Tillandsia in their natural environment. Pictures were taken in Florida.
Tillandsia, commonly known as air plant, belongs to the family of Bromeliaceae. It is an epiphytic genus with more than 600 recognized species, native to the forest, mountains and deserts of Central and South America.They usually grow without soil because water and nutrients are absorbed through structures on the leaves called trichomes. Their roots are mainly used as anchors.
Tillandsia varies in size, shape, texture, bloom and colors. They require minimal care and are tolerant to a wide range of environmental conditions.
Tillandsia prefers bright light. If you are living in an apartment, the best place to place your tillandsia is at the balcony or near a window. Some species of tillandsia can be placed outdoor and be exposed to full sun. As a general guide, the soft and green-leafed tillandsia prefers a shadier spot while those thick and silver-leafed tillandsia prefers a brighter spot.
The frequency of watering tillandsia depends on your environment. A general guide is to water your tillandsia 2-3 times a week. However, if your environment is very windy or hot, you may need to increase the watering frequency. Tillandsia should be allowed to dry completely between watering. If the leaves of your tillandsia involute (curl or roll), it could be an indication of dehydration. In such cases, you may submerge your tillandsia in water for 4 to 6 hours to rehydrate the tillandsia. Usually the soft, green-leafed tillandsia require more frequent watering compared to those thick, silver-leafed tillandsia.
For air plant in a terrarium, lightly mist the leaves of the air plant once or twice a month. As the air circulation inside a terrarium is poor, overwatering the air plant may result in wet rot. It is advisable to remove the air plant from the terrarium, water it thoroughly, let it dry before putting it back into the terrarium.
Tillandsia prefers a spot with good air circulation. At a location with good air circulation, it should preferably dry within 3 to 4 hours after watering. If the air circulation is poor, it may be susceptible to wet rot.