How to Care for Tillandsia

Tillandsias are pretty little members of the bromeliad family, which also includes pineapples and other ornamental plants. They hail from Central and South America, where they grow in abundance without soil, so they are often called "air plants." All species of Tillandsia produce flowers, some of which are brilliant and exotic looking. Tillandsias are frost tender, so if you grow them outdoors, be aware that they might die during cold weather. They do well indoors in locations that receive bright light. If you use artificial light, Tillandsias prefer about 12 hours of light per day.

Step 1

Purchase your first Tillandsia plant from a nursery. If you attempt to start one from seed, it might take several years for the first blossom to appear.

Step 2

Choose a container for your plant. You can plant Tillandsias in many types of containers: some that are attractive include rocks with holes or indentations, large seashells or even wood. Make sure that your container does not hold water because the plant needs to dry out between waterings.

Step 3

Place your Tillandsia inside of your chosen container and water thoroughly. If the water fills your container, empty it.

Step 4

Attach your Tillandsia plant with wire, fishing line, twist ties or garden tape if you want to mount it on a tree or attractive piece of driftwood. You can even use a waterproof glue such as Liquid Nails.

Step 5

Fertilize your Tillandsia every month, starting in March and continuing until September or October. Dilute your fertilizer to one-fourth strength and do not overfertilize, which can burn your plant.

Step 6

Cut off the offshoots, or pups, that grow from the base of the plant to propagate it. A good time to start new Tillandsias is when pups are about half as big as their larger plant.

Barbara Fahs

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.