Tillandsia is a type of air plant, named so because they don’t need soil to grow. These tiny plants have a unique look to them and if you want an easy way to grow more plants, propagating them is the best way forward.
How to propagate tillandsia: The most common method of propagating tillandsia is by using an offset. This growth appears at the base of the plant and is like a mini-root structure. Even though tillandsia plants don’t bloom often, you can also collect the seeds for germination.
Can you propagate Tillandsia?
Yes, you can propagate tillandsia. There are actually a few different methods, which we’ll cover in a further section. Keep reading and choose the method that works best with your resources.
Things you need for propagating Tillandsia
You don’t need much to propagate tillandsia as the plants themselves don’t need a lot to grow. Everything you need should be found around your home.
A clean pair of scissors or a sharp knife is needed if you want to propagate with an offset. Other than that, you will need a bowl, a spray bottle to mist water, and a piece of cheesecloth.
How to propagate Tillandsia
The following are two methods you can use to propagate tillandsia. While using an offset is the most common method, you can also germinate the seeds, if you are lucky enough to have a plant when it blooms.
Using an Offset
At the base of your tillandsia, you should eventually see a small growth, which is called an offset or a pup. These won’t appear right away and take a bit of patience before they develop.
Sometimes there will be only one offset while other varieties will have a few. Mature tillandsia plants will develop offsets but young plants won’t, so if you are keen to start propagation, be sure to purchase mature plants.
The offset should be quite large, at least a quarter of the size of the main tillandsia plant. If it is too small, it won’t have a decent chance of surviving.
Once the offset is the right size, gently pull on it and twist it off. Offsets are quite delicate, so be gentle with them.
It’s best to twist counterclockwise. You may need to rotate it a few times, so remain patient. It’s better to go slow than fast so you don’t accidentally damage it.
Now that the offset is removed, it’s time to care for it. Place the offset on a large plate that has a rim on it.
Spray that offset with water every week to help it grow. The rim of the plate will ensure that the process isn’t messy.
You should start to see new growth on your offset fairly quickly. After a few weeks, you can then move your new tillandsia plant to the place of your choosing.
Germinate the seeds
Air plants only bloom once in their life, so propagating your plant this way is all about timing. It’s best to simply wait and hope you catch your plant blooming and then take advantage of the situation to propagate it.
Once you see your tillandsia bloom, look carefully for seeds. These will be small but will look like a wisp of cotton and will appear at the tips of your plant.
Gently remove the seeds and place them in a container so they don’t blow away.
Next, fill a bowl with water and place your tillandsia seeds inside. You want to soak the seeds for three to four weeks.
Over this time, monitor your seeds on a daily basis; keep your bowl in a high-traffic area like your kitchen so you don’t forget about it. The seeds will double in size and when they are ready, they will be the size of a grain of rice and will be a light green color.
While you may want to change the water if it becomes cloudy, there aren’t any other steps you need to take. Don’t worry about a light source or covering the bowl.
Once the seeds are large enough, you can place them on a piece of cheesecloth and then put the whole set-up in an area that gets indirect sunlight.
Every week, spray the seeds with water. Monitor the seeds to ensure they don’t dry out; if they start to curl around the edges, it means they need more water.
Finally, you can spray the seedlings with diluted fertilizer. This should be a special mixture meant for air plants. Then, when they are at least an inch in size, you can move your tillandsia plants to their new home.
Can you grow Tillandsia from cuttings?
Yes, you can frow tillandsia from cuttings but this has to involve the offset or pup. You can’t simply cut part of the leaves as you can with some other plants.
The offset won’t appear right away but will grow as the plant matures. The older the plant, the less time you have to wait for an offset to grow out of the base.
Where can you plant tillandsia?
As tillandsia is an air plant, it doesn’t need any soil. As a result, you can be very creative as to where you place your plants.
Many plant owners will place tillandsia plants in a glass container to appreciate their beauty. You can place these glass containers on counters or you can hang them from the ceiling for a more intricate look.
Other unique ideas include placing tillandsia plants in shells or in lava rock that has plenty of holes. You can arrange them individually or group them together.
How large are tillandsia?
There are over 650 species of tillandsia, so their height will vary greatly. Most varieties meant for the home will only grow to a few inches. However, in the wild, some varieties of tillandsia can grow to be 7 feet tall.
Tillandsia is a type of air plant that makes for a unique decorative element in the home. You can propagate tillandsia by using an offset or you can collect the seeds for germination.