PLANT CARE


 

Tillandsias hate the humid cold weather, the limestone water and the salt.

 

They can live in the outside, in a bright and ventilated spot, trying to avoid direct sun in summer, although grey plants can withstand better than the green ones. We should protect tillandsias from strong wind that can dehydrate them and mist, due to its salt content.

 


Inside home, we must lay tillandsias near a window, avoiding direct sun during all day, especially in summer. It’s preferable to expose them to the morning sun or the late day sun, avoiding midday.

 

Glass containers are misadvised because the drying process after spraying water inside those containers is too slow, which can make your plants rot.


SPRAYING OR DIPPING?

 

The watering of tillandsias can be done by spraying or by immersion. The frequency of spraying must be established depending on the ambient temperature, humidity and the time they are exposed to light. In general, varies from 3 times a week to 1 time per week, as long as the temperature at which the plant is exposed is not less than 10ºC, in which case, you should not water.

 


  Its leaves are rolled inwards when the plant is thirsty, to avoid dehydration, and open when well hydrated, which allows to realize the state of the plant. The spraying has to be generous and, alternatively, the plant can be submerged for half an hour and then the water excess should be drained before placing it in its usual location. It is preferable to do it in the morning, so that it can dry during the day and arrive at night completely dry, since the water excess in the plant is very harmful.

 

It is important to bear in mind that pseudobulbosa tillandsias of thick base such as selerianas, bulbosas, caput medusae, pseudobeileyi, butzii, etc., are very sensitive to water excess and therefore it is not advisable to water them by immersion: it is enough to pulverize them taking special care in avoiding the accumulation of water in the bulb. It is recommended to place them with the bulb upwards so that the water can drain.

 

Tillandsias like acid water, like rainwater, with a pH between 5 and 7. To spray them, you can use mineral water, or tap water that has been acidified by adding a small amount of wine vinegar. white (acetic acid): in hard water we will add 1 cc per liter of water, increasing to one and a half cm if the water is very hard (ph higher than 8).

 
Do not use demineralized or distilled waters, as they do not contain the minerals necessary for the life of our tillandsias. Neither should be used water obtained by a decalcification process, because they contain dissolved salts and we have already commented on how harmful sodium chloride is for its optimal development

 
We advise, as a general rule, to water the Tillandsias that do not have trichoma (gray coat that protects them from the sun and captures humidity) by immersion and the Tillandsias with trichoma by spray. In the first ones, if we spray them, we leave them very little time in contact with the water and they do not have time to absorb the humidity, that is why we recommend to bathe them.

 


TEMPERATURE?

 

Some tillandsias are fleshy and in winter they must be protected in an interior space, although the vast majority of them are very rustic and can withstand temperatures even below -5°C for several hours, provided the cold is dry, so if they live outdoors they must be protected avoiding rain, especially in winter.


On the other hand, plants of this genre usually withstand high temperatures in summer, up to 40°C, although it depends on the species.


 FLOWERING?

 

All the plants of the bromelias family, and the tillandsias in particular, bloom only once in their life: when the plant reaches maturity, if the right conditions are met, it blooms. To do this, tillandsias need, in addition to having light and humidity within the optimal intervals, a certain temperature difference between day and night.


 Some of the species also need to have been at low temperatures during winter to be able to reach flowering. Around the time of flowering, the plant begins to produce sons, which will develop until they become adult plants and, in turn, flourish, forming a  colony of genetically identical plants (clones).


 FERTILIZATION?

 

 A moderate and regular fertilization increases the growth of the tillandsias, although if it is excessive it has the counterproductive effect of making them little resistant to temperature changes, lack or excess of humidity, etc. Preferably, fertilize from spring to autumn, leaving the plant to rest during winter, avoiding fertilizers containing ureic nitrogen because it causes the leaves to yellow. A diluted orchid fertilizer can be used, using a third of the dosage recommended by the manufacturer, from spring to autumn, whether the watering is done by spraying or by immersion.


OUTSIDE CULTIVATION?

 

The tillandsias are comfortable being located outside, but we must bear in mind that they appreciate a half shade in spring and summer. They can be attached to a tree by wire or rope, preventing the rocking caused by the wind because the leaves are fragile.


They can also be hold with silicone or carpenter's glue to a piece of wood.

In autumn and winter, they must be covered when the temperature drops below 5°C, in a ventilated place, cool and bright, and reduce watering or even suspend it, avoiding the morning dew because they can rot due to lack of ventilation.


INSIDE CULTIVATION?

 

The cultivation of tillandsias inside the house is feasible throughout the year. Place your tillandsia near a window avoiding the midday sun in summer. If you place them in a bathroom, you will not need to spray them because the humidity will be enough for them.


It is necessary to pay special attention to avoid the excess of water since the tillandsias dry with more difficulty in the interior by the absence of wind. Plants must be located away from heat sources such as heating or air conditioners.

These comments are generalities that apply to most specimens, although as living beings they are, there is great variability in their response to different stimuli: we can have two plants in the same conditions and only one of them flourish.