How To Germinate Air Plant Seeds

Even though air plant seeds are tiny, they have what are known as parachutes or comas on top of them. Because of their fluffy parachute top, seeds can move around with the wind in the natural world. Brown seeds with a fluffy top will predominate.

Brown seed pods will also grow where the blossoms formerly did. The seed pod will resemble a cotton puff once it has opened up. The seeds can then be separated using tweezers. They resemble dandelion seeds somewhat.

In order to avoid being readily swept away by strong rains, most seeds in nature are dispersed right before a rainy season. They land in places where germination is more likely to succeed, such as on cliffs, trees, and other locations.

Please see this post if you’d want to learn more about how to pollinate the flowers of air plants and how seeds develop.

How to grow air plants from seed?

Gather seeds to begin the germination process. Some seeds will begin to sprout within the seed pods (you will notice small green nubbins on them).

The next step is to get a sizable dish (the larger, the better, depending on how many seeds you have) and some substrate ready. Make sure to space your seeds widely apart. This will give the plants more time to grow before you need to divide them. Tillandsia seedlings that are too small can break easily.

The optimal substrate for tillandsia sowing should have adequate moisture capacity and be able to drain well. Select a sizable, transparent container and fill it with the substrate. As stagnant air will kill seedlings, make sure to let adequate air exchange.

Step 1: Soak the seeds

Some seeds, as was already noted, will begin to gently sprout even while still inside seed pods. If they have begun to sprout, you will notice tiny green nubbins or points on them.

Observe the seeds after removing them from the seed pods. You can move on if you spot green nubbins.

However, if your seeds appear dry and browned, soak them for about 14 days in warm water in a plastic or deli container (some might take up to 3-4 weeks to germinate). Make sure to have holes in them while keeping the lid on. Additionally, open the lid occasionally to let air flow.

Keep seeds out of water for no more than four weeks. By now, hopefully, you will notice green nubbins; remove them and place them in a growing medium.

Step 2: Spread them

It is difficult to separate the seeds of air plants, which is one of the main difficulties. To ensure that you can see all of the seeds clearly, spread your seeds out on the table, preferably against a dark background.

The puffy coma portion, which is the top portion, will have seeds on the bottom. Use a magnifying lens and tweezers if required to carefully separate each seed.

Step 3: Place seeds on a growing medium

After around two weeks, the seeds should be planted on a growing medium to continue growing. The material you choose should be able to retain moisture without getting overly soggy.

Make sure to leave as much space between seeds when laying them. You can prevent having to separate them when they are fragile by doing this. When choosing a substrate or growing environment for your air plant seeds, consider:

When growing an air plant from a seed, how long does it take?

Please be aware that damp conditions must always be avoided as they can quickly kill your plants. Despite the fact that they require higher humidity, use caution when utilizing moss or even tree fiber. If you overwater it, it may be simple for mold to begin to form. Continue to lightly but frequently spray.

In order to test your best possibilities, it may be a good idea to sow seeds in several media. Due to varied conditions in various climates, the optimum substrate choice also varies.

Small air plants grow well on Velcro tape. It will retain moisture nicely without becoming overly saturated. You can place your germinated seeds on a couple pieces of Velcro tape by moistening the “soft” side of the tape. When it starts to get a little dry, spray the area.

Step 4: Mist accordingly

Waiting would be the following action. The development of seeds into tiny seedlings takes time. Make sure the substrate is somewhat moist but not drenched. Before spraying it once more, let it dry out a bit. You must avoid the wet conditions that could cause algae growth and damage your plants.

Because seeds need more humidity for germination, it is always a good idea to soak them first and sprinkle them more frequently afterward. Mist air plants less frequently but keep them hydrated as they develop into seedlings.

Make careful to enable adequate air exchange as well. After a month or two, if everything is going well, you should start to notice little seedlings, which may inspire you much. However, have patience because future development will take time. After the first one to two years, growth should pick up speed.

At this time, the growth of your air plants will also require brilliant indirect light. Make sure to set seeds in an area with adequate humidity and air exchange (don’t store them in an enclosed container or anything similar), that is bright but not in direct sunlight.

