The original Vriesea species come from Central and South America and many hybrid cultivars have been developed from these. They can be grown in pots, in the ground or in the forks of trees as epiphytes. They have smooth-edged leaves and are generally quite compact - only growing to 20-30 cm tall. The long-lived flower spikes are like a thick, plastic feather and come in a variety of colours, including yellow, pinks, reds, burgundy, purple and orange. Some flowers are bicoloured. Flowers appear at different times of the year. Some cultivars have interesting banded foliage.
As with most bromeliads, they grow well in dry, shaded garden areas. They are frost tender, but grown under the shelter of trees, should survive winter in most Sydney gardens. They need to be divided up every few years when they get very congested, to keep the planting looking fresh. Give them a spray of water every so often in summer in dry weather. Avoid overwatering, which may rot the roots. There are basically no pests that attack bromeliads. Remove the excess leaf litter from the central vase every so often - long tongs can be used!