Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Indoor Plants
Tillandsia is the largest genus in the Bromeliad family of plants. Commonly known as Air Plants, they are found from jungle to rain forest to arid desert environments and from sea level to high mountain regions.
Most Tillandsia species use their root systems to attach themselves to trees or rocks and absorb moisture and nutrients through their leaves. This classifies them as epiphytes.
As a result, where you plant them is limited only by your imagination. These hardy plants are adaptable and tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions and require minimal care.
Caring For Your Tillandsia
If you Tillandsia are going to be at your home or office, care must be taken to provide enough light and correct moisture to maintain a healthy plant. Bright light or filtered sun is ideal. If these light conditions are not possible, use a broad-spectrum flourescent light. Indoor Tillandsia should stay healthy with a watering schedule of 1 to 2 times a week.
Air Plants do exceptionally well in outdoor environments. A backyard tree, screened patio or pool area will be the most likely areas to find the bright filtered light conditions that Tillandsias love. Plants grown in humid outdoor environments should be watered once a week.
In dryer climates, more frequent watering may be necessary. If your plants leaves start to curl or roll, it could be an indication of dehydration. This can be corrected by submerging your plant in water for 15 minutes. Thereafter, resume your normal weekly watering schedule.
Fertilizing Your Tillandsia
Fertilize Air Plants about once a month. Tillandsias have the ability to capture and hold nutrients with their foliage, and they have a tendency to be sensitive to over-fertilization.
Use a good quality liquid or water soluble fertilizer with a formulation low in copper. High amounts of copper are toxic to Bromeliads. Fertilizing is not absolutely necessary for survival, but will increase growth and vigor of your plants.
Tillandsias are very tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, most species can withstand near freezing temperatures. Although preferring temperatures around 70 F, with increased water, air circulation and shade, they can do quite well into the 90's F.
Tillandsia blooms are as diverse and beautiful as any in the plant world. they can last from a few days to as long as a year in some of the slower growing plants.
Tillandsia are generally available at Arts Nursery in our Floral Department. If you are making a special trip, please call ahead to confirm availability. Tel 604.882.1201