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Tillandsia Aeranthos Care from A to Z

Tillandsia Aeranthos Care from A to Z

Tillandsia Aeranthos is an epiphytic herb that grows natively in certain regions of South America, like Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina.

Even though the Tillandsia Aeranthos is an epiphyte, you should still definitely consider making this a part of your lovely little balcony garden!

Epiphytes are basically the plants that grow on other larger trees but are not essentially parasitic. You can easily culture the Tillandsia Aeranthos at home if you want to—in fact, it is one of the easiest plants to grow and take care of at home.

Here is a breakdown of all the basic information you need to tend to your Tillandsia Aeranthos plant. 
 


 

Tillandsia Aeranthos Care

The Aeranthos herb is quite the convenient option for growing indoors, because of its size. Yes, this is a small herb that does not really grow much past 6-7 inches (15-20cm) in height. The Tillandsia Aeranthos thrive in temperatures ranging between 50-90 °F (10-32.2 °C) and flowers between July and December, and in nature, they can be most commonly observed to grow on rocks and trees, primarily around water bodies. 

The prettiest thing about these plants is, no doubt, their foliage. The green of the leaves is tinged with silver which lends a dreamy quality to the plant’s aura— something that I absolutely adore! I am a big fan of the Tillandsia Aeranthos because of the convenience with which they can be cultured at home. 

 

Location

Tillandsia Aeranthos requires little more than a suitable substrate and indirect sunlight in terms of its location. A conservatory is ideal. You should aim for a position where it gets no more than around 20 minutes of direct sunlight each day.

It grows well on a sea shell planter or a piece of bark but can also be kept in a terrarium provided that there is plenty of fresh air circulating.

 

Soil

One of the most interesting facts about the Tillandsia Aeranthos is that it falls under the averagely vast category of air plants. In case you are not very familiar with that expression, in simple words, it means that the Tillandsia Aeranthos does not really need you to prepare a particular kind of soil or specific potting mix for it!

As an air plant, it is wired to absorb whatever nutrients and moisture it requires directly from the air, via a system that is genetically designed to do so.

The scales on their roots are what helps them to obtain nutrients from the air, directly. One of the primary reasons that I consider the Tillandsia Aeranthos—or air plants in general, well suited for first-time plant parents is that the potting mix preparation is a step you can pass on.

 

Medium 

As stated earlier, the Tillandsia Aeranthos is an air plant, which means that it does not require soil to grow. In fact, as is the case with most air plants, the roots of the Tillandsia Aeranthos might catch rot if you even allow so much as moss to grow on them. 

Being an epiphyte, the Tillandsia Aeranthos is most commonly seen growing on larger trees or on rocks, most commonly around small water bodies like lakes or rivers. Strictly emulating that kind of environment inside your home for the plant to grow might not be possible, but you can always try to go as close to its natural habitat and setting as possible

Like we discussed a while back, the plant does not do well with excess moisture or humidity. It is only natural that the kind of substrate you will have to mount the plant on should not be the kind that retains a lot of moisture for a very long length of time—ideally, the Tillandsia Aeranthos should get dry within an hour. 

The Tillandsia Aeranthos need to be mounted onto a substrate that drains moisture easily and quickly. As long as that end is achieved, you could practically go for any kind of decorative mounting board.

Now, whether you want to glue the plant to the substrate you are mounting it on, or would you rather bind the base of the plant to the substrate, is completely up to you.

You can more or less use any kind of substrate. The way you arrange the plants, depends entirely upon your aesthetic sense.

 

Light

The Tillandsia Aeranthos definitely needs its own quota of light. This plant would grow best in full to partial sun, which means that it requires quite a bit of sunlight exposure to thrive. For best results leave it out in the afternoon, but make sure to shade it from the intense sun because that might be a little too harsh for the plant to bear.

However, keep in mind that this plant will literally fail to survive dark and cool conditions, meaning that in such a situation, you might witness your plant shrivel up.

Ideally, this is the kind of plant that would really appreciate being grown in the summer sun as it thrives in it. So even if it is winter, you have to ensure that the plant continues to receive a consistent level of brightness.

