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The genus Tillandsia (Tillandsia) belongs to the bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae) and is the largest of the more than 550 species of pineapples. Tillandsia are at home throughout South America and inhabit the most diverse tropical and subtropical habitats from rainforest to high steppe (over 4,000 meters) to the Atacama Desert. Attention: Because of the massive removal of the plants from nature for the export some species have disappeared, you should make sure to buy only breeding specimens!

Appearance and growth

Most Tillandsien grow as Aufsitzerpflanzen (Epiphyten) on trees, rocks and cactuses. They only form adherent roots, but no fine roots. Water and nutrients absorb these so-called gray or white Tillandsias on their silvery suction scales on the leaves exclusively from air (dust) and rain. Some species form with their leaves leaves collecting funnel for water. Some Tillandsia species (Green Tillandsia) are also rooted in the soil. The narrow leaves usually form a rosette, more rarely, the leaves of Tillandsie are branched and arranged spirally. The heyday of Tillandsie extends from February to October, depending on the species. In the Tillandsia flower especially the brightly colored, long-lasting bracts fall into the eye, where the flowers form. Tillandsia may take several years to flower first.

colored bract Tillandsie

Tillandsia stand out by their bizarre growth through their attractive bracts

Location and substrate

Gray Tillandsia should be very bright and sunny. Since the exotics are used to cool night temperatures in their homeland, some species can spend the summer outdoors in this country. Choose a partially shaded, windy place, for example the canopy of a tree, along a wall or on a trellis. Green Tillandsia likes it bright, warm and very humid, but does not have to stand directly at the window. Attention: With them, the temperature must not fall below 15 to 18 degrees Celsius! Gray Tillandsien is kept in winter at 10 to 15 degrees Celsius, green Tillandsien as well as in summer.


Epiphytic Tillandsiae need no substrate, but only an object to which they can cling, such as wood or bark pieces, low-limestone stones, shells or a simple wire. To support the rooting, the plants are tied or glued to the object. Attention: When gluing do not use hot glue, because this damages the plant! Clear silicone from the building materials trade or superglue are better suited. If you do not want to stick, but want to bind, this is best done with thin strips of nylon pantyhose. The fabric is rot proof, elastic and almost invisible. If the Tillandsie has found its own hold after some time, you can remove the "Garter" again. Various gray Tillandsien with the same location requirements can be arranged to charming arrangements. For ground-rooting Tillandsia, a mixture of peat moss, bark and coarse sand, similar to orchid soil, is suitable for planting.

Tillandsia for wall greening

When arranging Tillandsien the creativity knows no bounds

care Tips

Gray Tillandsia should be sprayed daily with low-calorie (softened) water. Non-carbonated mineral water is also recommended. In winter, reduce spraying to two to three times a week. If you do not want to spray, you can treat the Tillandsien once a week to a dip. When moisture hits the Tillandsia leaf, it turns green. The drier the plant, the whiter it gets. From April onwards, mix a little liquid fertilizer for orchids once a month into the spray water. Green Tillandsiae require a high humidity, so you should always keep slightly moist. The substrate of the green Tillandsia should not dry out. They also get flower fertilizers in half concentration once a month. Green Tillandsia are repotted every three years or so.

Important species and varieties

  • Gray Tillandsia: Tillandsia aeranthos ("Air Blossom") is the classic among the Gray Tillandsia. It is about 15 inches wide and has silvery, tapered leaves. Its large flower appears in dark purple to red.
  • Tillandsia fuchsii has narrower and more pointed leaves than Tillandsia aeranthos. Its tubular flowers appear on long red bracts between June and August.
  • Tillandsia usneoides, also known as "Spanish moss", grows much like a bearded lichen. Her thin, long shoots hang from the trees like long, thick hair. The flower is rather inconspicuous.

Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)

Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is often used for decorative purposes

  • Green Tillandsia: The striking inflorescence of Tillandsia cyanea is densely covered with pink and violet-colored bracts, between which appear successively large red and violet-blue flowers. It is one of the most popular pot Tillandsien.
  • Tillandsia lindenii shows long, curved leaves with reddish brown stripes and forms dark blue flowers on long, pink bracts in autumn.
  • Tillandsia flabellata grows to 25 centimeters tall and shows red tubular flowers between February and March.


The propagation of Tillandsien takes place by offshoot, so-called "Kindel", which forms the plant itself. These are simply separated from the mother plant (preferably cracked or broken) and, depending on the species, pinned to new soil or placed in sandy soil. The mother plant usually enters after the formation of offshoots.

Diseases and pests

Occasionally Tillandsien are attacked by aphids. It is best to combat this by thoroughly washing the plant. If the Tillandsie is too moist, rot can occur.

Video Board: Easy To Grow Air Plants / My Air Plant Tillandsia Collection care tips and tricks for happy Plants.

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