Air Plant (Tillandsia species)
Tillandsias are a diverse group of plants known as “epiphytes”, or air plants. In their native habitat of Central and South America, Tillandsias are found growing anchored to tree branches or rock walls. Plants attach themselves with roots, but nutrients are absorbed through the foliage. Incredibly easy to grow, and available in a fascinating array of foliage forms and bloom colors.
Plants can be mounted to all sorts of supports for hanging on a wall, such as wooden plaques, branches, or bark. Very popular for growing tucked in a large seashell. Little plants are ideal for small glass orb terrariums or simply dangling from a string in a window with bright, indirect light. A wonderful easy-care gift plant!
Monthly with mild liquid fertilizer (half strength) during active growth.
Thoroughly soak the mounting stone or wood, and allow to dry well before watering again. Those not mounted should be soaked in water once a week and misted daily during active growth.
If needed, use potting mix for Bromeliads.
Basic Care Summary
Fertilize regularly. Once a week submerge plant in water and soak for about an hour. Allow to dry for a few hours before returning to planter. Mist daily during active growth.
If the plant was purchased in a pot, then it is probably already in a quality potting soil and requires little more than watering and grooming for a while.
If potting a flowering plant to bring indoors or to give as a gift plant, start with a good quality, commercial potting soil. These are usually lighter in weight than topsoil, sterile and pest-free. Many are available with a mild starter fertilizer in the mix.
Select a container with a drainage hole or be prepared to drill holes for drainage if there are none.
Prepare the container by filling with potting soil up to 2” (5cm) from the rim of the planter. Make a small hole in the soil slightly larger than the root ball either by hand or using a trowel. Insert the plant into the hole and press soil firmly around the roots and just covering the root ball. When all the plants are potted, water thoroughly to settle the soil and give plants a good start. Place plant in bright location for best performance.
Repot every 2 years in the same container or in a container slightly larger than the diameter of the roots.
Most potted flowering plants prefer consistently moist but well-drained soil. If the soil gets too dry the blooms can wilt and they may not recover. Check the soil moisture with your finger. If the top 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, or plants are wilted, it is time to water.
Apply water at the soil level if possible to avoid wetting the foliage. Water the entire soil area until water runs out the base of the pot. This indicates that the soil is thoroughly wet.
Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product with a nutritional balance designed for foliage plants.
Too much fertilizer can damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.
Slow-release fertilizers are an especially good, care-free choice for container plants. Follow the product directions for proper timing and application rates.
Remove the flowers as they fade. This keeps the plant looking tidy and may encourage more blooms depending on the type of plant. After flowering many blooming plants make attractive houseplants. Be sure to trim the foliage to maintain the desired size and shape. Occasional trimming encourages the plant to develop more side-shoots and flowers, and reduces the demand for the plant to develop a larger root system. This is important since the roots are in a confined space.
Some plants will re-bloom on their own, but others may have very specific day-length or temperature requirements to flower again. A bit of research may be necessary to determine what is needed to encourage future blooming. Some plants, such as bulbs or perennials, can be turned into wonderful garden additions after the flowers have been enjoyed indoors.
|Available Colors:||Flowers in shades of pink, red, yellow, orange and purple|
|Bloom Time:||All year|
|Height Range:||3-12" (8-30cm)|
|Space Range:||3-12" (8-30cm)|
|Lowest Temperature:||50° to 80°F (10° to 27°C)|
|Plant Light:||Medium Light|
|Companion Plants:||Orchid, Wandering Jew, Fern|