There are many Vriesea hybrids, these can be terrestial or epiphytic and are perennials.
They have broad, smooth margined strap-like leaves that grow in a rosette formation creating a central funnel or well. The leaves tend to be light to mid green sometimes with coloured cross bands or other markings.
As with most bromeliads the central well created by the leaf rosette forms a reservoir to collect and store water. Most of the water used by the plant is taken up via the leaves from water in this central leaf well.
When the plant is 2-3 years old it produces a flattened sword-shape flower-head of bracts on an upright flower stalk. The tubular flowers appear between the bracts tend to be a contrasting colour. The bracts will last for several months but the delicate flowers for only a few days.
Most commonly the flower has bright red bracts and tubular shaped flowers in a contrasting colour, usually yellow.
As with all Bromeliad, the parent plant dies after flowering and at the same time new plants or pups are developing at the base of the parent, they will continue to grow and take nutrients until the parent has died completely or they have been removed.
These wonderful plants make an attractive addition to any tropical garden where they will grow well under (or in) trees or other partially shaded areas and especially well as part of a fernery.
They can be grown inside on a piece of bark or in orchid or epiphytic bromeliad potting mix. Inside they add tropical colour during the cooler months.