The wait is over now. Your air plant has bloomed after careful attention and affection! You could wonder how it got to this stage and how I should take care of my flowering air plant. Or perhaps you are still impatiently awaiting your Tillandsia to bloom and are considering what you can do to promote the process. In either scenario, you should read this post.
Start by reviewing some basic information on the air plant blooming cycle. In the life cycle of an air plant, the bloom, as with any blooming plant, signifies the beginning of the reproductive process. The fact that air plants only bloom once in their lifetime may surprise you. Depending on the species, tillandsia generate various flowers, with many of them producing exquisitely colored blossoms that come in a variety of hues, from delicate pinks and flaming reds to vibrant purples and yellows.
In the realm of tillandsias, there are many various types of blooming styles. When they begin to bloom, some plants, like the capitata peach, blush a light pink color, and blossoms emerge directly from the core of the plant. Small buds arise from the heart of several plants, including the stricta and aeranthros. The bud eventually enlarges and unfolds to expose flowers. While some blooms only last a few days, others can linger for several weeks.
Some air plants have bloom cycles that are significantly longer than average, and these extended cycles are more typical in larger plants like the caput-medusae and the xerographica. For some types, these plants produce inflorescences, which are huge bloom tracts that may reach heights of over a foot! The blooms on the tract gradually unfold and emerge from the inflorescence. Some Tillandsias have blooming periods that persist for more than a year.
After the bloom: Your air plant may begin to sprout new growth after the bloom cycle is over. These are young air plants, sometimes known as offsets or “pups. These little children will eventually become independent individuals “air plant grownup, and the cycle will start over! You can cut off the bloom tract that emerged from the plant to boost the next stage of growth, which will hasten the pup stage! Depending on the species, an air plant will often produce 1 to 3 pups after blooming. You can choose to remove the puppies or allow them to cluster after they reach a size that is around one-third that of the mother plant.
How to get your air plants to blossom: Most Tillandsia that are in good health will ultimately bloom, but they need good maintenance and lots of light to do so. Use a diluted fertilizer, such as our specially made Air Plant Food, every a month or so to promote blooms and pup production to hasten the blooming process.
Do Tillandsias require any extra attention when they are in bloom? Keep watering and feeding your plant, first and foremost! However, when watering blossoming air plants, you’ll need to exercise extra caution. We advise that you immerse, spritz, or keep under softly running water only the parts of the air plant that allow you to avoid wetting the bloom, as opposed to soaking the entire plant. The bloom may decay or wilt if immersed in water for an extended period of time. Since all of a plant’s energy is going towards the bloom and eventually the puppies, a flowering plant may require a bit more water than usual. Keep an eye on your plant to ensure its happiness and health.
You might get to take pleasure in flowers of your own using sunshine, water, and a little fertilizer! Cheers to blooming!
Want to know what happens after that? Check out the following post in the series on blooming, After the Bloom, as well as our page on air plant propagation.
Can you water an air plant that is in bloom?
Try to be patient and caring with your air plants because they tend to develop quite slowly at first. Over time, you’ll discover that they are incredibly tolerant plants that benefit from just a few simple instructions.
- glaring indirect lighting
- Every once or twice a week, immerse the entire plant for 5–10 minutes in room temperature water. After a bath, let plants to dry for at least three hours by hanging them upside-down on a towel.
- For better blooms and the growth of your daughters, fertilize every two months with an epiphytic, bromeliad, or non-urea nitrogen fertilizer (pups).
Tillandsias are a member of the broad bromeliad family. Southern North America, as well as temperate regions of Central and South America, are the natural habitats of the Tillandsia genus. According to
The plant species may grow in arid to tropical environments like mountains, deserts, and rain forests. The thick-leafed types are found in dry places, while the thinner-leafed varieties grow there.
in regions where drought is more likely. This is a crucial factor to take into account when purchasing an air plant because it will define the plant’s hardiness and the precise watering requirements.
What is an Epiphyte?
We adore the fact that air plants are epiphytes since they are totally unique and adaptable! The mosses, orchids, bromeliads, and Spanish moss are a few well-known examples (which is also of the genus Tillandsia.) The term “epiphyte” simply describes a plant that grows without soil and acquires its nutrition by attaching to another plant or structure without the use of parasites. They will develop roots in order to tie themselves to something, but they are merely there for stability and support. If the roots of your plants start to go out of control, you may always cut them back with a pair of scissors without harming the plant. An air plant is a distinctive and eye-catching feature in the home because of its capacity to simply “hang out,” which opens up countless design possibilities.
Tillandsias grow on trees and telephone lines in the wild, where they are slightly shielded from the hot sun. Allow your plant to receive strong indirect light indoors; direct sunlight, especially in the summer, will burn the plant’s margins. Simply pinch off any browning leaves you see close to the stem’s base; this will encourage new development. Tillandsias have developed a different method because they cannot acquire nutrition from their roots. They do this brilliantly by making use of Trichomes, tiny structures on their leaves. The plant can absorb nutrients and moisture from the air, rain, and occasionally collecting debris thanks to these tiny hair-like structures. This is essential to an airplant’s survival, particularly in regulating the plant’s water retention. Nice, huh? You can see why Tillandsia’s health depends on a proper watering schedule.
The ideal time to water your air plant is in the morning, when you can immerse it in a water bath. Stomata on air plants open during night, allowing for the flow of gases and the evaporation of oxygen. Watering early in the day will help to avoid interfering with this crucial procedure. Although you can sprinkle your Tillandsia, this won’t provide enough moisture over time, and the plant’s vascular cells may start to degenerate.
