian feather. This inflorescence stands out well above the usual foliage of the plant.
That is perhaps what makes it surprising. They are native to the tropical areas of America like almost all bromeliads. As a curiosity aside and speaking of bromeliads, there is a fruit that we consume very often that is also from this family. Do you know what it is? We will find out during this week. For now let’s see what needs the Indian pen requires.
IDEAL CONDITIONS TO HAVE A VRIESEA AT HOME
As a tropical plant, we cannot go below 16-18ºC. Its ideal is around 20 ºC, with a certain margin of oscillation but the more constant it is, the more comfortable it will be.
Sun exposure is one of the points to control, especially in flowering since if it does not have an abundant supply of light, it will not flower . Although this contribution has to be in large quantities, it should not be direct. It is an epiphytic plant, that is, it uses other plant species (normally trees) as support but does not parasitize them. Due to this characteristic and its tropical climatic conditions, the light that reaches it naturally is very filtered, so we cannot neglect this aspect.
Moderate waterings, without puddles and not very copious. In winter we can space the waterings almost weekly. In summer we will increase the frequency to 2 or 3 times a week. What is perhaps more important not to forget are water sprays in summer (it comes from humid environments), and to replace a certain amount of water in the central rosette . Do not use limestone waters.
As we have commented in the irrigation section that does not like flooding, the most direct consequence of the physical characteristics of the substrate is good drainage . It never hurts to enrich the mixture with some peat and / or mulch. Some liquid fertilizer can be added with the irrigation water if desired but not strictly necessary.
FLOWERING AND ITS TERRIBLE CONSEQUENCE
I know the title seems a bit catastrophic. Fortunately not for his keeper, but for the plant. If you buy the plant without flowering and take good care of it, it may take about 2 years or a little longer to flower , so it will be an event worth celebrating in style the day that the flowering takes place.
However, the joy that you take with the flowering will vanish as soon as it ends because the plant dies. This is how cruel the genetics of this plant are.
To ensure future plants after flowering, suckers will emerge at the base of the mother plant each year . Towards spring or summer, carefully separate them from the mother and transplant them into a pot with equal parts sand and peat for good root development.
POSSIBLE VRIESEA (INDIUM FEATHER) PROBLEMS
- If the tips of the leaves turn dark, it is a sign of overwatering. Space the frequencies
- We can have problems with spider mites and mealybugs. With the spider mite, we will have to be very vigilant (look at the underside of the leaves) because if the invasion is discovered late, it is difficult to recover it. Keep the rosette with water replacements and that the substrate has a relatively constant humidity.
- The spider mite is usually active in dry environments. Nettle solutions or potassium soap can help if the presence is mild. Neem oil is another good solution. Potassium soap is also usable for cochineal.