Tillandsia so different: how to care for a capricious plant

Tillandsia is a real find for those who love everything exotic, original and unusual. This houseplant will become a truly spectacular accent in the interior. Different species are completely different from each other, but the decorative foliage and attractive flowering remain unchanged. Tillandsia is quite demanding to care for, so first you need to familiarize yourself with the recommendations for growing at home. Such capriciousness does not affect its popularity in any way - lovers of green pets rightly believe that the effort expended is more than worth it.

What does Tillandsia look like: description and photo

Tillandsia (Tillandsia) is a genus of herbaceous perennials belonging to the numerous Bromeliaceae family. It brings together completely dissimilar plants (according to various sources, there are from 400 to 550 species), in which it is difficult to suspect even distant relatives. This is due to the fact that the natural habitat of Tillandsia is quite wide. It includes mountains, semi-deserts, and savannahs. Geographically, these are mainly the United States, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. The plant was forced to adapt to very different weather and climatic conditions, which could not but affect its appearance.

The variety in appearance of tillandsia is due to the dissimilarity of climatic and weather conditions in the places of their growth.

The name Tillandsia was given in 1753, in honor of the Swedish botanist Elias Tillands, who first gave its scientific description. She also has quite poetic nicknames - angel hair, old man's beard, Louisiana or Spanish moss. The last name was given to the plant by the American aborigines. In Indians, dense facial hair is very rare. But almost all the Spanish conquistadors who arrived on the new mainland had beards, often gray.

Tillandsia's rosette is usually very dense

All tillandsias can be divided into two groups:

  1. Ground or green. They have a short rigid stem and a dense rosette of leaves. They are bright green, lanceolate or triangular, smooth. The average length is 30–40 cm, the width is 3–5 cm. The root system is quite powerful and developed.
  2. Epiphytic, atmospheric or gray. They have no stem. Leaves are grayish-green or olive with a silvery sheen, very narrow, almost filiform (less than 1 cm wide with a length of 20-25 cm). They are covered with scales, with the help of which they suck moisture and nutrients out of the air. They live in trees, using the owner as a support. The presence of a developed system of aerial roots is characteristic. The plant is very capricious, so it is rarely found at home.

Tillandsia, belonging to the epiphytic group, can be safely included in the list of the most unusual indoor plants.

At home, Tillandsia has a short lifespan - no more than five years. It ends with the flowering of the plant. After that, the mother socket dies off, having had time to pre-form one or more daughter ones. Tillandsia produces very unusual large bright pink or crimson bracts from the center of the rosette, similar to an ear or blade of an oar with spines along the edge. Then three-petal lilac, lavender or purple flowers appear on them. Their petals are narrow, gradually bent back.

Bright bracts of tillandsia add attractiveness to an already spectacular plant

These are the most common shades, but there are others - purple, snow-white, sky blue, bright blue, coral, scarlet, yellow. All tones are very clean, so the tillandsia seems to glow. It seems to be the creation of a talented artist who prefers to work with acrylics.

Tillandsia flowers, unlike bracts, do not stay on the plant for long

The whole process takes about two months. In nature, flowering most often occurs in the summer, but at home it can begin at any time of the year. In principle, it can be stimulated by spraying the plant weekly with a biostimulant solution prepared according to the instructions (Zircon, Heteroauxin) for 2-3 months. After flowering, the fruit ripens - a small box with many small seeds.

Exotic tillandsia can decorate any interior

Video: flowering tillandsia

Tillandsia leaves are very popular with birds living in the lower Mississippi River. They use them to build nests. People also find use for them. Mattresses, pillows, furniture are stuffed with dry leaves, and adherents of the Voodoo cult make dolls famous all over the world from them.

The leaves of all tillandsias are narrow and thin.

