Flaming sword plant is one of the showiest bromeliads. This houseplant features stiff, arching leaves banded with maroon, which form a tight vase in the center. Mature plants grow 20 in/50 cm tall and 24 in/60 cm wide.
- Family: Bromeliaceae
- Origin: Tropical America
- Other names: Flaming Sword, Flaming Touch, Painted Feather, Zebra Bromeliad, Vriesea
Flaming Sword houseplants are 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 flaming sword plant is quite far gone to propagate a new plant from the pup.
How to care for a Flaming Sword Plant
Light: Flaming swords prefer bright indirect light year-round, with some direct sun in winter.
Temperature: Warm (70–80°F/21–27°C) year-round.
Fertilizer: Feed flaming swords monthly with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer mixed at half the normal strength. Feed the leaves, roots, and reservoir.
Water: Keep the soil lightly moist at all times, and refill the reservoir every 2 weeks with fresh water. Flaming sword plants prefer a humid room and mist weekly if possible
Soil: Flaming swords go well with Bromeliad mix or orchid potting soil.
Repotting: Repot young flaming swords after 2 years, and limit pot size for mature plants to 6 in/15 cm.
How long does flaming sword live?: Individual flaming sword plants live for 3 to 4 years.
Propagation: After flowering, the flaming sword bromeliad plant usually produces one robust pup. Allow it to grow until it is at least 8 in/20 cm tall before detaching it, potting it up, and discarding the parent plant.
Selections: There are many named varieties, which vary in leaf variegation and the shade of the flowering spike. Purchase plants that have not yet bloomed, or have just begun to produce a flowering spike.
Display tips: The dramatic leaf colors make the flaming sword plant a strong focal point even when it is not in bloom. Because of its width, it is a good plant to display on a raised platform, with smaller ferns or other low-light plants beneath it.