Archive for the ‘Air Plants’ Category

Guzmania lingulata

Common name: Scarlet Star, Droophead Tufted Airplant

Family: Bromeliaceae

Synonyoums: Guzmania peacockii
Nidularium splendens
Tillandsia clavata
Tillandsia lingulata

Guzmania lingulata

Guzmania lingulata

Distribution and habitat: Guzmania lingulata is an evergreen perennial plant, native to tropical wet and humid forest from Central and South America. Some of Guzmania lingulata grow terrestrially, but most of them are epiphyte in their natural habitat, growing on trees and rocks. These epiphytes do not cause any damage to their host, as their roots act primarily as an anchor rather than an organ which extract water and nutrients from the host.

Guzmania lingulata only bloom a single time. As the plants grow by adding new leaves from the center, it becomes impossible to continue growth after flowering since the inflorescence blocks new leaf growth. The plants direct their energy into growing new vegetative offsets (pups) from growing buds at the base of the leaves.

Description: Guzmania lingulata is a quite a variable species; individual specimens differ considerably in some respects. Characteristic of the species are smooth green leaves 45cm (18 inch) long and 2cm (0.8 inch) wide, with a flower stalk up to 30cm (12 inch) long bearing small yellow flowers in the centre of a cup-shaped or funnel-shaped flower head of 4cm (1.5 inch) long crimson bracts.

The leaves come together to form a star shape in the middle. Perhaps Guzmania lingulata is most famous for its brilliant pink or red flower bracts, but also can be found in shades of yellow and orange depending on the variety. What appears to be the flower on the plant is actually a grouping of modified leaves, called bracts. They are green at the beginning and little by little they start to colour in bright colours depending on their variety. These bracts can last for about 5 months. The true flowers do not rise above the bracts, having a brief couple of days blooming period. Once the true flowering has taken place, the plant begin to wither and dies, but before dying it will produce offsets that grow at the base of the plant. Guzmania lingulata reaches its maturity in about 3 or 4 years, period of time after that it will to be able to flower.

Guzmania lingulata grows about 30cm (12 inch) high and 45cm (18 inch) wide.

Houseplant care: Cut away spent inflorescence to look tidy and divert the plant’s energy to producing more plantlets. If necessary, trim back the leaves of the parent plant to allow freer growth of their pups.

Light: Guzmania lingulata like bright filtered light. They will not flower if they are too far from a window.

Temperature: Give these plants temperatures above 18°C (64°F) with high humidity. Stand the pots on trays of damp pebbles and mist-spray the foliage every day.

Be especially careful during the winter not to let Guzmania lingulata become too cold and dry. To increase humidity place the Guzmania lingulata near other plants or in parts of the house that are naturally more humid such as the bathroom or kitchen.

Water: Water moderately and mist regularly in summer. Outside the flowering period the rosette should be kept filled with water. Change water every 3 to 4 weeks to keep it from rotting. Use soft water.

Never put water in the bracts or flowering portion of the plant. It will shorten the life of the flower.

Fertilising: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks not only to the potting mixture but over the foliage and into the central cup.

Potting and repotting: Use the potting mixture recommended for bromeliads. Since these plants have little root, 7-10cm (3-4 inch) pots should be large enough. If a plant needs more room, move it into a pot at least one size larger in spring.

Note that Guzmania lingulata are usually top heavy, so be sure to anchor the pot well with heavy rock on the bottom or use a heavy pot.

Bark Mounted: Because they are epiphytes, Guzmania lingulata do not require soil to grow and sometimes is refereed as a air plant. When cultivated as an epiphyte the plants are mounted on a piece of bark or a branch (e.g. Taxus or Thuja) and the roots are wrapped in Sphagnum moss. When grown as an epiphyte misting daily usually is sufficient. Use soft water and mist the plant in the early morning if it possible. Keep the center of the plant filled with water. Empty the center or cup of the plant every couple of weeks and replace the old, stale water with fresh water.
Keep the plant barely moist (no misting) in winter.

Garden Culture: Guzmania lingulata prefer a sunny to half-shady situation on peat and sand moist soil.  They are hardy to hardiness zone 10. In summer the plants prefer protection from hot midday sun. Water regularly. Keep the center of the plant filled with water but allow the soil to dry out between each wetting. Their centers are kept full of water. They grow best in high humidity but tolerate drier air. Do not overwater them. Fertilizing helps them grow bigger, mature faster, and produce larger inflorescences.

