Air Plants - Tillandsia

Information about air plants, including: air plant care, pictures, mounting, watering & frequently asked questions about tillandsia.

Frequently asked Questions

Tillandsia Neglecta
Neglecta

  1. How often will my plant flower ?
  2. How about putting them in trees ?
  3. Can I mount my plants on driftwood (or cork, or whatever) ?
  4. How do I mount my plant ?
  5. Is sphagnum moss around the base of the plant a good idea ?
  6. Do I have to water my plant ?
  7. Do Tillandsias need protection from cold ?
  8. How much light should I give my plants ?
  9. Can I grow Tillandsias in my house (or apartment) ?
  10. My cat ate my plant.... What do I do ?
  11. How about artificial light ?
  12. Help! Parasitic air plants are killing my tree.
  13. Can I put Tillandsia in my terrarium ?
  14. What does epiphyte mean ?
  15. Is there a way to make them bloom ?
  16. Where do Tillandsias come from ?
  17. Don't Tillandsia grow in trees in my own garden ?
  18. How can my plant survive with no roots ?
  19. How do I plant my Tillandsia ?
  20. Where do I put the water ?
  21. Do I have to fertilize my plant ?
  22. How do I fertilize since there's no soil ?
  23. Why doesn't my plant have a fragrance ?
  24. What is this fuzzy stuff on my plant ?
  25. What do I do with the old bloom spike ?
  26. Can I use glue to mount my plant ?
  27. Will I have to remount my plant each year ?
  28. What happens if my plant gets too big ?
  29. Will Tillandsia grow up North ?

How often will my plant flower ?

Tillandsia only bloom once in their lives, but that isn't the end of your plant. Your Tillandsia will start 'pupping' (having babies). She can have between 1 - 12 pups which will grow to replace the mother (some species can have up 60 pups).

How about putting them in trees ?

That's where they grow naturally, so yes you can

Can I mount my plants on driftwood (or cork, or whatever) ?

You can mount your plant virtually anywhere you like, as long as the mount doesn't hold water. Don't mount on pressure treated lumber, or anything containing copper.  Copper is toxic to Tillandsias. See mounting air plants for more information.

How do I mount my plant ?

The easiest way is to use glue, pick a waterproof one as your plants will be getting watered frequently. You can also use fishing line, twist ties, staples and nails. See mounting air plants for more information.

Is sphagnum moss around the base of the plant a good idea ?

No. Tillandsias want to dry out completely between waterings, the moss could hold too much moisture around the base of the plant and cause it to rot. Some other types of Bromeliads do appreciate the moss, but not Tillandsias. 

Do I have to water my plant ?

Of course you do, all plants need water.  See air plants care - watering for more information.

Do Tillandsias need protection from cold ?

Yes, plan on protecting your plants when the temperature drops to about 35F. Frost will damage your plant, a freeze for more than a short duration will kill it.

How much light should I give my plants ?

Give your plant as much bright light as you can, without direct sunlight. The more light your plant gets the better color it will have. See airplants care - lighting for more information.

Can I grow Tillandsias in my house (or apartment) ?

Yes. We recommend that you place your plant no further than 10 feet from a window, closer is better. 

My cat ate my plant.... What do I do ? 

Well after you bury your cat......... Just joking.
Tillandsias are NOT toxic to animals, although this doesn't mean your pet won't eat them, but they will survive the experience, your plant might not.

How about artificial light ?

Normal incandescent light bulbs are inadequate, but fluorescent provide a good light source, as do halogen and grow lights.
Spot lights focus too much heat to be used successfully.

Help! Parasitic air plants are killing my tree.

I don't know what the problem with your tree is but it's not the Tillandsias fault. They are NOT parasitic, and will not harm your tree. I suggest that you ask a tree expert what the problem is, I know nothing about trees.

Can I put Tillandsia in my terrarium ?

As long as your terrarium has at least one open (mesh) side, to allow air flow, some Tillandsia can be used.  Important  read the information on the the Mounting - Terrarium page.

What does epiphyte mean ?

Not growing in soil, instead growing on other objects, such as trees. Not parasitic.

Is there a way to make them bloom ?

As long as you are tending to your plant correctly it will bloom all by itself when ready. If you are too impatient to let nature take it's own course Ethylene gas can induce blooming. A good source of  Ethylene gas is a forest fire, but if you don't feel like running into a forest fire holding your prized plant, try covering your plant along with 1/2 an apple in a plastic bag , for about a week ( NOTE :- keep it out of the sun ). If your lucky your plant should bloom in a month or so. Beware if you force an immature plant to bloom it will normally result in inferior blooms and fewer and weaker pups.

Where do Tillandsias come from ?

The vast majority of species come from Central and South America.

Don't Tillandsia grow in trees in my own garden ?

I don't know, I've never seen the trees in your garden, but if you live in the southern United States it's quite possible. There are 17 species that are native to the USA.

How can my plant survive with no roots ?

Tillandsia only use their roots to anchor themselves with. They absorb all their water and nutrients through the leaves.

How do I plant my Tillandsia ?

NEVER, NEVER 'plant' your Tillandsia. Putting your plant in soil is a sure fired way to kill it.

Where do I put the water ?

Putting it on the plant is normally a good idea. When you water your plant you should make sure that it is totally covered in water, both the top and the under sides. After watering the plant should look like it's just been in a rain storm.  See general care - watering for more information.

Do I have to fertilize my plant ?

Not if  you don't want to.  See airplants care - fertilizing for more information.

How do I fertilize since there's no soil ?

Spray your plant on all surfaces, top and bottom, as you would for normal watering.  Do not soak your plant in fertilizer. Shake off any excess.  See general care - fertilizing for more information.

Why doesn't my plant have a fragrance ?

There are very few Tillandsias that actually have a fragrance (only about 30 of over 550), but when they do it is very strong.

What is this fuzzy stuff on my plant ?

The fuzzy stuff (a bit like thick cobwebs) are seeds.  If you pull this off, and place on a thin mesh (like nylon stockings) you will be able to propagate the seeds.  This way of  propagation takes a long time (3-5 years average) but can be very rewarding.

What do I do with the old bloom spike ?

When it starts to look too unsightly, cut it off if you want, otherwise just leave it (it will eventually shrink to nothing as the mother plant dies and the pups take over).

Can I use glue to mount my plant ?

Yes, we recommend a waterproof glue like E6000 but you can use any glue EXCEPT Superglue.

Will I have to remount my plant each year ?


Not unless you want to. If things get too crowded, you can either remove some pups, or remove the mother plant. See air plant pups for more information.

What happens if my plant gets too big ?

You should have thought of this when you bought it, you could give it away to a friend with more room or buy a bigger house. But really, most Tillandsias you purchase will be close to full size (there are exceptions, so ask what full size is going to be). If the clump gets too big, just split it down the same way you would separate pups off.

Will Tillandsia grow up North ?

Yes, but during the Winter months when the light quality is reduced, move your plants to the brightest place you can find. Mirrors around your plant look attractive, and also intensify the natural lighting.




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Tillandsia Ionantha