Use tweezers to swiftly relocate your air plants to a new, clean surface if you notice your substrate or laying sheet turning gray, warping, or anything similar at any time. Check your watering (overwatering may be the cause), and make sure there is adequate air exchange.

Summary on growing air plants from seed:

It takes time and effort to grow tillandsia from seed, but the process is quite interesting. Be patient because it may take them a year or two to grow to 1-2 inches. After that, it could take up to 5-8, even 10 years for maturity (will vary with species of tillandsia).

Are seeds produced by air plants?

An air plant will begin to focus its efforts on producing puppies once it has blossomed. In our post on air plant propagation, we go into more detail on pups. The ability of air plants to produce seed pods and seeds may surprise you. Only when a Tillandsia bloom has been pollinated do seed pods develop. If not, the plant will only produce pups instead of seeds.

Some plants are said to be “self-incompatible,” which means they can’t pollinate themselves and need pollinators to do it for them. T. caput medusae and T. streptophylla are two air plants that are self-incompatible and require pollinators. In the rainforest, you might encounter bees, wasps, flies, hummingbirds, other tropical birds, and even some bats as common pollinators. However, because air plants are special in that they can reproduce without pollination, you shouldn’t bother about pollinating yours.

How are air plants reproduced?

The simplest approach to multiply your air plant is to pull off offsets, also known as pups, that emerge from the mother plant’s base. Following the plant’s blooming cycle, one to three puppies will emerge. You might choose to leave the pups on the mother plant to make an air plant cluster, depending on the aesthetic you’re looking for.

Step 1: Delay reproduction until each pup is at least one-third the size of the mother plant.

Step 2: Gently pull at the pup’s base while holding the mother plant. Be careful not to pull by the leaves as this could shatter the item. The youngster should simply and damage-free detach from the mother plant when it is ready to be left alone.

Step 3: After removing the puppies from the mother plant, soak them in water. Maintain them as usual and put them in an area with bright, indirect light.

How much time should air plants soak?

It is preferable to soak your air plants in a bowl of water for 20 to an hour once per week to 10 days. Totally submerge the plant. Even though they are constantly wet in nature, if your plant is in bloom, you might want to keep the bud above the water to avoid disturbing it.

Can air plants produce offspring?

Let’s speak about having babies, namely air plant babies! Tillandsia, often known as air plants, are notoriously difficult to produce from seed, hence most Tillandsia nurseries prefer to grow air plants through propagation. In order to extend our supply of air plants and create some very robust Tillandsia specimens, we at Air Plant Design Studio rely on propagation.

This Tillandsia streptophylla pup, which we recently detached from a huge mother plant, is enormous and appears to be in good health.

An air plant will generate offsets once it has completed the blooming cycle, or “pups under ideal circumstances. The offsets develop differently depending on the Tillandsia species; some air plants produce pups near the base or root system, while others sprout them from beneath one of, but this air plant really acts as protection for the young Tillandsia pup that has sprouted beneath it.

Following blooming, air plants often produce 1 to 3 pups. Many, many more can be produced by some types.

Puppies being separated from the mother plant:

When offsets have grown to a size that is roughly one-third that of the mother plant, you can carefully remove them. With the right conditions and care, the pup will then proceed through its own lifespan, developing into a larger animal that eventually blooms and gives birth to its own offsets. While holding the mother plant, carefully pull on the pup’s base to remove it. If you must use excessive force to separate an offset that is ready to be removed, we advise leaving it intact. This offset should be able to be removed without harming mother or child.

clump formation in air plants:

The offsets will continue to develop as a mother air plant if not separated from it “It is possible for clumps to become quite spectacular. The formation will be somewhat influenced by how you keep them; for instance, by hanging clumping ionantha air plants, the pups will be given room to grow in all directions and should eventually form a spherical clump. These air plant clumps can create several blooms under the correct circumstances as the individual pups develop through maturity, bloom, and continue to produce their own pups.

promoting pup development

In most cases, air plants produce pups or offsets after blooming. At some time in their life cycle, every Tillandsia will go through this process, however certain species, like the xerographica air plant, bloom and produce pups much more slowly. Tillandsia need a lot of water, air flow, light (your air plant’s preferred level and intensity will vary according on type), and light in order to bloom and generate offsets. To hasten flowering and pup production, you can also use a fertilizer made specifically for Tillandsia (like this one), but bear in mind that fertilizer can only be used sparingly and should not take the place of adequate care or circumstances.