Propagation: In spring cut offsets from the parent, but not before the offsets are 8cm (3 inch) long. Insert each offset in a 5-6cm (2-2.5 inch) pot of bromeliads mixture, keep it bright filtered light and water it moderately. When the offset is well rooted (in about six months) move it into a pot one size larger and treat it as a mature Guzmania lingulata.

These plantlets mature and bloom within a few years.

Brown patches on the leaves may be caused by direct exposure to sun.

Brown tips on the leaves usually indicate insufficient humidity in the air.

In their natural habitat, most Guzmania plants grow on the branches of other trees, not in soil, and they are prone to root rot.

The main pests of this bromeliads are scale and mealy bugs. Scale will look like little round dots covering the top or bottom of the leaves. Mealy bug will look like a white cottony patch.
Treatment: For small outbreaks, these can both be treated by wiping over them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. For more wide spread infestations, try mixing a little mild dishwashing detergent or baby shampoo with water and spraying the infected plants. The soap will coat and suffocate the insects. It is recommended to rinse the plants off with clean water to make sure the pores on the leaves are open so the plant can breathe. DO NOT use heavy oil based insecticides as these are likely to choke the plant as well.

Notes: Bromeliads can be forced to flower by exposing it to ethylene gas that can be emitted from a ripen apple. Place the plant inside a clear plastic bag with a ripe apple for two to three days. Depending on the type of plant, flowering will begin in six to fourteen weeks.

Recommended varieties:
Guzmania lingulata cardinalis is a little larger than the species plant and has bracts of an even stronger red.

Guzmania lingulata minor is growing less than 30cm (12 inch) tall and has leaves only about 10cm (4 inch) long and a cup-shaped flower head on a short, stumpy stem carrying variably coloured bracts.

Availability: Guzmania lingulata is usually sold at the beginning of its flowing period in mid summer to early fall and the flower will last for many months.

Uses: Guzmania lingulata are used very successfully in indoor commercial situations such as shopping malls and office buildings. They add dazzling color and a tropical feel to any room. Get one for the office, too, and make a bold statement. It grows well under the fluorescent light of offices and is wonderfully stunning tabletop plant..

Grown outdoors, it will be most ideal in front-of-the-border grouping in garden beds or borders, as well as a landscaping plant for rock gardens.

Guzmania lingulata can be grown for cut flowers, used in live floral arrangements or to enliven shaded patios and gardens during the warmer months. It can be grown as an epiphyte mounted on a piece of bark or a branch.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – rosette
Height: 30-45cm (12-18 inch)
Spacing: 38-45 cm (15-18 inch)

Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 27°C (64-81°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Guzmania lingulata cardinalisGuzmania lingulata minor









Air Plants, Bromeliads, Flowering Plants, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , ,

Tillandsia usneoides

Common Names: Old Man’s Whiskers, Spanish Moss, Tillandsia Spanish Moss, Grey Beard

Family: Bromeliaceae

Tillandsia usneoides

Tillandsia usneoides

Distribution and habitat: Tillandsia usneoides is a flowering plant that grows upon larger trees, commonly the Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) or Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) in the south-eastern United States. It grows hanging from tree branches in full sun or partial shade. Its natural range is from Virginia Beach, Virginia in the south-eastern United States to Argentina, growing wherever the climate is warm enough and has a relatively high average humidity. It has been introduced to similar locations around the world, including Hawaii and Australia.
While it rarely kills the trees, it lowers their growth rate by reducing the amount of light to a tree’s own leaves. It also increases wind resistance, which can be fatal to the host tree in a hurricane. In the southern United States, the plant seems to show a preference of growth on Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) or Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) because of these trees’ high rates of foliar mineral leaching (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus) providing an abundant supply of nutrients to the plant, but it can also colonize other tree species such as Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), crepe-myrtles (Lagerstroemia spp.), other oaks and even pines.

Description: Tillandsia usneoides is an epiphyte which absorbs nutrients (especially calcium) and water from the air and rainfall.
The plant consists of a slender stem bearing alternate thin, curved or curly, heavily scaled leaves 2–6cm (0.79–2.4 inch) long and 1mm (0.039 inch) broad, that grow vegetatively in chain-like fashion (pendant) to form hanging structures up to 6m (240 inch) in length. The tread-like stems covered with grey scales are in reality, minute, scaly leaves. The plant has no aerial roots  and its flowers are tiny and inconspicuous. The tiny, pale green flowers that appears in the leaf axil of wild Tillandsia usneoides, rarely bloom on plants grown indoors. The flowers, with a musk fragrance, appear in the warmer months.

Proper care:
Light: Tillandsia usneoides used as house plants do best in bright filtered light (a translucent blind is a useful filter).

