Tillandsia is slowly becoming a trend in houseplants, and its increasing popularity doesn’t look like it will die down anytime soon.
Tillandsia is also known as Air Plants, and they are called as such because they can thrive in the air, and they require no soil at all to grow.
These air plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the species. One of the most notable among all Tillandsia species is probably the bulbosa variety, a species described by William Jackson Hooker in 1825. Tillandsia bulbosa, also known as Tillandsia bulbosa var. brasiliensis, Tillandsia bulbosa var. picta, Tillandsia erythraea, Tillandsia pumila, Platystachys erythraea, and Tillandsia bulbosa f. alba, has a unique, out-of-this-world look. They are capable of making a statement with their appearance, and they can create an exciting contrast to any plant arrangement.
The leaves of the Tillandsia bulbosa are narrow with curly edges, which gives them a tubular, straw-like shape. The leaves grow twisted and contorted, which makes the plant look like tentacles. As the plant matures, the blush displays a hint of deep purple and red before it produces flowers. The hollow, bulbous base of the plant often become homes for ant colonies, so don’t be shocked to find ants in your Tillandsia bulbosa when you plant them outside. Your plant also benefits from these ants through their detritus or waste, which serves as fertilizers to your plant.
Caring for Tillandsia bulbosa
The Tillandsia bulbosa are small Bromeliad epiphytes, which means they use their roots to attach to a substrate rather than on the ground. Because of that, you will most likely find dense masses of Tillandsia bulbosa growing in branches in open woods or low-lying forests, in mangrove thickets along coasts, and on lianas located on river shores.
Tillandsia bulbosa will thrive where it gets plenty of light, but it will not tolerate direct sunlight. Put it where it can receive filtered or indirect light. When growing your plant indoors, we recommend that you place it near a south-facing window. If your home doesn’t get the amount of light that your Tillandsia bulbosa needs to survive, you may also consider growing it under artificial light or a grow light. A grow light can provide the light that your air plant needs, especially during the dark, cold months.
You will often see a Tillandsia bulbosa sold in terrariums or pretty tall vases, but these are not the ideal environment for your plants. All air plants require plenty of fresh air and will thrive when left in the open, so avoid putting it in a container that won’t allow proper air circulation. If you want to put your Tillandsia bulbosa in a container that holds water, make sure to drain out the excess after you water your plant. Never plant it together with moss because moss holds water and will cause your plant to rot.
You can grow your Tillandsia bulbosa anywhere, including rocks, seashells, ceramic, clay pots, or driftwoods. You can also choose from various air plant containers sold online.
If it’s your first time to grown an air plant, you might be wondering how to water a plant that doesn’t grow in soil. Watering your Tillandsia bulbosa is relatively easy, and also an essential part of caring for your plant.
The water you use in watering your Tillandsia bulbosa is essential. Never use distilled water because it will be harmful to your air plant. Softened water is also not advisable because of the salt it contains. Your best choices are filtered water, bottled water, or tap water that has sat long enough for the chlorine to dissolve. You may also use water from a pond or aquarium as long as they were not overcrowded with fish or other reptiles.
If you live in humid areas and you’re growing your Tillandsia bulbosa outdoors, you may never have to water your plant. Indoors where the air is drier and hotter, you will need to water your plant more.
Tillandsia bulbosa leaves don’t have many trichomes or hairs that attract water, so it will do well if you give it a little more water than the rest of your air plants. Mist your Tillandsia bulbosa a few times a week to make sure it remains happy and thriving. Increase the frequency of watering during its growing season or when it is getting plenty of bright light. You can also soak it occasionally, but make sure that there is no excess water left on its bulbous base after soaking to avoid rotting.
Despite having no soil, there are still several ways to fertilize your Tillandsia bulbosa. You can spray it every two weeks with a specialized Tillandsia fertilizer mist like this one to give it extra nutrients. If you have a pond or an aquarium at home, you can also use the water as a natural fertilizer for your air plant. Fish water contains nitrates and other nutrients that make for perfect plant food.
There are two different species of bulbosa. The first one is the Tillandsia bulbosa guatemala, which is smaller and has darker green shade compared to the second species, the Tillandsia bulbosa belize. Both species are mesic, which means they have smoother and greener leaves with fewer trichomes and require indirect light and more water than the xeric Tillandsia varieties.
The Tillandsia bulbosa is a common air plant that you can easily find in most garden stores. If your local garden store does not carry air plants, you can find some here.
For a stress-free experience of growing Tillandsia bulbosa, we suggest that you check the product links we recommended above. These products will help you care for your air plants properly to help them stay happy and healthy. If you have any questions regarding Tillandsia bulbosa care, please don’t hesitate to ask through the comment box below.
Giixer 1000W LED Grow Light, Dual Switch & Dual Chips Full Spectrum LED
Shappy 6 Pieces Air Plant Stand Airplant Container Tillandsia Holder Stainless Steel Plant
Air Plant Fertilizing Mist
Airplants Tillandsia Bulbosa
- These are excellent plants for terrariums.
- They are hardy, and only require a weekly misting.
- They have a very unique look.