How To Grow An Air Plant From Seed

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.

Is growing air plants challenging?

More like pets than other plants, air plants are adorable. It doesn’t matter if a variety is fuzzy, furry, spiky, or trailing—it is impossible to resist. Usually very little, soilless air plants are simple to grow. As their name suggests, air plants use scales on their leaves to absorb nutrients and water from the atmosphere. Because they are simple to maintain and don’t require a lot of light to thrive, they are popular as indoor plants right now.

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 old are air plants on average?

Perennial plants are tillandsias, also referred to as air plants. According to the source, they have a lifespan of between two and five years, which indicates that they normally survive longer than two years.

The type of air plant and the growing conditions have an impact on how long they live, though. They reside in deserts, on various surfaces, and on tree branches in their natural habitat (other surfaces they can grow on).

Air plants only experience one flowering during their existence, which marks the culmination of their development and maturity.

Depending on the species, the flowers might remain in bloom for a number of months. However, the air plant will begin to die when the blossoms start to wilt and fade. Air plants develop pups or offsets before they die to carry on the same growth cycle.

Despite the mother plant dying, you can take the pups out and raise them separately. Separating the pups from the mother is referred to as “division is a method of air plant propagation.

As an alternative, you might leave those puppies grouped together ” (also known as “tillandsia balls).

Do you soak air plants with their tops up?

It is best to provide air plants with water that is rich in minerals and nutrients because they obtain many of their nutrients directly from the water. The best water is rainwater, although spring water is a close second if you don’t have a convenient way to collect rainwater. Alternatively, you might utilize well, lake, or creek water. Never use filtered or distilled water. Less minerals and nutrients are present in distilled and filtered water. Many municipal water systems include fewer minerals and nutrients and more contaminants. If you are concerned about your pH level, air plants enjoy slightly acidic water. The ideal range for alkalinity is between 5.5 and 6.0. Most frequently, tap water from the city is higher than this range, making it unsuitable for air plants. Do not worry yourself too much about PH levels. Any good, pure water would do.

After watering your air plants, thoroughly drying them off is the second most crucial step. To ensure that your air plants completely dry, put them down on a dish towel on their side or upside down. For the larger species like Xerographica, Streptophylla, and Sparkler, this is especially crucial. Within two hours of their bath, they should be completely dry to the touch. Wait until your air plants are completely dry before putting them back in terrariums and vases. If you water your plants and then put them in an enclosure right away, your plant can get rot. Your air plants will be content and healthy if you follow these straightforward watering guidelines.

What causes the reddening of my air plant?

When exposed to intense light, certain types of air plants, like Tillandsia brachycaulos and Tillandsia bradeana, are known to become a shade of red. Plant collectors who look for them specifically to add this lovely tone to their collection find this attribute attractive.

If the tops of your air plant’s leaves start to become brown rather than red, this indicates that it is being dried out by too much direct sunshine.

Make sure to mist your air plant at least twice a week if you intend to keep it indoors where it will receive plenty of light in a dry environment.

If you’re unsure of the conditions your indoor plant requires to thrive, using indirect light is always a safer option.

The answer is yes if you follow a few guidelines to ensure that your plant can continue photosynthesizing and growing as it would in natural sunlight. If you’re wondering if you can use artificial light to help your air plant turn red, here’s what you need to know.

  • Use full spectrum lighting because conventional lightbulbs don’t contain the wavelengths necessary for your plants to fully photosynthesize and develop.
  • Keep your plant three feet or less from any artificial lighting: Your air plant won’t be able to absorb enough light to stay healthy if you place it too far from a weak light source, even one that is completely spectrum.
  • Consider using supplemental lighting for at least 12 hours a day in areas with no natural light at all: Since most grow lights include an automated timer, you are virtually simulating natural sunshine here.