 

Watering

Do not be surprised that in spite of requiring no soil to grow out of, the Tillandsia Aeranthos still has its own vital watering requirements. It is nothing that would be too taxing on you, and even for most nascent plant enthusiasts, the Tillandsia Aeranthos’ watering schedule is quite simple and easy to keep up with. In fact, if there is any way for you to be growing the plant outside, bouts of rain would be enough for the plant.

But if that is not the case or if the summer months are rainless, you will have to undertake this duty.

During the summer months, watering the Tillandsia Aeranthos plant twice a week would be perfect, while in winter, you can reduce the frequency of your watering to, say, once a week or once in 10 days.

Of course, curating the watering schedule depends on how humid the conditions you are growing the plant in already are, so it would be wise to be slightly flexible about this, to suit the needs of your plant.

Overwatering is one of the most common errors when caring for air plants so it’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to watering.

Too much water can cause root rot which can kill the plant. You also need to be careful not to allow water to sit on the plant after watering as this can cause rot too.

If the leaves start to turn brown and dry, that is an indication that your plant is not getting enough water. If this occurs include an extra weekly spray during hot spells, but remember to hold back on watering again once it cools down to prevent overwatering.

If your plant is suffering from significant dehydration the leaves will show signs of curling excessively upwards. If this happens the best solution is to submerge the whole plant in water for a period of around 2 hours to revive it. Again, it is crucial that you dry the plant off fully after soaking it to prevent pools of water causing rot.

 

Temperature

One of the major reasons that I find this plant to be easy to handle is how resistant it is. You could literally take the plant and put it in extreme heat, or allow it to frost over for a little while, and the Tillandsia Aeranthos would still just be completely okay with it!

Of course, please do not go around putting your plant in the freezer for days because it is not what you want to be doing when you give your plant the care it needs.

While it isn’t ideal over extensive periods of time, however, the plant could survive the harshest of the climatic conditions for a short span if such a situation became unavoidable—this makes the Aeranthos one of the few tillandsia species that can survive winter outdoors.

Ideally, the Tillandsia Aeranthos likes night temperatures of 50-53℉ (10-12℃) consistently throughout the day. During the day, the plant will thrive between 68-86℉ (20-30℃) during summers, while in winters, 59℉ (15℃) would be just about perfect for it.

 

Humidity 

The Tillandsia Aeranthos plant is not one that demands too much moisture in the air. In fact, the plant is adapted to survive through extremely dry conditions, and even drought periods, if it comes down to that.

For instance, if the humidity of the surrounding air is too high, the Tillandsia Aeranthos may be susceptible to actually being affected negatively.

High humidity is one of the few things that the Tillandsia Aeranthos is not cut out for bearing easily, and the plant also requires good aeration. Ideally, low to medium humidity would be the perfect condition for the growth of this plant. 

 

Air circulation

Air plants thrive naturally in locations where airflow is good and water is often scarce. You should try to replicate this as best you can in the home or office environment.

Placing your plant near an open window is a good idea. This will provide good air circulation and will not cause your Tillandsia Aeranthos problems even when the temperature drops.

For as long as you are comfortable with the window open, your plant will feel the same.

Good air circulation will provide your Tillandsia Aeranthos with the carbon dioxide it needs as well as helping to prevent moisture collecting and causing it to rot. An ideal location will allow your plant to dry unaided within 4 hours of being watered.

Be careful not to place your plant to close to an HVAC system as this could cause it to dry out too quickly.

If you find it drying out too quickly, take a look at its environment and consider moving it to somewhere away from this kind of unnatural airflow.

 

Fertilizer

Once again, the Tillandsia Aeranthos is not the kind of plant that needs to be fertilized frequently.

Soluble fertilizers are available which have been specifically developed for air plants species. These can be mixed with water and applied once a month by spraying.

Again, when it comes to fertilizing Tillandsia Aeranthos, it’s better to use too little than too much. Over fertilizing can scorch your plant so use fertilizer sparingly and increase the amount gradually until you find the perfect level.

Using a plant mister or a spray bottle to spray fertilizers onto your Tillandsia Aeranthos would be the easiest and fastest way to get the job done. The frequency of fertilizing your plants needs to be slightly higher during summers than in winters.

