Air Plants - Tillandsia

Information about air plants the flowers they produce & removing pups (babies).

Flowering Airplants

Fuchsii Fuchsii from MexcioFuchsii Fuchsii flower stalk
Fuchsii Fuchsii  - Mexcio

As mentioned earlier each plant will only flower once. Once the flower has dried up we suggest you remove the old petals and cut off the flower stalk, as this promotes pupping.
Most (but not all) pups are produced one to two months AFTER flowering, when this starts to happen you may notice the bottom leaves of your plant starting to hang loose, and they may look dried out, as if they are dying. DO NOT be tempted to pull these leaves off (trim them if they look too unsightly) this is where your pup is starting, and if you pull the leaves off, you may pull the pup off by mistake, initially they as so small just like little nubs and you may not be able to see them for several weeks or months depending on the species.

Removing Air Plant Pups

Tillandsia Fuchsii Fuchsii Pups
Fuchsii Fuchsii Pups

Most people prefer not to remove pups, as plants look more impressive as a clump or cluster.  If you leave your plant to clump just remove the leaves of the mother plant as she starts to dry up, just pull the leaves out with a gentle sideways tug, if the leaf resists, its not dead yet, so just trim any dried areas instead. Once you've fully removed the mother plant, the gap that's left will quickly be filled in by the other plants growing & spreading.

If you decide to remove the pups, wait until they are at least 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the mother plant, they will be able to survive on their own at this size. Hold both mother and pup at their bases and gently twist in a downward motion, the pups come off easily. If you have a particularly tough mother you may need to remove the pup by cutting downward as close to the mother as possible, there are very few species that need more than a gently tug/twist. Do not discard the mother plant yet, as long as she is still alive she will continue to produce more pups for you. Often taking several years after blooming before she finally dies.

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Tillandsia Ionantha