Air plants in the winter

January is a time of activity for my air plants, so I felt that it would be interesting to take some (rather badly lit) pictures of them.


This is the Tillandsia caput-medusae that flowered in the summer. You can see that the offset is growing quite strongly, and that the flower stalk remains. I am guessing by the green colouring that it is photosynthesising and thus paying its keep.


This is the T. brachycaulos that flowered and you can see that its offset is catching up in size with the parent plant. It is also more vigorous as you can see by its stronger green colour.


Some of the others are coming into bud – this is Tillandsia fuchsii var. gracilis and it seems to have produced this flower spike in the last 7 days.



This plant is the large T. fasciculata that was hanging from the pine tree in the garden during the summer, and I noticed that it had changed shape. Tillandsias seem to look just a bit lopsided before they come up to flower and show fresh growth in the middle of the plant. So I had a look in the centre:


and there is the beginning of the flower spike.

This plant:


T. seleriana was its companion on the pine tree, and is also a large plant (a double handful), and I suspect it is considering flowering, but I am not sure.


One of the first to flower last year, has finally produced an offset:


Though as you can see it took some finding.

And out of interest I thought it would be useful to compare the air plants to their bigger cousin Billbergia nutans, also a bromeliad, which flowers and produces offsets in the same manner, as you can see:



Finally, just a reminder about making sure that your air plants are dry after watering. I did manage to lose one, just after Christmas, to rot. If you are in doubt, hang them upside down to make sure that the water runs out from the leaf axils (where the leaves join the centre of the plant).


Published by mercyjm

Living in Kent, I am a qualified horticulturist, currently self-employed as a gardener Herne Bay & Whitstable areas; I sell houseplants and airplants at markets locally.

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