Video: appearance and other characteristic features of the flower

What species are grown at home

Of the whole variety of tillandsias, only a few species were able to adapt to home conditions. There are also breeding hybrids, but there are also few of them. Most Popular:

  • Tillandsia tricolor. Erect stems 7–10 cm long and dense rosettes of thin leaves covered with scales. The length of the leaf is about 20 cm. The plant owes its name to a very unusual red-yellow-green bracts. Shades change from bottom to top. Several peduncles are formed at the same time. The flowers are bright purple.
  • Tillandsia fan (flabellata). It is very similar to Tillandsia tricolor, only the bracts differ. They have an unusual tubular shape and are painted in a bright coral or scarlet color.
  • Tillandsia blue (suanea). The height of the rosette is about 25 cm. The length of the leaf is about 30 cm, the width is 2.5–3 cm. The main shade is bright green, but a violet or purple undertone is also guessed. The peduncle is rather short, often curved. The length of the inflorescence is about 15 cm, the width is about half that. It contains up to 20 buds. Crimson bracts change color to straw as they bloom. The flowers are blue-violet, they do not last long.
  • Tillandsia Anita (anita). The most popular of the breeding hybrids, the parent is Tillandsia blue. Leaves are scaly, lanceolate. The tip is very sharp, you can even prick about it. The flowers are pale blue, the bracts are pink-lilac. As they fade, they turn green.
  • Tillandsia Andre (andreana). The stem is long, leafy. Leaves are belt-shaped, thin, sometimes twisted into a spiral. They are covered with grayish brown scales. The plant does not form a peduncle, its inflorescence is apical. The flowers are bright scarlet, about 4 cm in diameter.
  • Tillandsia Arauje (araujei). Stem 25–30 cm high, single or branching. Leaves are short, thick, 3–7 cm long, in the form of a cylinder with a bent apex. The peduncle is covered with pinkish scales. Bracts are crimson, flowers are snow-white, 2-3 cm in diameter.
  • Tillandsia bulbous or bulbous (bulbosa). In nature, it forms entire colonies, covering the soil with a continuous carpet. The stem height varies from 5–7 to 18–20 cm. The length of the leaf is about 30 cm, the width is 5–8 cm. At the base there is a noticeable swelling with a diameter of 5–6 cm, which then sharply becomes thinner. The peduncle is covered with grayish-red scales. Bracts are green-scarlet, lavender flowers.
  • Tillandsia mossy or usneoides, she is grandfather's beard. The most popular plant from the epiphytic group. The leaves are threadlike, gray or silvery-gray, like a spider web. Length - up to 5 cm, width - 1 mm. There are a lot of them, therefore, thanks to the meter-long stems, a kind of cascade is formed. The plant looks very impressive when it falls from the stand. Does not need support. The flowers are small, pale yellow or yellowish green. There is a natural mutation in which they are bluish.
  • Tillandsia filamentous (filifolia). The leaves are bright green, the peduncle is brownish. In the inflorescence of 10-16 buds. The ear is very wide, almost triangular. The flowers are small (1–1.5 cm in diameter), pastel purple.
  • Tillandsia bent (recurvata). The stems are up to 10 cm long and the rosette is slightly higher in height. Leaves are rather thin, soft, 15–17 cm long. Peduncle up to 15 cm high, pubescent. Each bract has only 1-2 flowers. The petals are purple or white.
  • Tillandsia silvery (argentea). The stalk is short, up to 5 cm. Curved leaves curling in a spiral are covered with white or reddish pile, they move away from its base randomly. Length - 7-10 cm, width - no more than 2-3 mm. The peduncle is smooth, straight or drooping. In the inflorescence 6-8 flowers with pale scarlet petals.
  • Tillandsia double-edged (anceps). A very dense rosette of 40-50 leaves 18-20 cm long. Longitudinal crimson strokes stand out against the general bright green background. Bracts greenish-white, mallow-colored petals.
  • Tillandsia Linden (lindenii). The outlet has 30 to 60 leaves. Average length - 20-25 cm, width - 1.5-2 cm. Bracts are crimson or crimson. The flowers are large (more than 5 cm in diameter), dark blue. The bases of the petals are white.
  • Tillandsia violet-flowered (ionantha). Small rosettes of silvery green leaves. Bracts are bluish or lavender. As they form, the leaves in the center of the rosette gradually turn red.
  • Tillandsia Dyer (dyeriana). The rosette consists of leaves that look like pine needles. Bracts are coral, flowers are pale pink.
  • Tillandsia head of Medusa (caput-medusae). The bases of the leaves in the rosette are closed so tightly that they form something like an orchid bulb or pseudobulb. Their tips are bent back. Bracts are claret or crimson, flowers are bright blue. From a distance, the plant resembles a jellyfish or squid.
  • Tillandsia sticking out (stricta). The leaves are in the form of very narrow triangles, like blades of grass. Length - 15–20 cm, width - 0.5–1 cm. Peduncles are curved. Bracts from bottom to top change color from pastel pink to crimson. The flowers are bluish-purple.

