TILLANDSIA AIR PLANTS........SOME BASIC INFO
What kind of plant grows without soil and therefore may grow its entire life hanging in midair, or on a rock,
on a dead branch or on almost any surface, can survive a month or more without water or light , has
hundreds of diverse forms, blooms, can be grown as a houseplant or outside, and is easy to care for?
Answer: Tillandsia Air Plants.
Tillandsia air plants grow naturally in South and Central America and southern parts of the United States.
They are in the Bromeliad family, and are sometimes referred to as "air plants." Hundreds of different
varieties grow on trees, rocks, cliffs, and various types of cacti. Thin-leaf varieties grow in areas with more
rain, and thick-leaf varieties in areas more subject to drought. No soil is needed to grow these unique plants.
All water and nutrients are taken through the leaves. Their roots are used as wire-like anchors.
Tillandsia air plants have a growth cycle starting with one plant growing to maturity and then BLOOMING!
One to two months after the bloom has finished, new plants form around the base of the "mother" plant.
They will then eventually mature and complete their blooming cycle in one to several years, depending upon
the variety and growing conditions (very important!). Tillandsia air plants can be placed in ANYTHING!
(,Rocks, shells, pottery, driftwood, around water fountains, reptile tanks, etc.) Tillandsia air plants are NOT
toxic to animals, and they also travel and ship well.
Light requirements: Bright, indirect light, fluorescent office lighting, or frost-protected shaded patio.
Generally, no direct sun is recommended. Some varieties can handle some early morning sun - this will allow
them to "blush" (change colors) before they bloom!
Water: This is a very important aspect of succeeding with Tillandsia air plants! Remove plants from their
containers and spray HEAVILY, or rinse them under a faucet or hose until they are dripping wet (underneath
as well as on top). Remember, they grow naturally where it rains! Frequency of watering (how many times
per week) will depend on:
* temperature variations (summer vs. winter)
* whether it is indoors or outdoors
* and the variety (thin or thick leaves)
Generally, with the spray or rinse method, you should water indoor tillandsia air plants 2-3 times a week, and
outdoor tillandsia air plants 4-5 times a week. In warmer and drier conditions, an overnight soaking (12-14
hours) will rehydrate them more efficiently than spraying or rinsing. If leaf edges begin to curl in, then it is
best to use the soaking method.
Fertilizer: Use Bromeliad fertilizer (17-8-22) twice a month. It is GREAT for blooming and reproduction! Other
water-soluble fertilizers can be used at 1/4 strength (Rapid Grow, Miracle-Gro, etc.) if Bromeliad fertilizer is