Your air plant requires either weekly or biweekly soaks, depending on the type and thickness of the leaves. You must be careful not to use distilled water or water with a high salt concentration when doing this. Both of these are deficient in essential minerals and nutrients that your plant need and will eventually kill it after only a few waterings. Water from ponds or the rain is favored, but it might be challenging for most people to find. It is sufficient to use filtered tap water or tap water that has been allowed to sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours. Make sure the entire plant is submerged in the water; turning it upside down frequently prevents floating. Give the air plant about 40 to an hour in its soaking. Most crucial, allow your plants to soak for at least 3 hours on a towel outside of their containers. The worst error that humans commit is this. Keep in mind that air plants are accustomed to extremely dry situations where they have the chance to dry out in nature. The moisture will be trapped in the plant’s meristem (base region) if you immediately put it back in its jar or container, which will inevitably result in rot.
If you have an air plant that blooms, the bloom will typically last two to three weeks! Only partially submerge the flowering Air plant during this time because getting the flower wet will unfortunately limit the bloom length.
Give a water bath for 12 hours the night before you go if you are taking a trip that will last more than two weeks. Once home, soak for another 12 hours before airing out. Additionally, there are a few “extras” you can carry out to encourage more blooms and quicker growth.
While fertilizing your tillandsia might help it grow and bloom more quickly, be careful not to overdo it. If you have access to rain or pond water, you can skip this step. We advise fertilizing just once every two months at most. You can purchase typical bromeliad fertilizer and add it to the water in your bath. In the absence of urea-based nitrogen, which is advised only for plants that are kept in soil, use 1/4 of the recommended amount of any water-soluble fertilizer.
Every air plant will only ever blossom once in its lifetime, which is sad but real. Once the flower has dried out, you should clip off the entire blossom stalk, since this will promote “pupping. Tillandsia” Pups are only new plants growing at the plant’s root. About two months after the mother plant or main base of the plant has completed blooming, they usually start to grow. New pups can be pulled off the mother plant by twisting them, or you can keep them on because they start to group together and the mother plant will eventually wither and be replaced by the puppies. Before you remove the pups, make sure to wait until they are between 1/3 and 1/2 the size of the mother plant.
Should I remove my air plant’s flower?
Like any other plant, air plants occasionally require upkeep and maintenance. Even healthy air plants require pruning; trimming is not just for sick plants.
Trim air plants, especially the brown and dead leaves so that new ones can grow. Cut off the dry leaf tips, any leaves that are damaged or ill, and any dead blooms. The plant won’t suffer if the roots are cut off. You are also responsible for removing the grown pups of the air plant.
You will learn when and how to prune your air plants after reading this article. If you are not ready, you risk over-trimming and damaging your plant.
How frequently should an air plant be watered?
For the best care, your plants should be watered 2-3 times each week in addition to once every week. Every 2-3 weeks, a 2-hour bath should be taken. You will need to water or mist your plants more frequently if you live in a hotter, drier region. Your plant’s leaves will start to feel heavier and more wet after watering, and they will be softer and lighter in color when they require more water. Dehydration may be indicated by leaves that are wrinkled or rolled.
Should air plants be misted or soaked?
Most air plants with plenty of trichomes (xeric plants) should be often misted or soaked, whereas mesic plants, which have bright green leaves and less trichomes, prefer to be drenched only once a week. In our blog post Mesic Vs Xeric Air Plants, we go into further detail regarding the differences between Xeric and Mesic plants. However, there is one exception to this rule: air plants with bulbous bases, even those with bright green, smooth leaves, should frequently not be wet for extended periods of time as well. Because of water buildup in their bulbous bases, plants are susceptible to internal rot.
Instead of being wet, Xerographica air plants should be sprayed or submerged. These plants, which are xeric in nature, are indigenous to arid areas. These plants can survive more sun and less water. A xerographica should be submerged in a basin or pail of water, then gently shaken to let the water drip off the leaves. To prevent water from getting stuck in the leaves, let the item dry upside-down.
The Tillandsia tectorum is an air plant that you shouldn’t wet because it has a lot of fuzzy leaves. The tectorum’s large trichomes on its leaves aid in absorbing moisture from the surrounding atmosphere. These plants have evolved to survive without much precipitation and are naturally found in arid areas of Ecuador and Peru. Depending on how hot and dry it is where you live, we advise spraying these guys every other week or so. They also favor open air and strong light.
The distinctive feature of bulbous air plants is that they have what are known as “pseudobulbs.” In the natural, ant colonies construct their nests inside of these hollow onion-shaped bulbs, which are essentially hollow themselves. When watering these plants, especially when soaking them, exercise caution. These so-called pseudobulbs are susceptible to water intrusion, which can cause the plant to rot from the inside out. You can either submerge them in water and shake off the extra afterward, or you can hold them under running water while avoiding their bases. The T. caput medusae, T. bulbosa, T. pruinosa, T. pseudobaileyi, T. butzii, and T. seleriana plants are included in this group.
Another reason not to soak T. pruinosa and T. seleriana is that they both have a lot of trichomes. They could decay from soaking because of too much water.
You shouldn’t immerse air plants with delicate leaves like T. fuchsii v gracilis and T. andreana. These plants benefit more from light misting or rapid dunks. You may need to spritz these plants as frequently as every couple of days to make sure they are receiving enough water because of their thin, wispy leaves, which can cause them to dry out more quickly between waterings.
The Tillandsia magnusiana should be misted or dipped rather than soaked because it has a lot of trichomes. These plants’ form and trichome content can make them more prone to decay.
When watering air plants that are in bloom, exercise caution to avoid getting the blossom itself wet. While it would be acceptable to soak the plant’s bottom leaves, we frequently advise pouring water over them or immersing them to avoid wetting the blossom. A bloom that has been moist for a long time may develop rot, which may eventually spread to the leaves and kill the plant.