The Encyclopedia of House Plants

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Family: Bromeliaceae.

Tillandsia flabellata Common name(s): Air plant Tillandsia cyanea
Tillandsia Genus of about 400 species epiphytic, terrestrial, or rock-dwelling, evergreen perennials from scrub and woodland in S. US, the West Indies, and Central and South America.

The two most popular Tillandsias have grassy leaves like Billbergia, but their flowers are quite different (Tillandsia cyanea and Tillandsia lindenii).

These are the Grey Tillandsias, which differ from their normal green relatives. by bearing absorbent furry scales on their foliage. These scales take up water from humis air, and obtain nutrients from air-borne dust - they literally live on air! The most widespread species is Tillandsia usneoides, the familiar Spanish Moss which hangs from trees throughout the warmer regions of America. Until recently the Air Plants were virtually unknown as house plants, but you can now find several species on sale in garden centers. These plants are stuck on coral, shells, dritwood etc - they are not planted in compost. The leaves around the flowers may change colour and provide a long-lasting bright display, but the blooms themselves last for only a few days.

Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Average warmth (60F or 18C). Provide as much light as possible, but no full sun. Never overwater, and ensure that there is good drainage. Use rainwater in hard water areas. Misting is necessary all times. Offsets appear at the base of the plant. When the offset is several month old remove it with some roots attached and plant shallowly in Seed & Cutting Compost. Keep warm until establishment. Sow seed at 81 F (27 C) in spring, onto bundles of conifer twigs and sphagnum moss; mist daily.

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