Tillandsia Tillandsia

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Tillandsia Tillandsia
Tillandsia Tillandsia
Video: Tillandsia Tillandsia
Video: Чудо природы - Тилландсия атмосферная 2023, February


  • Tillandsia species
  • Tillandsia care
  • Water for irrigation tillandsias
  • Top dressing tillandsia
  • Planting tillandsias
  • Reproduction of tillandsia

The bromeliad family. Homeland South and Central America: Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, as well as Mexico (Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas). About 400 species are widespread in nature, representatives of the genus can be found growing near the sea and at an altitude of up to 3000 meters above sea level, in humid forests, coastal forests and even in deserts.

Tillandsia species

Among the variety of tillandsia species, two slightly different groups can be distinguished:

  • Atmospheric tillandsia, with tough leaves, very narrowed to the tips, covered with dense scales and trapping nutrients and water from the air, are hard-leaved tillandsia
  • Tillandsia thin-leaved - forming a rosette of leaves of a linear or acute triangular shape, they form very spectacular bright inflorescences

The first group of tillandsias is usually called "atmospheric", although this is not entirely true. The fact is that all, absolutely any tillandsia are daughters of the air. The difference is that the first group grows in more open (blown) and arid places or the upper tiers of the forest, and the second - in more humid ones, adjacent to mosses and ferns. However, tillandsia need roots exclusively to gain a foothold on snags, to cling to terry moss or tree bark. They are not meant to grow in the ground. Not in the ground, especially clay, garden or shop soil. But we'll talk about growing conditions below.

A distinctive feature of most tillandsias (in the general variety of bromeliads) is the inflorescence of a two-row spike. It can be simple or complex, i.e. consist of one ear or several. The ear can be dense or loose. Stipules are usually tiled or spirally arranged. In "atmospheric" tillandsias, the inflorescence is reduced and only one flower is well expressed.

By the way, the leaves of "atmospheric" tillandsia are densely covered with scales that reflect light in such a way that the plant looks gray. Hence, another name appeared - "gray" tillandsia.

tillandsia blue
tillandsia blue

Tillandsia blue Tillandsia cyanea is a small epiphytic plant that forms a rosette. Leaves are linear, green, with a reddish tint, up to 30 cm long and about 1 cm wide, leaf surface in small scales. The peduncle is slightly curved or straight, short, the inflorescence is an ear, wide and flat in shape. The bracts are arranged in two rows, tightly overlapping each other with a herringbone, the color of the bracts is from light green to pink and red, they are up to 5 cm long, completely hide the sepals. The flower petals are bent, have a rhombic shape, and a delicate purple color. This plant can be found more often than others in free sale in flower shops.


Tillandsia protruding Tillandsia stricta is a small epiphytic plant that forms a dense rosette. The leaves are narrowly triangular, covered with gray scales, 7 to 20 cm long, and about 0.5-1 cm wide. The peduncle is short, curved. The inflorescence is an ear. Bracts are arranged in a spiral, they are from pale pink to bright pink, filmy, oval in color. The lower bracts are long and cover the petals of a bluish or purple color.


Tillandsia usneiform Tillandsia usneoides - "Louisiana moss" epiphytic plant with thin stems, the length of which can reach several meters. The leaves are filiform, about 1 mm wide and 5 cm long, arranged in two rows. Both the stems and leaves are densely covered with scales, from which the plant has a gray color. A single flower with scaly, oval bracts and pale bluish or pale green flowers.


Tillandsia tricolor Tillandsia tricolor is a small epiphytic plant that forms a rosette. Leaves are linear, green, up to 20 cm long and about 1 cm wide, the surface of the leaf is in small dense scales. The peduncle is long and straight, the inflorescence is either a simple spike, or a complex of several ears. Bracts are long, oval in shape, the lower ones are bright red, and above are yellow and then green. Sepals leathery, glabrous, accrete at the base. The flower petals are rhombic, purple in color.