Temperature: Tillandsia usneoides will grow actively through the year if the temperature in kept above 15°C (59°F); they cannot tolerate temperature below 13°C (55°F).

Mist-spray Tillandsia usneoides daily.

Watering: Watering is essential for good growth, a soaking every day or two in summer and fortnightly in winter will keep the plant at peak condition. Submerge the plant along with its base in water for 10 minutes.

Avoid hot or dry environments and full sunlight unless sprinkler systems are installed or regular watering is available. Tillandsia usneoides will tolerate full sun in moister climates; in arid climates it must be sheltered.

Fertilising: Occasional fertiliser in water will speed up the growth.

Potting and repotting: Tillandsia usneoides is not actually use as a potted plant being rootless.

Propagation: Wild Tillandsia usneoides propagates both by seed and vegetatively by fragments that blow on the wind and stick to tree limbs, or are carried by birds as nesting material.
To propagate Tillandsia usneoides detach a few stems and wire them to a piece of cork or bark.

Problems: Tillandsia usneoides does not suffer from diseases or pests other that birds can use the plant as nesting material in spring.

Uses: In the wild this unusual, virtually rootless plant hangs from trees and rocks in long, tangled festoons. Tillandsia usneoides for this reason is not actually use as a potted plant. Instead, many indoor gardeners attach a few sections of the tangled mass to a 5cm (2 inch) square piece of cork or bark, tying the fine stem on loosely with plastic coated or copper wire and hanging the cork on a hook.

It can also be trained around garden decorations and it looks pretty growing on the branches of a silver birch tree. It can also be used to accompany other bromeliads or epiphytic orchids grown on a tree fern or in tree branches.


Foliage – green
Shape – Trailing
Height: 6m (240 inch)

Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 16°C (55-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 7a-11

Tillandsia usneoides






Air Plants , , , ,

Tillandsia Ionantha

Common Names: Living Airplant

Small compact species to 8cm, clustering habit, flowers appear in warmest months on red foliage, hardy, great indoors.

Tillandsia Ionantha

Tillandsia Ionantha

Tillandsias – Nature true wonders, able to take all water and food through their leaves these remarkable plants are masters at adaptation, the lazy gardeners ideal companion.

Location: Outdoor in partly shaded areas, in cold climates in a dry position, in warmer areas almost anywhere.  Silver varieties can take more sunlight.

Planting: Tillandsias can be attached to objects with the use of plastic coated wire, tie wire, hot melt glue or any non toxic glues onto any object. The plant feeds through its leaves not roots.

Watering: Tillandsias require regular;ar watering as they have no access to water like normal plants and rely only on the water stored in their leaves. Water can be applied by hose, watering can, mist spray bottle or dunking. A good soaking is required. In hot or dry areas they can be watered up to twice a week and in cooler, more moist environments every one to three weeks. Tillandsias should be allowed to almost dry out between waterings. A weak dose of fertilizer can be added to water in summer mounts.

Flowering: Flowers appear once plant is mature, this can take 4 to 20 years depending on variety, once flowered new plants will appear which will flower once the new plants are mature.

Air Plants ,

Neoregelia Lilliputiana

Common Names: Vase Plant, Mini Neo’s

Miniature species fully grown at 8cm. Fast growing small blue flowers appear when mature. Hardy, great indoors or outdoors.

Neoregelia Lilliputiana

Neoregelia Lilliputiana

Neoregelia Lilliputiana are a hardy group of bromeliads used for planting on trees and walls. Offsets generally appear on long runners allowing plants to spread rapidly or grow over objects. Neoregelia Lilliputiana can grow from 8cm across to 20cm across, flowers appear from the central vase and are mostly blue.

Location: Neoregelia Lilliputiana are great in any sunny or partially shaded positions, the more sun the brighter the colours, indoor the more light the better. In very cold climates some cover will improve the growth.

Planting: Neoregelia Lilliputiana can be grown on or in almost anything. The do just as well in a pot as planted on a branch, many varieties can also grow in the garden. When planted without soil some moss can be packed around the plant base to encourage roots to start. Water should be kept in the centre of plants over the warmer months and soil well watered but allowed to be touch dry between waterings. Weak doses of fertilizer will improve growth but may reduce colours if used to often.

Flowering: All bromeliads are able to flower once they are mature unless kept to dark. Flowering is triggered by the presence of composting gasses, in clean environments this may not be present so flowering may not occur. Adding liquid from rotting fruit will allow flowering to occur.

Air Plants , ,