In our articles on the air plant blooming process and what happens after the bloom, you may find out what happens before an air plant produces pups.

How are air plants multiplied?

Your plants might cross or self-pollinate, depending on the Tillandsia species you grow. The more likely scenario is that you will only experience flowering, followed by a batch of two to eight pups. These will have the same appearance as the mother plant but be smaller. Many species only have one bloom in their entire lifetimes, but you can take the pups and grow new plants from them.

It is safe to remove air plant pups when they are between one-third and one-half the size of the mother plant. To allow the puppies to develop into full-sized air plants, just divide them, water them, and locate them a new location.

You can leave the pups where they are and watch a cluster form if you’d want to keep them together. However, if your species only produces a single blossom, the mother plant will eventually pass away and must be removed.

Your air plant might not produce blossoms or young if it’s unhappy and not receiving the best growing circumstances. Make sure it receives enough of humidity and indirect light. Keep it warm, but keep heaters and vents away from it.

Can air plants be planted in soil?

  • Don’t bury them in the ground. Ever. Because they are epiphytes, they grow atop other plants rather than in the ground.
  • You can plant them in imaginative locations because they don’t require dirt. One can be set in a shallow bowl or vase with rocks or sand, one can be put in a small container with a magnet and placed on the refrigerator, or one can be tied to driftwood with a clear fishing line.
  • Don’t confine them to a terrarium. Yes, they are adorable, and Instagram is full with pictures of air plant terrariums, but air plants need to breathe. They will become overly damp in a confined vessel, which will cause them to rot or contract a fungus.

Do all air plants produce young?

How exciting to know that your wonderful Tillandsia will eventually create their own air plant offspring! The name puppies, which is a term of endearment for these “baby” air plants, is just the cutest thing ever.

Did you know that raising puppies is the preferred method for air plant enthusiasts to expand their plant collections? Yes, air plant enthusiasts worldwide can grow their very own puppy nursery. Additionally, puppies always grow into their mother plant’s traits.

In the correct circumstances, all Tillandsia species will give birth to pups in a relatively short period of time. Knowing what to look for—nodes at the mother plant’s base—and when/how to separate the pups from the mother plant are all that are required. It’s also crucial to make sure that the mother plant and the pups receive enough sunlight and water continuously.

Pups should start to grow soon after your plants’ first bloom cycle. Typically, your Tillandsia won’t produce its first bloom for up to six months. It’s important to keep in mind that some air plant species may require several years to blossom.

The magic starts to happen once your plants have blossomed. Small nodes can be seen at the base of your plant. This indicates that the young plants have begun to appear!

It’s critical that you continue to care for the mother plant as usual during this period. But always remember to treat the puppies with care. As they begin their life’s adventure, they might be rather fragile.

Once the puppies are about a fifth the size of their mother plant, you must divide them.

Laying the mother plant carefully on its side will allow you to clip away the pups with a sharp kitchen knife or good pair of garden sheers. After finishing this procedure, you are ready to launch your very own air plant farm!

You should give the cut-off point on the mother plant and the pup a few days to harden off.

Your plants will begin to recover from their separation at this time. They might have developed a distinctive (lopsided) morphology when they were growing alongside their mother. Your pup’s shape and size will begin to become more uniform during the next few months. As they are still fairly sensitive, wait to feed the pup plant food until they have been apart for at least three months. Throughout the duration, continue to water as usual.

The longevity and simplicity of growing air plants are two of its best qualities. They only require a little sunlight and water every so often; they don’t require soil. And as you’ve seen, raising your air plant pups is also very easy. You’ll soon see a handful of puppies arrive with a little TLC!

See for yourself how lovely air plants may be by looking at our collection of them and their young.