Apartment plants

Tillanzia - Tillandsia

The Tillandsia

The tillandsia genus includes hundreds of species, bromeliads originating in South America; the most commonly cultivated species as a houseplant is Tillandsia cyanea; it is a small plant, which produces a thick rosette of rigid, arched, dark green leaves; from the center of the rosette of leaves an erect inflorescence is produced, which rises above the leaves, constituted by a sort of spatula of pink bracts, among which small purple flowers bloom in spring and summer. It is an exotic plant, but very common in apartment cultivation, also due to the fact that it does not need excessive care.
As with most bromeliads, also the tillandsia cyanea in nature is an epiphytic plant: its root system does not sink into the ground, but into the mixture of decomposing leaves that lurks in the cracks and fissures of the branches of the high trees of the rainforest. From this position tillandsie they draw what they need to survive from the air and rains.

How to cultivate tillancy

To grow these plants in a place similar to rain forests, we will plant the plants in small containers, containing bits of peat and bark, sphagnum, or other materials that make the soil soft and incoherent; generally they do not need fertilizing, but they do not suffer if we provide them with the same water we supply to the other plants in the apartment, so they can easily be fertilized every 10-12 days, with fertilizer for flowering plants. Generally these plants love a very high environmental humidity, but they fear the excess of water in the soil; when we water our own tillandsie we can also only periodically moisten the growing medium, avoiding to leave the roots to soak in water or the moist soil for a long time; to supply the plant with the water it needs periodically, we fill the glass made up of the rosette of leaves, using clean water, before fertilizers. Especially in hot weather, or when the heating system is active in the home, remember to increase the humidity around the plant; we can do this by frequently vaporizing the foliage, or by placing the vase in a large saucer, raised with clay: at the bottom of the saucer we will constantly leave water, which will slowly evaporate, increasing the environmental humidity.

The life of bromeliads

This kind of plants tend to have a fairly short life: as soon as all the flowers have blossomed the inflorescence formed by the colored bracts tends to discolor and the plant perishes; at the same time we will be able to see that new shoots are being developed around the plant in transition, which will become new small plants in a few months. These plants can be left where they are, so as to form clumps of seedlings over the years, or they can be divided and arranged into individual containers.
The life cycle of a tillance cultivated in an apartment can usually last even a few years, so let's not be surprised if the inflorescence always seems the same and the plant does not seem to develop.

Tillanzia - Tillandsia: The strangest tillandsie

hundreds of plants belong to this genus; most of these develop completely without a root system, filtering the moisture they need from the air.
These tillandsias are generally completely covered by scales that make the foliage gray, or blue; they are plants very well adapted to water imbalances, which can survive for years without water, in a sort of hibernation, and then begin to develop again as soon as environmental humidity returns to be favorable. Due to this peculiarity they are unfortunately often used as "dead" decorations in vase compositions or small nursery statues, where they are often glued. Let us remember that even in these cases we are dealing with live plants, despite having no root system; if we want them to survive we will sometimes have to remember to spray them with fresh, clean water. Generally these tillancies tend to develop better in cool and damp places, even though they endure drought and high temperatures: if we want to see them grow it is better to vaporize them more frequently than the temperature rises. As we said, there are hundreds of species of tillandsias, with linear foliage, in rosettes, colored, and also some species that develop as if they were tufts of torn grass, stacked without an apparent order. The most famous is Tillandsia usneoides, easily found in many nurseries.