Tillandsia species that are suitable for growing in terrariums and aquaterrariums:

  • Tillandsia abdita
  • Tillandsia albida
  • Tillandsia brachycaulos
  • Tillandsia bulbosa
  • Tillandsia concolor
  • Tillandsia duratii
  • Tillandsia flabellata
  • Tillandsia funckiana
  • Tillandsia geminiflora
  • Tillandsia harrisii
  • Tillandsia hondurensis
  • Tillandsia ionantha
  • Tillandsia ixioides
  • Tillandsia juncea
  • Tillandsia latifolia
  • Tillandsia mitlaensis
  • Tillandsia neglecta
  • Tillandsia paleacea
  • Tillandsia pseudobaileyi
  • Tillandsia purpurea
  • Tillandsia stricta

Tillandsia - care and cultivation

Temperature: In general, Tillandsias are thermophilic, in summer they are satisfied with the usual room temperature, but ideally, most Tillandsias prefer temperatures between 25-28 ° C during the daytime and 16-17 ° C at night. Many species tolerate temperatures up to 12-14 ° C well.

In winter, it is desirable a little cooler than 18-22 ° С, the minimum winter temperature is 12 ° С Species of "atmospheric" tillandsia need cooler content in winter - about 12-14 ° С, at least + 10 ° С. This is especially important in conditions of reduced illumination from October to the end of January. In nature, all Tillandsia species, without exception, prefer to grow in places where there is constant air circulation. At home, this is especially important, but sudden temperature changes and cold drafts are not allowed. If the weather is cold outside, and black fungi appear on the windows or walls, you should attend to checking the ventilation in the apartment.

Lighting: Bright place without direct sunlight, diffused light. Tillandsias with tough, thick, gray leaves are more demanding of sunlight, they benefit from the morning or evening sun - the sill of the east or north-west window. Species with green and gray-green leaves (Tillandsia blue) grow well in light partial shade - the north window is the best option.

In autumn and winter, it can be rearranged to a brighter place - the southeast or west window.

Air humidity: Tillandsia require high air humidity, optimally 65-85%, at least 60%. You can spray only with soft and warm water.

Watering: All types of tillandsias, even those with a dense rosette of leaves, should be watered by immersion (soaking) in warm prepared water or by spraying. In winter, the frequency of humidification depends on the temperature, if it is light and warm, then in normal mode, like in summer; if it's cool - less often. At home, the humidification of the air around the tillandsias should be increased when the central heating is on. If you hang up the washed laundry and it dries up in two hours, if synthetic items or hair become electrified, this is a sign of a drop in air humidity to a critical level. This usually happens in cold weather, when the heating is working at full. During such periods, it is better to keep the plants in a special florarium or keep a humidifier constantly turned on nearby.

Tillandsia, forming a large wide rosette, fixed on a large lumpy substrate (pine bark, akadama), which dries quickly, are watered 2-3 times a week, immersing the plants in water for at least 20-30 minutes together with the pot, then carefully drain the water. Water should never remain in the leaf axils! If the air at home is very dry (below 45%), you can soak the tillandsias in water for 3-4 hours. If the leaves of bromeliads begin to curl along the central vein, as if into a tube, this is a sign of dehydration, then you also need to soak the tillandsias for 3-4 hours.

The main thing when watering tillandsias:

  • use of exceptionally soft water
  • ensure the drying of the plant no longer than 4 hours after watering
  • avoid keeping water in the center of the outlet

Irrigation water

The water should be slightly acidic - ideally pH 6.5. If for a short time, then they can endure a couple of times water with a harder or acidic pH from 4 to 8. But no chlorine! The water should not contain chemicals, any softeners. Even rainwater, due to the ecological situation in the cities of our country, is not ideal; it is more correct to use bottled water or frozen water. As a last resort, filtered and boiled.

There is another option for preparing water for bromeliads and any epiphytes that do not tolerate tap water - this is the use of means for preparing aquarium water. Preparations are sold that are added to ordinary water and make it suitable for the life of tropical fish within an hour. It is convenient to use the Tetra AquaSafe Water Treatment Conditioner.

