Ever familiar with Tillandsia? Some of us may have heard it only today. Tillandsia is an air plant, it mainly or shall I say—basically grows on air. Lovely, right? These plants are so forgiving, only requiring a little maintenance. It`s a perfect plant for gardening junkies with a brown thumb. Some of you may not be very familiar with this plant or haven`t heard of this ever since.
Before we go ahead and plant immediately, let us know first the origin of this plant.
Origin of Tillandsia
Tillandsia hails from US (southern states) to the northern Argentina. It` s the main source of nutrients is water, air, and sunlight. Wait, what now? Is also soil included, right? Nope, the soil is not included. In its original state or natural setting. These plants are found in a canopy of the trees in Andes` mountains and its roots are anchored in the trees. This can grow from a different setting like rainforests and deserts. In a nutshell, this little plant can adapt to almost arid areas. They can grow in varied sizes but their main attributes are that some of them look like a cheerleader`s pomp
oms or other variants looked like an aloe plant at some other variants, it looked like a jellyfish`s limbs.
Absorption occurs on their leaves. The leaves have a microscopic scaly texture in which the nutrients and absorption happens. They are called trichomes, and trichomes or gives the Tillandsia a silver gray or gray appearance. Different variety of shape, size, texture, color, and bloom of these bromeliads.
This plant, have earned their friendly nicknames among their fans, like Tilly and Tills. Well, for me, Tillandsia is a pretty mouthful, so I`ll settle with Tilly. Since these plants only are so wonderfully low-maintenance and being an airplane at that, they need a different kind of maintenance as well.
Before we start rushing into our local gardening shop and start hoarding these, let’s know first the things we would need:
- You may want to get a sprayer. Tillandsias like to be misted occasionally.
- Gardening shears. For maintaining a healthy-looking Tilly.
- Planter. In which you`ll be needing to hang the Tillandsia.
There you go. They don`t require that much, right?
Friendly Reminder Before We Start
The first thing that one must take in mind is that since these plants are different. They ran on a different wavelength with regards to how they are maintained. Do not ever put any soil on this plant. Soil acts like a poison to them and most likely, you`ll be killing your beloved Tilly.
Another poison for them is the use of treated wood as a mounting media or hanging media. Since this plant is toxic to copper, which is used to treated wood to prevent wood rot. Copper is toxic to all bromeliads.
Once you`ll receive your first Tillandsia, it is good to soak the plant overnight with bottled water or rain water only. Only bottled or rain water, no any alternatives. Use only rainwater or bottled water for misting and soaking the Tillandsias. Reminder, do not ever use any chemically treated water for these plants. Allow it to dry before you place it on your homemade planter or on your new planter at that to avoid mold. Put in on an indirect light. Never put it under in direct sunlight.
Watering Does Matter As Well, Doesn’t It?
Water in accordance to the weather. Since Tillandsias are dependent on weather and temperature, these plants need to be misted few times a week when the weather is hot or humid and lessen the spraying sessions to 1-2 times a week when the weather is cool. If you want to have Tillandsia`s to be thoroughly watered, you can soak this plant for about an hour or overnight once every two weeks or if the weather is humid, do it once per week.
Even though we know that we`re so excited with our new subject of attention, some of us may overdo the caring or watering part. Do take in mind that excessive watering or misting in this plant, like any other plants, can be a good place for the fungus to habitat.
Now Where Shall We Put It?
Now the good thing about this plant is that it loves sunlight but indirect for that matter. They can also live under artificial light without having any troubles at all. But since Tillandsias are bromeliad, they get their nutrients on air through their leaves. Good air circulation is a must!
But the great thing about this plant is that you don`t need to be a rocket scientist to guess if your plant is thirsty or not. If you noticed that these plants leave been curled at the tips, you have an option to cut it or increase your misting. Because Tillandsia`s the main symptom when it is dry is that their leaves curl at the tips as a part of nature`s way of conserving water. If you notice that this symptom is happening on your baby, please increase the misting.
