Tillandsia Bromeliads, how do you water them?

rinomanfroni(7)June 2, 2010

I have just received some Tillandsias, or Air Plants, that I bought from a seller in Hawaii on eBay, and I displayed them in this way:

The smaller clumps on the side of the hanging pot are those that I received today by mail.

The large clump that I have on the far right is there since March and I bought it at the Home and Garden Show in Dallas, Texas... and I hope I am saving it from drying up because the tips of the leaves were starting to become all brown. I think that spraying these plants is not enough, because they seem to dry up miserably anyway. I think Tillandsias actually require more watering that you would give to a normal house plant!

So how do you grow your Tillandsia? How many days a week do you water them, and for how long? I was thinking of actually soaking these plants every other day in a bucket of water overnight. Would that be good?

Do you also think that the grow light on the top of the wall is enough for my Tillandsias? The plants in the pot are thriving under it, and I hope Tillandsia will like it too!

Thank you for helping me!!!


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I also would like to know if I should keep these plants outdoor during the warm season!? Would they grow better? I however would really like to keep them in the apartment!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 6:08AM
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Though I don't know much about Air Plants, I do know that A) they're awesome and I would love to have one but they're relatively pricey here and B) they would definitely appreciate a soaking once or twice a week along with the misting, depending most likely on weather/temperature. Dunno if they'd need to be left overnight. Probably about half an hour should do it I'd think.

I think a bathroom equiped with a shower and window would be an optimal place to mount them (3 on a piece of driftwood) if I ever got mine.

And that's about all I (think) know. Good luck and yours look quite fabulous if I may say so. Totally jealous.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 2:03PM
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AndrewH(z8 Vanc. WA)

I mist mine everyday, and I completely wet the entire plant. Then I shake off the excess and put it back in its spot. Sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, I'll give them a very quick dunk in water instead of misting. When I do this they're not soaking for any length of time, each one is in the water for only a second or two at most.

You definitely don't want to soak them overnight every other day, they'll drown! Tillandsia are *extremely* susceptible to overwatering.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 3:31PM
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nanw_4wi(4/SW WI)

In my own experience, soaking them overnight doesn't bother them a bit, as long as they're allowed to completely dry out following the soak.

I grow most of mine in the little square orchid baskets...and like andrewh, I usually mist them every couple/few days. I only dunk/soak them every 4-8 weeks or so.

If not grown in relatively bright light...they won't bloom.
I grow mine in a south window. 2 of the several I have bloom every winter...the other 3 or 4 have never bloomed..they may be waiting for a certain point of 'maturity'...I'm not sure.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 4:12PM
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... Aaand I just remembered that I haven't watered the two tillies I have in over a month. I should get on that.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 9:56PM
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Bromeliad species do not have roots as we normally expect. Instead they have "hold fasts" which are used only to hold the plant in place, normally on the trunk or branch of a tree but in some cases also in soil.

The Tillandsia are primarily epiphytic meaning they grow on a tree or other plant.

In the wild they collect rain water in the central cone so the only way to water them is to keep them damp and fill the cone with clean water on a regular basis. Most of the plants you have shown can be caused to attach themselves to a piece of cork bark if strapped in place for a long enough period. I have also used just a tiny dab of Liquid Nails glue to cause them to attach but they still need to be wired in place for at least 6 months or longer.

We have a large artificial "tree log" in our tropical atrium almost covered with bromliad and and other epiphytic plants. All are watered via an overhead misting system.

Misting on a regular basis is best but don't forget many of these have periods of dryness in the wild as well. You can see a few photos of our log on the homepage of the link below.


Here is a link that might be useful: The Exotic Rainforest

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 7:44AM
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Sorry, bad link!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Exotic Rainforest

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 7:48AM
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I've had mine for about a year or so. It's suspended inside an old fish tank that I use to propagate plants so it usually has water inside (the pots don't sit in the water) and tons of humidity. I usually water the plant about once a month if that. I water the plant by dunking it for a half hour to a few hours when I remember to take it out. I don't spray it at all actually. I hope that that helps.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 3:32PM
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