Tillandsia are part of the Bromeliad family, the Genus name is Tillandsia which is also the common name, these are further broken down into species name, most people just call them Air plants. There are over 550 species of Tillandsia (plus many hybrids), that grow in the Mexico, South and Central Americas and there are only 16 species that are native of Florida.
Tillandsias take all their water and nutrients through the leaf system, none or very minimal amounts are absorbed by the root system. This root system is used as wire like anchors to hold onto trees, rocks etc.
It is the Air Plant/Tillandsia's ability to live without soil that makes it the perfect plant for displaying.
Air Plants need to be watered regularly. There are three ways to water: misting, dunking and soaking.
Misting, is best if you don’t want to take it out of its container or display. You should try to drench your plant and spray at least 3 to 5 times a week - daily in summer when it is hot.
Dunking, if you prefer to take your plant out and dunk it, you will only need to do this about two to three times a week.Don’t forget to shake off excess moisture before putting back in container.
Soaking, for a few hours in a bowl of water, is another option, this is good if your plant has become exceptionally dry or if you are going away for a few days as this can be done weekly. Take out and sit on towel to take off excess moisture and then pop back in container.
Adequate light is the second most important factor in growing a strong healthy plant. Give your plant as bright a light as you can, without causing burning, usually no further than 3 metres from a window or skylight. East facing windows are ideal.
In Offices fluorescent lighting will usually provide enough light for your plant, but being beside a window is also good.
A sign that your plant isn't receiving enough light is if it begins to fade, (except after blooming, when all its energy goes into producing pups).
While Air Plants take their nutrients from the air, when indoors they do well with a bit of feeding, especially in late winter and early summer when they begin to flower and produce pups. Fertilisers like Miracle Gro, (only at ¼ strength), or diluted Orchid Food work well. Just mix the diluted fertilizer in with the water you soak or spray them with and do this once a month or so.
Air Plants have a life cycle of one plant growing to maturity, blooming and then producing offspring, (pups). Most plants will produce between 2 - 8 pups. These in turn will mature, generally within a year and in turn bloom and produce pups. So this year you have one plant, next year maybe 6, the next year 36 and so on.
Your plant will actually look better next year than this year as it starts to clump and produce more blooms. Each plant will only flower once in its lifetime, but you should have blooms each year as the pups mature, and in turn flower. Flowers can last from several days to many months, depending on the species, most bloom in late winter through mid summer.
Note: All orders come with a full care instruction sheet
The book you need to own, with everything you need to know about Air Plants. Click on the book for more information.