Air vegetation are simple to care for, but they do want dunking – The Virginian-Pilot

Q. I not long ago ordered an air plant, Tillandsia xerographica, simply because it appears neat and appears to call for very little treatment. Nevertheless, it didn’t appear with care recommendations. I did some analysis, and care assistance may differ from spritzing it with water after a 7 days, to dunking it wherever from 20 minutes to a pair of hrs, etcetera. Other individuals mentioned only h2o it when it starts off to shed color. It is light inexperienced and doesn’t have considerably coloration. Any tips? — D. Watson, Newport News

A. There is a good deal of interest in these “no maintenance” plants these days. It would seem to me that they are far more plentiful out in the marketplace now. You can uncover them domestically in backyard centers and in floral departments of supermarkets. They adorn the internet pages of interior layout-form publications. I agree — they are cool searching. You unquestionably did not go improper in deciding on Tillandsia as a trendy addition to your home decor.

The air plant requires small care, with just a few caveats. Perhaps with a little bit of history, the treatment needs will make much more feeling to you.

Tillandsias are a genus of epiphyte, also identified as air crops or aerophytes. The team belongs to the Bromeliaceae (pineapple) loved ones and is composed of several hundred species, endemic and prevalent, throughout the Americas, significantly tropical Central and South The us. They are observed in quite a few diverse environs — forest, mountain and desert. Carolus Linnaeus, the popular taxonomist, named the genus just after Elias Tillandz, a further effectively-acknowledged Swedish medical doctor and botanist, who preceded him.

Knowing the plant’s morphology — its kind and construction — will present some clues to treatment. Epiphytes’ roots connect to a host for bodily aid only these plants are not parasitic — they really don’t derive sustenance from their host via their roots. The host is acknowledged as a phorophyte (“phoro,” bearer or carrier “phyte,” plant).


Probably you are acquainted with a further odd-searching plant, Spanish moss. Not a moss at all. Taxonomically speaking, it is in a division independent from the “true” mosses. The plant conjures visions of locations these types of as New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington and the like. Regionally, you may have witnessed it at Norfolk Botanical Garden, the Terrific Dismal Swamp, or probably even in your have backyard woods. In actuality, our To start with Landing State Park is regarded as to be the northernmost restrict of this uncommon plant. The binomial (scientific name) for this familiar botanical oddball is Tillandsia usneoides. See a link?

But back again to the care of your air plant:

  • These plants favor vibrant, oblique light-weight. Consequently, an east or south exposure is great. A west exposure is very likely to be far too dazzling, particularly in the summer months.
  • Humidity is the difficult element of the care puzzle. Maintain a near eye on the foliage. If the recommendations are curling, turning brown or equally, the plant is not finding the proper dampness. Crops need to be dunked, as in submerged, in water for 15 to 30 minutes or so each individual 1 to two months. Some resources suggest employing distilled or rain water. Following dunking, it is crucial to permit the plant dry totally. Then, mist or spritz it weekly. Timing and frequency count on its light publicity and the humidity in your home.
  • Fertilization specifications are small. Include a bromeliad fertilizer to the dunk solution monthly or so.
  • Temperature: The plants are good with a variety of 50 to 90 levels Fahrenheit.
  • Inspect your crops weekly, and be conscious of the seasonal fluctuation of light-weight and humidity in the property.

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