Photo: tillandsia, popular with amateur flower growers

Optimal conditions for the plant

It is relatively easy to create the microclimate habitual for tillandsia in captivity. The plant in nature is used to adapting to a wide range of not always favorable climatic and weather conditions.

Table: how to create a suitable microclimate for a flower

A place for tillandsia is selected based on which group it belongs to

Tillandsias, especially epiphytic ones, look very impressive in compositions. The most common option is a bromeliad tree It is not difficult to create an exclusive interior decoration - a florist is limited only by his own imagination. In order for plants to feel in such conditions, you need to adhere to certain rules:

  • do not use treated wood impregnated with varnishes and other chemicals that are toxic to plants;
  • wrap the base of the outlet with wet sphagnum moss and only then attach to the support;
  • if possible, fix them with wire (always insulated), use glue only as a last resort.

Tillandsia bromeliad tree looks very impressive

Video: tillandsia in the florarium

Small tillandsias feel great in the florarium

Planting and transplanting procedure

A tillandsia transplant is only needed to move the purchased plant from an unsuitable store substrate. It does not differ in its growth rate, therefore, before flowering, after which the rosette dies off, it may well exist in one pot, even for 4–5 years. In this case, it is advisable to remove the top 2-3 soils annually and replace it with fresh soil.

The correct substrate for tillandsia bears little resemblance to soil in the usual sense of the word. You can buy ready-made soil for Bromeliads or orchids, or mix it yourself from leafy soil, peat chips and finely chopped sphagnum moss (1: 1: 1). Another option is humus, peat, sphagnum moss and coarse sand (4: 1: 1: 1). Be sure to add crushed birch charcoal or chalk (5-7% of the total).

Tillandsias can be grown in a special soil for orchids.

The root system of tillandsia is poorly developed, it grows mainly in width, so a shallow pot is chosen, similar to a salad bowl or a soup plate. It is better if it is made of unglazed ceramic - for proper air exchange.

A deep, voluminous tillandsia pot is completely unnecessary

The transplant procedure itself looks like this:

  1. Water the plant liberally. After 30-40 minutes, very carefully remove it from the pot, being careful not to damage even the thinnest roots. Ideally, the earthen lump should remain intact.
  2. Pour expanded clay on the bottom of the new container in a layer 2-3 cm thick. Add about the same amount of fresh substrate on top.
  3. Place an earthen lump in the pot and start adding soil around the edges. In the process, it must be constantly tamped so that the outlet is tightly held in rather loose soil. Underdeveloped roots do not always cope with this task.
  4. Remove the transplanted plant in partial shade. Do not water for seven days.

Tillandsia transplant is carried out only by the transshipment method

Important nuances of home care for tillandsia

Tillandsia is rightfully considered a difficult plant to care for. The main difficulties in maintaining it are associated with watering.


During the active growing season, especially in summer, tillandsia is very much in need of moisture. Moreover, it is simply not enough to water the soil often and abundantly, water must be poured into the sockets themselves. The soil in the pot should be kept moist at all times (but not wet). Excess water from the sump must be drained, in sockets it is changed every 3-4 days.

The fact that the flower needs to be watered immediately is signaled by drooping leaves twisted into a tube. If the soil has dried out like this, place the tillandsia pot in a container of water so that it completely covers the soil for 10-12 hours. Then dry well and adjust the watering schedule.

Additionally, the flower is sprayed daily (in the heat even 2-3 times a day). A warm shower is also useful for epiphytic plants, since it is impossible to water them.

Spraying is an absolutely necessary procedure for tillandsias, especially epiphytic ones.

The water should be soft and warmed up to a temperature 5–7 ° C above room temperature. The ideal option is melt or rain. But the tap can also be softened by letting it stand for 1-2 days, passing it through a filter or boiling it.

