Houseplant Tillandsia bulbosa meets all the requirements of modern growers for decorative species of flowering plants. This is an unusual shape, the attractive color of petals, and the rapid development of vegetative green mass. Tillandsia flower has one amazing property – it blooms quickly and pleases the eye with a long period of bud formation. Tillandsia is widespread in various species, many varieties are resistant to low levels of humidity.
The genus Tillandsia bulbosa belongs to the Bromeliad family. The plant is native to western India, southern Mexico, South America, and even southern Florida. In their natural habitat, these plants can be found attached to branches in lowland forests, in mangroves along the coast, and even among rocks. Today we want to tell you how to grow Tillandsia bulbosa and what you need to know about this beautiful plant.
The plant blooms with red and green thorns, which turn into 2-8 flower inflorescences. The upper leaves are painted in luxurious cherry-red color, from which a short flower shoot grows. Cute purple tubular flowers appear on the peduncle during flowering.
Tillandsia bulbosa produces ‘pups’ after flowering, also called off-shoots. You can either leave or remove them. Before breaking them, make sure they are at least half the size of the parent plant.
The plant should only be grown if you live in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. Consequently, they can survive in temperatures between 20 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tillandsia bulbosa Care
Humidity is needed quite high – close to 60%. This level is maintained by spraying with soft water, but so that it does not drip onto the flowers. Make sure that the moisture does not linger on the foliage for a long time, it should evaporate within a couple of hours. Please note that the higher the air humidity, the more light the culture needs. These plants need fresh air but do not let drafts blow over them.
The plant grows best where there is a lot of light but you should avoid direct sunlight. The best solution is to place Tillandsia where it can receive indirect or filtered light. If you want to grow it indoors, then preference should be given to places with windows facing south. If you are worried that you do not have enough light in your house then you can use artificial lighting to grow plants. It is especially important to provide the plant with the right amount of light during the cold and dark months.
Remember that tillandsia bulbosa is a tropical plant and needs a suitable climate. At low temperatures, the plant may die. Keep the temperature at least 45°F even in winter. Something around room temperature and above is the ideal condition for a plant.
Considering that tillandsia bulbosa is an air plant, the process of water absorption is different for them. Usually, their root system is only used to attach to rocks or other plants. The plant absorbs moisture through tiny, wax-like structures on the leaves called trichomes.
Remember that distilled water is harmful to the plant. We also do not recommend using softened water because it contains a large amount of salt. Bottled, filtered or tap water is an ideal option if the last one has sat long enough for the chlorine to dissolve. Keep in mind that during the growing season, the frequency of watering should be increased.
You can spray the tillandsia several times a week to speed up its growth. Soaking the plant is also a good idea. Shake the plant well after soaking to remove excess water. Otherwise, root rot cannot be avoided.
There are many ways to fertilize tillandsia bulbosa. For example, you can spray it twice a month with a specialized Tillandsia fertilizer mist. This would provide the plant with beneficial nutrients. If you have an aquarium or a small pond on the site, then you can also use this water as fertilizer as it contains a lot of different nutrients.
If you are worried about the health of your pets, which may interact with the plant, then we hasten to reassure you – Tillandsia is non-toxic for them. But we still recommend that you keep an eye on your pets as it, like any other plant, may cause stomach upset when consumed.
Although Tillandsia bulbs are often grown in tall vases or terrariums, this is not the best environment for this plant. Since it is an air plant, it needs a lot of fresh air. Cramped containers cannot provide adequate air circulation.
You can grow this flower almost anywhere, including shells, rocks, clay, and ceramic pots, or driftwood. However, never plant this plant next to moss, as the moss’s ability to retain water can cause root rot in tillandsia.
How to Propagate Tillandsia
You can propagate it by seed or side shoots (‘puppies’), which are detached when they reach half the size of the parent plant.
To grow tillandsia from seeds, you need to pollinate the flower, then wait for a little until the seeds form. The seeds look like small parachutes and resemble dandelion fluff in appearance. After collecting the seeds, soak them for 10-14 days. After that, they should be spread out in a thin layer on a damp surface, like a layer of sphagnum moss. When propagating by seed keep in mind that the growth of seedlings can be very slow. It can take years to grow a plant from them.
Given that growing tillandsia from seed is a painstaking and time-consuming job, the best way to breed them is with ‘puppies’ that grow on the mother plant.
Possible Growing Problems
Healthy tillandsia with proper care is not susceptible to diseases. And pests such as spider mites can be easily eliminated with soapy water or insecticide. But there are other problems that you may face growing this plant:
• Because of lack of nutrients, the plant may not produce the shoots necessary for reproduction;
• Because of the coolness and drafts, the leaves may be drooping and withering;
• Most often the fungus is the cause of the appearance of gray spots on the leaves;
• Using hard water can darken the tips of the leaves.
To get rid of such troubles, you need to eliminate the causes.
Tillandsia bulbosa is a very attractive and interesting plant! For a long time, it has been popular among both professional and amateur florists. If you have been thinking about replenishing your collection with a beautiful and unusual plant, then Tillandsia bulbosa is definitely worth your attention!
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