Growing Vrieseas in the ground in Southern California.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Bromeliaceae (Care and treatment)
Volcanic ash, tuff, etc. (Usage)
Author: Wright, Jim
Pub Date: 09/01/2010
Publication: Name: Journal of the Bromeliad Society Publisher: Bromeliad Society International Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Biological sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Bromeliad Society International ISSN: 0090-8738
Issue: Date: Sept-Oct, 2010 Source Volume: 60 Source Issue: 5
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 257434813

Thirty years ago it was almost unheard of to grow Vrieseas in Southern California outside of a warm greenhouse. They were thought to be susceptible to our cool winter nights (48-52[degrees] F average). As time moved on, trial and error proved that many Vrieseas would do exceedingly well out in the garden. Strong filtered light is very important- in my case a few hours of direct sun doesn't appear to cause any bleaching of the leaves. I never fertilize any of my Vrieseas; they seem to do just fine and, in fact, maybe even better without fertilizer. Flushing the cups frequently will help prevent rotting. My plants get watered with regular sprinklers whenever I water the palms they are intermingled with. During the summer this would be every 5-7 days; much less during the rainy, cool season.

I have found, after using various planting mediums, that volcanic rock (1/2-3/4" diameter) is ideal. The advantages of volcanic rock are:

(1) Its ability to hold the plants firmly in place in an upright fashion.

(2) The root zone is well aerated and dries rapidly, avoiding a soggy medium.

(3) A bed of volcanic rock creates a visually appealing Bromeliad bed. Guzmanias are treated the same as Vrieseas and bloom equally well. One of my all-time favorite Vrieseas is V. philippocoburgii.


Photos by the author.
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