Pro tip— Fertilizing, say a couple of times a month should work during summer, while in winter you can just do it once a month. 

 

Pruning

Most plants require pruning to blossom properly. Air plants, despite being low-maintenance, require periodic pruning to get rid of dead leaves, browning leaf tips and broken leaves. 

  • You may notice dead leaves at the base of the plant, you can gently pluck them out. 
  • With infrequent watering or less water, your plant will end up with brown leaf tips, use a pair of scissors to trim these parts.
  • The broken leaves can be trimmed to maintain the beauty of the plant. 

 
 

Growth

The Tillandsia Aeranthos is a flowering plant but it can be quite discouraging to see the plant barely grow an inch in the first one or two years of its life.

But, this is no reason to give up because air plants, in general, are very slow-growing plants, and it is actually completely normal for these plants to grow at such a painstaking pace.

Eventually, though, the plant will come to full bloom and when it does, the flowers and the silver-green leaves will be all the more rewarding!
 

Propagation 

Propagating the Tillandsia Aeranthos can be done via seeds of the plant, but that is a lengthy process that might take anywhere between two to four years. So you could always use pups or offshoots to propagate the plant. 
 

Propagation from pups

For this, you first have to remove the plant from the mounting board, and after hydrating them in a bowl of water, gently use your fingers to separate the leaves and locate the pups.

Once the pups have been removed from the parent plant and left in a bowl of water for some time, the pups will be ready to be mounted!

You could wire them to the same substrate as the parent plant, or use a fresh substrate if there is a space crunch. The pups themselves need to be exposed to adequate brightness and they need to be misted often, say, once a day should be good. 

 

Seed propagation

If you want to propagate using seeds, you’ll need to wait until the flowers have died and dried out. Once the seed pods open up, you’ll need to collect the small brown seeds which are at the end of the wispy white tails.  There is no need to keep the tails. These are used in its natural habitat for the seeds to catch the wind and find a suitable place to grow.  Obtaining the seeds to propagate at home relies on removing just the brown seeds.

The seeds must then be soaked. Place them in a container of water. You don’t need much water, just enough to cover the seeds. 

If you want, you can place a lid on the container to give the seeds a heat boost, but make sure you remove it every few days to provide fresh air.

Within a few weeks, you should see green shoots appear as the seeds begin to germinate. They are now ready to be moved to their substrate.

A cheesecloth-like fabric or Velcro is the ideal substrate as they will provide the plants with something to cling to as they grow and hold sufficient moisture without becoming too wet.

 

Common Problems with Tillandsia Aeranthos

The chief problem that I have personally encountered and I have witnessed others struggle with, is related to the watering of the plant.

Overwatering it can cause rotting, underwatering it will cause serious issues with the health of the plant.

In fact, if you don’t get your watering schedule right, you might get your plants to wither and die. So, if you find your plant looking sickly or unwell in spite of following the instructions, review your watering schedule and align it with what your plant needs!

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Tillandsia Aeranthos

 

Does Tillandsia Aeranthos die easily?

Air plants are epiphytic in nature and do not die easily unless there is an overwatering problem. This can be avoided if you shake your plant gently after spraying it with water or soaking it in water to avoid root rot. You need to make sure your plant is dry within 3 hours.

 

Why are the tips of my Tillandsia aeranthos turning brown?

This usually happens due to underwatering. Just soak it in water for 10 minutes and shake off excess water and leave it to dry. This should resolve your issue. However, if your plant has been overwatered, it is most likely your plant is going to rot and die. 

 

What does an overwatered Tillandsia aeranthos look like?

While underwatering is manageable, overwatering is not. It is the most common reason why air plants die. Signs of overwatering include the bases turning dark, leaving falling, mushy roots and yellow leaves. Take immediate action to prevent further damage to your plant due to over watering. Place your plant under the sun and shake off excess water. 
 

Conclusion

The Tillandsia Aeranthos is one of the simplest plants to look after and grow at home, and it is also one of the most aesthetically pleasing.

It is definitely going to lend that sombre yet interesting and eye-catching aura to the green corner in your home! If you are considering going for the Tillandsia Aeranthos and if you are still reading, consider this to be a sign to get the plant and make it a part of your family! 

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