Video: watering epiphytic tillandsia


Tillandsias are fed during the active growing season, spraying with a solution of any complex fertilizer for flowering indoor plants or a special agent for orchids about once every two weeks. In the first case, the concentration of the drug is reduced by half (for conventional tillandsias) or four times (for atmospheric) compared to the recommended by the manufacturer. You can pour a little into the outlet, but not every time.

Root dressing is not recommended for tillandsia

Root dressing for tillandsia is dangerous. It is possible to burn off thin, fragile roots even with a weak solution. In principle, tillandsia will survive and even bloom without additional fertilizing, but fertilization stimulates its growth and improves its appearance.

Pay attention to the composition of the fertilizer. It is desirable that copper is present there in a minimal amount or there is none at all. This trace element is toxic to any Bromeliads.

Dormant period

The resting period in tillandsia is not clearly expressed. Flowering can occur even in the middle of winter. A very slight drop in temperature is enough for the plant. Lighting requirements remain the same.

In winter, the plant is watered about once every 3-4 days, allowing the soil to dry 1.5-2 cm deep. They also spray less often - on average, once a week. The latter does not apply to epiphytic tillandsia, which will not survive without daily humidification.

You need to completely abandon fertilizing. Otherwise, green tillandsias will not bloom next year, and epiphytic ones may simply die.

Video: how to properly care for tillandsia

Common florist mistakes

Unintentional florist mistakes make tillandsia look bad. The plant suffers especially strongly from too low air humidity.

Table: how errors manifest in tillandsia care

Brownish and drying tips of tillandsia leaves indicate that the plant is not happy with too low air humidity.

Diseases and pests typical of the plant

Like all Bromeliads, Tillandsia rarely suffers from disease and pest attacks when properly cared for. Simple preventive measures in general can reduce the risk of infection to almost zero:

  • isolation of newly acquired plants for 20–25 days;
  • weekly inspection of the collection (preferably through a magnifying glass) and immediate quarantine of all flowers with suspicious symptoms;
  • free placement of pots on the windowsill, without crowding and cramping;
  • daily airing of the room, keeping plants clean;
  • maintaining air humidity at a consistently high level, proper watering;
  • feeding in accordance with the recommendations;
  • using only disinfected soil, sterilizing pots and tools.

Table: diseases and pests affecting tillandsia

Photo gallery: diseases and pests affecting tillandsia

Reproduction methods

The simplest and nature's own method is the rooting of daughter outlets, which are formed during the death of the mother after flowering. No one forbids propagating tillandsia by seeds either, but this method takes much more time and effort. You also have to be patient. New specimens will bloom no earlier than 5 years later. Sometimes you can wait 8-10 years. An exception is Anita's tillandsia, which forms bracts after 2-3 years.

The easiest way to propagate is epiphytic tillandsia. Only vegetative methods are suitable for her. It is enough to gently untwist the roots, dividing one plant into 2-3 bunches. Alternatively, separate one or more shoots, fix on a support and spray daily with a root stimulant solution.

Rooting offspring

Tillandsia babies that appear around the mother plant most often already have roots. They need to be carefully unscrewed from the ground after they reach a height of about half that of her. Or, when the parent is dry, remove the plant from the pot and sift through the soil. The easiest way is when there is only one offspring. All that remains is to carefully remove the old socket.

Subsidiary rosettes tillandsia forms after flowering

  1. Fill small cups with a 1: 1 mixture of peat chips and coarse sand. You can add some chopped sphagnum moss. A layer of expanded clay at the bottom and a drainage hole are required.
  2. Moisten the substrate moderately and plant outlets. They do not need to be deeply buried.
  3. Place containers in a mini greenhouse or create a greenhouse with plastic bottles, glass jars, bags. Provide at least 14 hours of daylight and a temperature of about 25 ° C.
  4. Keep the substrate slightly damp at all times by spraying it with a solution of any rooting stimulant (3-5 ml / L). Open the greenhouse for 5-10 minutes daily to ventilate.
  5. After 2–3 months, transplant the tillandsias into 7–10 cm pots filled with soil suitable for mature plants.

