Tillandsia: A Description of the Types and Care at Home

The tillandsia plant got its name in honor of the Finnish botanist, professor of medicine Elias Tillands, who organized the first botanical garden in Finland in the 17th century. This epiphytic culture in the conditions of the Central Russian strip is grown only at home: tillandsia is too thermophilic and does not even tolerate even light frosts.

Tillandsia (Tillandsia) belongs to the bromeliad family.

Homeland – the tropics and subtropics of America.

The genus is described in 1753. These are epiphytic plants – both rosette and those with a stem. More often than others in culture – blue tillandsia. Some of the tillandsias are often mistaken for mosses, their leaf rosettes are so small (a few millimeters).

More than 400 species are known, distributed from the southeastern United States to Argentina and Chile. Homeland – Ecuador, Peru, where atmospheric tillandsia grows at an altitude of 850 m above sea level in the forests.

Atmospheric Tillandsia (Bromeliad): Description

Tillandsia is divided into two types, gray and green. The latter obey all the laws of the content of bromeliads. The gray tillandsia represents a completely special biological type; they belong to the so-called “atmospheric” bromeliads, or “aspirated”, and stand apart among plants because they grow right in the air, without land. The subordinate roots of tillandsia (bromeliad) can firmly attach to the roots of trees, trunks of plants and even stones. These are also epiphytic plants, but the rosette of their leaves is not adapted to the collection of water. Highly specialized absorbent flakes densely located on the leaves absorb moisture and nutrients from the air (due to mists and dust).

It is these scales that give a unique shade to the “atmospheric” bromeliad from the genus Tillandsia. The scale works on the principle of a water pump. With dry air, the cells are folded in the form of an accordion. When wet, there is a rapid absorption of water and its entry into the pumping tissue. Scales also protect leaves from overheating and drying out, reflecting sunlight.

When leaving at home, “atmospheric” tillandsia attach to the base of the outlet to pieces of bark, snags, trellises or epiphytic booms (special constructions for epiphytes). The only rule: nothing should impede the normal growth of its roots.

The fastening material for the tillandsia indoor flower can be wire, nylon threads, and even waterproof glue. The outlet (base) itself can be wrapped in sphagnum moss – this will create additional moisture needed by the plant.

Among lovers of exotic flora, until recently, the “atmosphere” was practically unknown, but now some species of the genus Tillandsia can be purchased in specialized stores. These plants are not planted in pots – they are fixed on decorative stands, coral branches, seashells, snags.

The most common species in the culture is the weed-shaped tillandsia flower (T. usneoides), or “Spanish moss,” which hangs from trees, rocks and even telegraph wires in warm regions of America with huge garlands. Bract leaves, compared to ordinary ones, are bright in color and long pleasing to the eye, but the flowers themselves live only a few days. When dried and tinted, tillandsia is a favorite material for florists.

The most grotesque look is the tillandsia head of Medusa (T. caput-medusae), in which thick twisted leaf blades extend from the swollen base, really resembling a jellyfish or octopus, and red bracts and blue flowers look very impressive.

The leaves inside the outlet turn red with the appearance of purple flowers. In tillandsia, the silvery (T. argentea) adornment is the finest silvery leaves, sloppy hanging on the sides as the plant grows.

Tillandsia is a perennial epiphytic plant. At home it grows on trees, less often on talus and rocks. All species of tillandsia, with the exception of the dwarf species (“Spanish moss”), are upright plants with a small stem. The leaves are narrow, grooved, up to 20-50 cm long, collected in bunches or sockets, form bowls where water accumulates. During the flowering period, solitary flowers appear the petals of which are painted light crimson on the outside and white on the inside. The reddish bracts of room tillandsia give the plant a special decorative and attractive appearance.

It blooms depending on the species throughout the year.

How to Care for Tillandsia at Home Before and After Flowering

When caring for tillandsia, do not forget that this is a very photophilous plant, however, some species require shading from sunlight. The temperature in winter is not lower than 18 ° С. For epiphytic species – not lower than 12 ° С. In summer you can take it out into the air. During flowering, when leaving at home, it is recommended to spray tillandsia at least twice a day with sprayed water without lime.

In winter, the culture is kept at a temperature of 18–20 ° C in a bright place (western windows), with the exception of blue tillandsia (northern and eastern windows). T. blue is planted in a substrate from peat, sphagnum, pieces of pine bark (1: 1: 1). Most of the tillandsia are grown on wooden saw cuts and blocks from the bark of conifers.

Blue Tillandsia (Tillandsia cyanea) is planted in small pots in a loose mixture for epiphytes. The optimum temperature when caring for the tillandsia flower in the summer is 25-28 ° C.

Tillandsia should spend the summer outdoors; it is tied to the branches of fruit trees lit by the sun or decorative bushes.

She needs a bright, diffused light (from April to October), but she can not be placed in direct sunlight in the summer months, as the plant may get burned. Tillandsia needs direct sunlight from November to March.

This backlight should last at least 12 hours a day. It needs high humidity.

In the process of taking care of tillandsia, the flower should not be replanted annually. In pots, the plant needs to be well fixed, since the roots of this crop are poorly developed and are easily washed out when watering. Adult tillandsia can not be disturbed for two to three years.

Watering and Dressing for the Care of Tillandsia

Watering tillandsia should be carried out two to three times a week, at elevated air temperatures – more often, at low – less often. Like most plants from the bromeliad family, tillandsia is demanding on air humidity, so it needs regular spraying, and also when watering, make sure that the water gets into the center of the leaf outlet. T. From time to time you can completely immerse in water. Spraying is not enough as the only means of watering, but it is very favorable between regular watering in rooms with low humidity. Make sure that no water stagnates in the pan.

From April to August, during the growth period, fertilizing with highly diluted flower fertilizers is carried out. Fertilizing with mineral fertilizers should be carried out at least once a month.

When caring for the tillandsia flower at home, the substrate is important. A loose mixture is prepared for tillandsia, in which pine bark, crushed fern roots are added, walnut shells, and husks of sunflower seeds can be made. This substrate can be simplified by limiting itself to a mixture of pine bark with sphagnum, peat, and charcoal (1: 1: 1: 1/2).

Breeding Tillandsia at Home

The propagation of tillandsia is carried out by daughter rosettes formed on the plant and by seeds.

After flowering, the mother plant usually dies. With proper care, by this time lateral shoots have formed, which come to replace. When separating the lateral offspring from the mother outlet, the sections are sprinkled with crushed wood or activated carbon.

In mid-spring, for the propagation of tillandsia at home, strong specimens should be separated from the main plant and planted in a soil substrate consisting of two parts of the leaf, one part of peatland, one part of fine-grained sand.

Each seedling must be covered with a glass jar and put in a warm, shaded place with high humidity.

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