If distilled water is used, fertilizer must be added to it in a carefully calibrated dose at each watering.

Top dressing tillandsia

Plants planted in bark pots are fed no more than once a month. The bark decomposes slowly, but provides enough nutrients for physiological processes. During the period of active growth, the plants are fed with liquid fertilizer for bromeliads, but if feeding is not carried out, or is carried out less often, the flowers will not be much affected, perhaps they grow more slowly.

It is believed that any complex fertilizer for orchids is suitable for feeding tillandsia, but in a lesser or the same concentration. However, this is not entirely true. The composition of fertilizers is very different, some fit perfectly, some stretch, some do not fit at all. Top dressing with any fertilizer for indoor flowers, even diluted many times, can be simply dangerous for tillandsia.

Important: fertilizers for tillandsia should contain elements such as Boron (B), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) in microscopic (negligible) doses, these elements are toxic to any bromeliads, it is worth exceeding the norm. Also, a large dose of nitrogen is destructive for them.

Many industrial fertilizers differ strikingly in composition. Compare:

fertilizer for bromeliads
fertilizer for bromeliads
fertilizer for bromeliads
fertilizer for bromeliads
fertilizer for bromeliads
fertilizer for bromeliads
  • "Pure leaf Fertilizer Success For bromeliads" composition: Nitrogen 2%, Phosphorus 2.1%, Potassium 2%, Iron 1%, Magnesium 0.5%, Sulfur 1%, Boron 0.05%, Manganese 0.2%, Copper 0.05%, Zinc 0.15%, Molybdenum 0.01%
  • "Fertilizer for orchids and bromeliads Mr. Color" composition: nitrogen 1.5%, phosphorus 4%, potassium 2.5%, Iron 0.05%, Magnesium 0.1%, Boron 0.02%, Manganese 0.03%, Copper 0.01%, Zinc 0.01%, Molybdenum 0.002, Cobalt 0.002%, additional amino acids: glycine 100 mg / l, arginine 30 mg / l, saponin 30 mg / l, tryptophan 30 mg / l; vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, PP
  • "Bona Forte fertilizer for orchids" composition: Nitrogen 6%; phosphorus 3%, potassium 7%, magnesium 1.5%, iron 0.005%, manganese 0.005%, boron 0.002%, zinc 0.002%, copper 0.0004%, molybdenum 0.0004%, cobalt 0.0002%, additional vitamins C, B1, PP and succinic acid.

Of these three fertilizers, preference should be given to Mister Color - it is as close as possible to the requirements of tillandsia, there are fewer microelements in it than in the Pure Leaf (pay attention to boron, zinc). And Bona forte fertilizer is good for orchids, but there will be an excess of nitrogen for tillandsias - it is good for other bromeliads that grow in peat substrate (for example, guzmania, echmea).

Top dressing is carried out once a month and only during the period of intensive growth (when the illumination is maximum - from March to June) every 2 weeks. Just add the fertilizer to your irrigation water and soak the plant in it as usual.

You can feed bromeliads not by immersion in water, but by spraying on a leaf at the same dosage. It is strictly unacceptable to use epin and zircon growth stimulants for spraying tillandsia.

Bromeliads cannot be fed with organic matter - no urea, humus or mullein infusions, even in microscopic doses, since the nitrogenous compounds in their composition must be processed by bacteria in the soil so that nitrogen goes into an assimilable form. And we just do not have soil and bacteria (there is practically no in the bark).

Planting tillandsias

There are two options for planting tillandsias: in a substrate and without a substrate. Any material is considered a substrate - bark, fern roots, coconut fiber, akadama, stones, etc., not earth in the usual sense.