Reproduction by daughter sockets is a method provided by nature itself

Germinating seeds

Tillandsia seeds can be purchased without any problems. Often, the fruits ripen at home.

Tillandsia seeds often ripen at home, if this has not happened, they can be purchased without problems in specialized stores.

  1. Fill flat containers with a 1: 1 mixture of peat and sand. Moisten and level the substrate well.
  2. Spread the seeds over the surface of the soil, without deepening or falling asleep from above. Cover with glass or plastic.
  3. Provide the same conditions as for the offspring. Seedlings should appear in 25-30 days.
  4. When the rosettes are 4–5 cm high, place them in separate pots. Further care is normal.

Video: methods of breeding tillandsia at home

Florist reviews

Tillandsia is one of the most popular houseplants in the Bromeliad family. Its unusual appearance and spectacular bloom immediately attracts attention. It is widely used to create interior compositions - here the owner is limited only by his own imagination. Tillandsia cannot be called an easy-to-care plant, but all the efforts and time spent by the grower are more than paid off by the originality of the culture.

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The nuances of caring for tillandsia at home

Tillandsia is an indoor exotic. Many varieties are grown without soil, for example, on snags. This is the main problem. The plant needs high humidity, since the roots come into contact with the air, and nutrition occurs through the leaves. When leaving at home, the flower is often sprayed, watered by immersion in water. Cannot be treated with chemicals and fed with conventional fertilizers.

Assorted tomatoes and cucumbers for the winter. Step by step recipe with photo

Assorted cucumbers and tomatoes

Assorted cucumbers and tomatoes - a classic recipe for winter preparation... Our grandmothers and mothers made such blanks. The popularity of this assortment is primarily due to the easy availability of these vegetables. Cucumbers and tomatoes grow in almost every summer cottage, but if they do not grow, then they can be easily purchased in stores.

Consider a very simple and delicious recipe for making assorted cucumbers and tomatoes, in addition, this recipe is presented in the article step by step with photos.

Cucumber and tomato assorted recipe

Ingredients for making the assortment:

Ingredients for assorted cucumber and tomato

Calculation for one 3-liter can.

  • Cucumbers and tomatoes - how much will fit in a jar
  • Garlic - 5 cloves
  • Dill (umbrellas) - 3 pieces
  • Cherry leaves - 6-7 pieces
  • Horseradish (root) - 3-4 cm piece (optional)
  • Black pepper (peas) - 5-6 pieces
  • Salt - 2 tablespoons. spoons
  • Sugar - 4 tablespoons. spoons
  • Table vinegar (70%) - 1 table. the spoon
  • Water - 1.5 liters.

Assorted preparation:

Step 1. First you need to select vegetables. They should be intact - no damage or signs of disease, better if small. Cucumbers-gherkins and cherry tomatoes will look original. But if there are none, use what is available.

Step 2. Our cucumbers and tomatoes must be washed thoroughly. Cucumbers with a brush, after which they need to be soaked for 2-4 hours in clean, settled water. Remove the stalks from the tomato.

Soak cucumbers in water for 2-4 hours

Step 3. Peel and disassemble the garlic into cloves, rinse under running water.

Step 4. Rinse and dry the dill umbrellas, cherry leaves and peppercorns. If you add horseradish, then clean the root with an iron sponge.

Step 5. Having prepared vegetables, do not forget about containers and lids. Rinse jars and lids thoroughly with laundry soap and baking soda. Then the cans will need to be sterilized in any way convenient for you (over steam, in the oven or microwave).

Boil the seaming covers. If you use twist off lids (with thread), then they cannot be boiled. After thoroughly washing, pour over boiling water or hold for five minutes over steam.

The rest of the accompanying inventory (spoons, colanders, sieves) also need to be boiled or at least doused with boiling water.

Step 6. Boil water in a saucepan. (Just in case, boil additional water in the kettle, in case there is not enough water when filling the cans with boiling water.

Step 7. Put prepared ingredients in sterilized jars.

At the bottom are two corollas of dill, cherry leaves, chives and peppercorns (horseradish root).

Greens and spices are stacked at the bottom of the jar

Next, put the cucumbers, you first need to cut off the tips from them.

