Looking similar in form to Tillandsia capitata, this air plant features a rosete of somewhat velvety leaves that range from silver in lower light to purple when allowed to grow in higher levels of light. Wetting down the leaves really brings out the color of this tillandsia – the purple on some of the darker ones can become so intense that it almost appears black! Enjoy the show only temporarily, however; as a xeric (dry-growing) air plant, constant exposure to water may cause it to rot.
- Small – about 3”
- Large – about 6”
Tillandsias, commonly known as air plants, are bromeliads, members of the pineapple family, and are native to the Americas, from the southern US through Central America and into the northern half of South America. They are relatively easy-care houseplants requiring no pot or soil to thrive. They do, however, need relatively regular watering and moderate light. There are three main ways to water air plants: thoroughly mist them once per day, dunk them completely underwater about every other day, or soak them for an hour once per week. Turn the plants upside down after watering to let excess water drain from their crowns. Remaining constantly wet will cause them to rot. They prefer temperature ranges of 50 to 90 degrees F. In my greenhouse, however, they’ve often experienced overnight lows in the low 40s and have had no significant cold damage.