The proper way of misting is allowing to have the plant to absorb all the water first before you give it another go. Doing that subsequently in between after allowing the plant to absorb all the moisture will prevent from having water clogged on their leaves and may cause molds.
Another thing one must consider if you want to plant Tilly is that, the area. Just like other plants, Tillandsias grow best when put into a suitable area. Good thing, we have this area in our home where Tillandsias strives to grow. Since we already made it clear that Tillandsia`s loves good air as well as the indirect sunlight, the perfect place for this is— your window.
Uh, is Fertilization Important?
Not necessary. Since this plant is a hardy plant, this doesn`t really require doing it. But if you are after to increase and speed up as well the blooming process, you can buy a fertilizer that is specially formulated for bromeliads or Tillandsias.
Quick Question: Do this Plant Ever Bloom?
Answer: Yes, but Tilly`s blooms take time. It has a variety of colors like pink, yellow, red, orange, blue, violet and any hues in between. In related to the paragraph above, you can use fertilizer to speed up the process but this may affect the beauty of the flower as well as damage the whole blooming process.
The Final Thing Is, Of Course, the Planters. Don`t Ever Forget!
Now for the final touch, the planter. Because these plants are wonderfully forgiving, they deserve a smashing planter as well! I have seen a lot of tutorials online, specifically on YouTube, on how they made their own planters with resources that were available in their area.
You are very lucky if, in your place, there is an agriculture/ gardening area in which you can buy a planter. You won`t need any DIY`s if you`re a frustrated do-it-yourself person. You can buy a glass planter depending on their sizes. An average glass planter looks like a fishbowl, at that. It has a hoop on top of it so that you can be able to hang it. Also, it has a hole in the bowl that is purposely made to allow your Tillandsias to get most of the air. You can either use a wire or a natural looking rope for more natural looking elegance. One of the best types of these is Tertulia. Which looks like pompoms.
Another planter looks like a jellyfish. It is made from the sea urchins shell, carefully bored on the center and painted with a color of your choice. The placement of the Tillandsia is upside down and it looks like a jellyfish floating in the air. It looks so funky that you want to have it in your house! The types of Tilly are suitable of this planter is Tillandsia Bulbosa, Capital Peach, and Caput Medusae. Which looked like a jellyfish`s limbs.
If you are a fan of geometric elegance, then this planter is the perfect one for you. They used a brass tube that can be available in your favorite hardware store. It is cut off in a manner which one can create a fantastic geometrical heron-looking figure. It is strewn by a thread, secured and hung. These planters are perfect for those garden junkies that have a geometrical motif on their house or those people who just love the simplicity of the design.
One of the biggest of Tillandsias that can pass as an unique and strikingly beautiful centerpiece is the Tillandsia Xerographica. This breed of Tillandsia is expensive due to its size and it`s silvery green leaves. This breed can reach to three feet, in diameter. Tillandsia collectors treat them as an ultimate piece that would complete their Tillandsia ensemble. We can spot a lot of people using them in arrangements featured driftwood, colored sand and mosses and they really, really looked heartbreakingly beautiful.
The possibilities of designing the planter or mounting media are limitless. You will be able to maximize your creative prowess to full power since this plant doesn’t limit your capability of mounting it on a pot or vase. You have the option if you prefer it to be hung or stick it on a wall. You can design on your own if you find these suggestions not fit for what you want. Just make sure that the planter should be designed to be well-drained and ventilated.
If you have other refreshing ideas on how you would personalize your planter, then the more pretty that it gets! You can find a lot of things that you can do with this and you can play with colors, texture, and materials as well.
Aside from the decorative/aesthetic benefits that every house plant offers, like most houseplants, Tillandsia does have some cool benefits! They help purify and filter the air in your house and absorb much not-so-healthy air as they can! Like any physical activities, gardening alleviates mental stress and fatigue. It may not be obvious but there are a lot of benefits that we can take an advantage with planting Tillandsias!
Whether you just want to add greenish, natural flare hanging on your cold, monotonous and boring house or put your gardening skills to the test. Tillandsia is the perfect plant for you!