Cut off the tips from the cucumbers

Place the tomatoes on top, pre-pricked with a toothpick near the stalk in three to four places. (This must be done to avoid cracking).

Vegetables can be stacked randomly or in layers. Put the cucumbers on the bottom, then the tomatoes, then again the cucumbers, and so on.

Chop tomatoes with a toothpick near the stalk

Place the dill whisk on the tomatoes.

Place all ingredients in jars

Step 8. After the jars are completed, pour boiling water from the pan to the top, cover the jars with prepared lids and hold in this state for 10 minutes.

Pour boiling water over the assorted jars. Leave jars of boiling water for 10 minutes

Step 9. The next step is to pour the water from the cans back into the pot. This must be done carefully so as not to burn yourself and not to lose the contents of the jar.

Step 10. After draining the liquid from the cans, cover them with the same lids.

Step 11. Boil water again and add salt and sugar, stir until completely dissolved.

Step 12. Remove the resulting brine from the heat and pour in the vinegar, stir. (Vinegar can be added separately to each jar.)

Step 13. Pour the assorted jars with brine to the top (even if it overflows a little over the top), roll up or tighten the lids.

Step 14. Put the cans on their side, roll them and turn them upside down. Check for leaks.

Check assorted jars for leaks

Step 15. Wrap up the jars of assorted varieties in a "fur coat" and leave until cool.

Store the workpieces in a cellar or other cool place.

How to care: conditions of detention depending on the season - table

Tillandsia view Season Temperature Humidity Watering Shine Top dressing
Atmospheric Spring Summer +18 ⁰C… + 21⁰C 65–85%

Video: Conditions for potted (ground) tillandsia

Video: Conditions for an atmospheric look

Useful reviews of flower growers about tillandsia

One peduncle emerges from each outlet, when the small outlet becomes almost the size of the mother, then it can be planted in a new pot, but the parental outlet will eventually die out. Maybe if you don't plant the sockets, then there will be several plants in one pot and several peduncles!

You can grow from seeds on a grid, I fixed the grid over an empty jar from under the cream, poured water into the jar, seedlings on the grid. I have hatched seeds on the tillandsia, out of 18 pieces 6-7 are left now. Above the container is the top of the plastic bottle so that the humidity is higher.

This is not the first year I have been trying to grow from seeds, they have 2-3 stages, when they suddenly die for no reason. The first stage is when 3-4 leaves are reached, the second stage is when they have almost grown up, and as before, the humidity is no longer possible, but they have not adapted to the new one. And after 1.5 years from sowing, there is also a decent dropout: - Mine began to dry out en masse.

At first, she (atmospheric usnia-like) simply hung suspended on a string. There was a jar of water on the shelf under it. And passing by, every day I dipped it into a jar - I bathed it. Over the year, it has grown significantly and moved to the bromeliad tree. I really hope that soon she will turn into a big gray beard)))

Tilandsia is a mystery. Only the first flower has dried, immediately from the other side the next one has climbed, directly symmetrically! but has not yet revealed. Either it takes a long time to open it up, or it lacks something, it would not dry out. But already from the first side, the tip of the next flower appeared again. I read that she can only give 2 flowers at a time, no more, the rest are revealed strictly in order, instead of the deceased)))

Here in Spain, tillandsias hang in many courtyards, the babies are separated only for reproduction, and if not separated, a pretty ball will gradually turn out. Here tillandsia grows rapidly, outdoors all year round. This is me, for information :) As for leaving, I can only say what I see. Here it is outdoors all year round, although this winter was rather harsh, it reached 0, but did not freeze. It is hung either on a rope, or allowed around poles and lanterns. By the way, the balls grow decent in size. They are in the sun all day, they are not touched at all - what has fallen from the sky ... Other friends spray them regularly, they also bloom.

On the one hand, Tillandsia is unpretentious, since it requires minimal maintenance. You just need to know exactly - which one. On the other hand, due to the nature of its nutrition, the plant is very sensitive to nitrogen fertilizers, some trace elements, insecticides, fungicides, stimulants. That is, ideal conditions of detention are needed so as not to resort to the help of dangerous chemicals.

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