Tillandsias have a wide range of habitats. They live from arid deserts to Brazilian rain forest. This ability to adapt to different environments makes the Tillandsia one of the most carefree plants in the world. The Tillandsias will produce flowers and offsets called pups.
There are well over 700 species of Tillandsias and hybrids; more are being discovered all the time.
Most of these plants can be put into a home with poor lighting and little to no water for a month without adverse effects. Some can even survive several months under these conditions. A person can adapt their Tillandsias into an indoor environment. Following are a few guidelines that will allow most Tillandsias to thrive indoors and out.
Tillandsias enjoy low to high light. You can place your plant near the light of the window facing east, west or south. Tillandsias can also thrive under grow lights florescent lights of the office, college dorm. Nursing home ect.
To water, submerge your plant upside down to soak the leaves in water for 3-4 hours and go two weeks to one month (depending on the humidity and location of the plant) before soaking again. When doing this just make sure that you do not use chlorinated water or water that goes through a softener. Rain water is best, you can also use well water and pond water. Aq7aarium water also works very well because of the fish emulsion it contains. If these types of water are not available, you can boil tap water for about 15 min. getting rid of the chlorination.
Tillandsias will let you know werather they are thirsty or not. When really thirsty the plants will get brown tips and the leaves will curl. When over watered, plants will show a black mildew. If these conditions occur, either increase or decrease your watering intervals to correct the problem.
Tillandsias will do well all year outdoors in warmer climates. They enjoy fresh breezes and good air circulation.
Most Tillandsias are used to low to high light. 10% to 90% I always say 10 to 12 hours of some kind of light! Outside Tillandsias grow best in the shade.
Tillandsias will thrive when you give them a regular dose of fertilizer. A well balanced orchid fertilizer designed for foliar feeding is highly recommended. Do not use fertilizer that contains copper as a component. Follow the instructions for half strength orchid fertilizer. Fertilizing allows the plant to strengthen, producing thicker foliage, larger blossoms, more flowers and multiplying the number of pups.
Blooms and Offsets
Tillandsias like all Bromeliads will only bloom once. After blooming the plant will put out new offsets from between the leaves at the base of the plant. When the offsets reach about ½ the size of the parent they can be removed at the base by pulling the pup off or by making a clean cut using a knife or a pair of sissors. Pups may be left with the parent and allowed to grow into clumps, thus allowing them to spread out.
Tillandsias can be mounted with glue, wired, strung or just set in place until the roots attach themselves naturally. When gluing use very little glue to attach the plant. When gluing, apply adhesive to just one side of the base being careful not to cover the core of the base.
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