Tillandsia of the first group, whose leaves look like dracaena leaves, especially Tillandsia blue, are often sold in pots in peat. They are grown in a substrate. But it is wrong to plant them in ordinary soil or store-bought soil for bromeliads. The company "Garden of Miracles" offers such soil: peat, sand, sphagnum moss. It is suitable for growing pineapple or bilbergia, but not for tillandsias - no sand and peat, especially fibrous, sticky, should not be in the tillandsia substrate.

Tillandsia transplant after purchase

In stores, tillandsias sit in pots (peat with the addition of perlite) not for permanent residence, but in order to prevent the plant from drying out during transportation to the store. It is necessary to rid the plant of peat, fix it in a larger lumpy substrate, so that the roots are in contact with air.

tillandsia blue
tillandsia blue

In nature, Tillandsia blue does not grow in the ground, these bromeliads grow on mossy stones and tree trunks.

The key moment for the life of such tillandsias (you can call them conditionally soil) is the frequency of moisture, the humidity of the surrounding air, and not the roots and soil. You can fix them on the block, like any epiphyte, but the humidity of the ambient air must be at least 70%, or watering once a day by immersion for 20 minutes. These tillandsias do not tolerate overdrying, but should dry out after moistening for 4-5 hours. Therefore, Tillandsia blue and similar species can be planted in large pieces of bark or a mixture of bark and akadama (clay granulate for growing bonsai) or seramis granulate. The size of the pieces of bark is about 1-2 cm. In the substrate, you can use coconut chips or fiber (inert, non-decaying material), and river stones.

The presence of roots in Tillandsia is not necessary for planting them in the ground! Like orchids, the long, branched roots of tillandsia are designed to anchor to tree trunks and absorb nutrient solution that flows down the trunk and branches when it rains. You can cut them off as unnecessary and just put the plant in a wide vase, it will not suffer at all, and if it needs to, it will easily grow new ones. But if you stick a plant in the ground, it will safely rot in a couple of months.

So, Tillandsia blue and other soil species can be planted in a pot. In diameter, it should not exceed 10 cm, and 8 cm of the pot is enough. Transplantation to plants is not required for the reason that after flowering, the mother bush dies off, though not immediately, but gradually, while daughter rosettes grow on it. When they grow up, they need to be cut off and planted in separate pots.

Planting atmospheric tillandsias

There are many options for planting air daughters: any type can be mounted on driftwood, wooden blocks, or any non-toxic material. Do not use treated wood, varnished or painted, as well as building material such as foam or gypsum fiber.


Cleaned and disinfected branches, cypress and larch wood sawn with rings, as well as beautiful roots, stones are perfect, you can get a lot of ideas from an aquarium store, where you can find shells or beautiful corals. And of course, flat bowls and vases, plastic baskets or candy bowls from a dish store will do. Containers or containers should be such that water does not trap in them or can be easily drained. Please note that if the plant is fixed, then when watering it will have to be immersed in a bowl of water entirely, along with a vase, but the water must be carefully drained after watering, remember that tillandsias should dry out in 4 hours. If water remains in the shell or vase, the plants can rot.

Tillandsia is attached to the block, to the driftwood with the help of a tape cut from nylon tights, any other material is not suitable - it can injure plants. This design should be permanent, you should not untie and outweigh the bromeliads in new vases, because the old ones are tired. Excessive braking, untiing-tying of delicate plants injures them.

Thus, the block or container to which the tillandsia will be attached will be completely immersed in water when irrigated, must consist of a material that does not rot, or, at least, does not rot quickly.


Tillandsias are propagated by seeds and daughter rosettes.

Tillandsia bloom only once in a lifetime, but very colorful; in many species, the inflorescences are colored pink, red or orange. During flowering, the plants put all their energy into laying the babies and with the end of flowering small rosettes begin to grow. One mother plant can form 3-8 daughter rosettes. If they are not separated, then they remain to grow in width, forming a wide curtain. It is better to separate children when they grow up about 6-8 cm in diameter.

Natalia Rusinova

Used photos: Cliff, yoppy, @penguin_yu_ki, Alex in situ.

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