Tillandsia stricta plants are air plants that come from the Bromeliaceae family. They are a popular choice because of how versatile they are. This plant’s purple bloom makes the Tillandsia species a stunning addition to your household.
These air plants come in several varieties, meaning you can choose from different looks based on the current aesthetics of your home. Some air plant varieties have stiff leaves, while others have softer leaves. Moreover, the Tillandsia stricta also comes in different colors.
The plant can grow purple, red, pink, or bright blue flowers. Interestingly enough, most plants bloom flowers that only last for a day. However, the actual flower bracts stay attractive for many weeks.
Stricta Air Plant Care
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If you are looking for low-maintenance plants to add to your collection, Tillandsia stricta plants are perfect. They can grow without any soil; all you have to do is ensure that they have good air circulation and the correct watering schedule.
Soon, you will notice your plant growing beautiful blooms. However, remember that this will only happen when the plant’s life cycle is completed, and it is fully mature, which may take a couple of years.
When it comes to Tillandsia stricta care, remember that it does not need any soil to grow. Instead, this plant can be grown indoors and thrives on fresh air, light, and water.
These plants do not have any roots that require soil.
When its roots start to grow, they attach to the natural concave curve of trees.
Hence, you do not have to worry about using gritty, moist, or well-drained potting soil. Moreover, you can take care of this plant and not get your hands dirty in the process, making it perfect for growing with your kids as well.
Air plants thrive in bright light. However, this needs to be indirect light. The plant cannot be placed in the direct sun every day, but it can tolerate it for small amounts of time. For example, early morning direct sun is good for the plant.
Remember that direct sun can cause the plant’s leaves to burn, creating brown marks on its foliage.
Overall, the plant should only receive filtered light. This means placing it in front of a window that has curtains to block the harsh light.
You can also grow these plants in a dark room with some spectrum of artificial light or fluorescent tubes. This is a wonderful option for homeowners living in apartments that do not receive too much sunlight.
It is recommended for the plant to be placed 6 to 35 inches above the full spectrum artificial light- air plants can tolerate this light for a maximum of twelve hours per day.
However, you can also grow these plants outdoors if you wish. The key is to look for a spot that receives indirect sunlight and good airflow. However, bright filtered light outdoors can only be provided to the plant for a few hours during the day.
One important Tillandsia stricta care tip is to prevent keeping the plant in the dark during daylight hours. Providing it with some light is an important part of its growth process.
Air plants grow when they are submerged in lukewarm bottled water or filtered water. After this, the plant dries upside down for 3 to 4 hours. Even though these plants are hardy plants, they thrive in water.
Air plants do not absorb moisture and nutrients through their roots. Instead, they do this through their leaves, making them different from other plants.
The leaves have little sponges, which are actually trichomes, that are used for absorption purposes. When grown in the wild, these plants use water from rain that washes each leaf or the water that collects around the plant.
If you are growing air plants indoors, we recommend soaking them in distilled water once or twice a week. If you have a dry environment, you should soak the plant in water more often.
All you have to do is take the plant out of its container and then submerge it in a pot of water for a couple of hours.
Once done, gently shake the plant and allow it to dry completely before replacing it in its original pot.
If your plant has grown a purple bloom, do not submerge the flower in water.
If you are using tap water, let it stand for a few hours so the chlorine can dissipate. Moreover, you must ensure that the water is not too cold. Room temperature water is perfect for air plants. You can also use pond water, aquarium water, softened water, or standing water as long as it is clean.
When drying your plant, place it in an area that has good air circulation, fresh air, and bright light. However, it should not be placed under direct sunlight.
Moreover, your plant only needs to be placed in the open for a very short period. If it gets too dry, it will not be able to absorb sufficient water to meet its hydration requirements.
In case you do not have time to submerge the plant in water and risk underwatering it, you can also use a spray misting technique to wet the leaves of the plant. This can be done in between submersion sessions to ensure that the plant does not get dry.
One of the best air plant care tips is to water it in the morning rather than waiting for nighttime.
This is because these air plants use crassulacean acid metabolism photosynthesis- this is a process in which they absorb carbon dioxide from the surrounding atmosphere during the night. This is different from other plants that absorb carbon dioxide during the day.
Because of this, if the plant remains wet at night, it will have a hard time breathing and will eventually suffocate and die.
Air plants thrive in temperatures between 10 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It is vital that during the night, your plant is kept in an area where temperatures do not fall below 4 degrees, particularly if you have just submerged it in water.
If the air plant is kept in a sheltered area and its leaves are completely dry, it can tolerate low temperatures for a couple of hours without permanent damage.
Usually, these plants do not like cold, dry climates, and they cannot survive frost.
Humidity refers to the amount of moisture or dampness found in the air. Air plants thrive in moderate to low humidity levels that fall between 40 to 50 percent.
Even though the plant likes being submerged in water, it must be fully dry inbetween submerging or spraying.
A balance needs to be established so that the plants do not stay wet for long periods of time, but they should get dry enough that they start to rot and become vulnerable to diseases.
All you have to do is dry the plant for a couple of hours- not more and not less.
Moreover, air plants require good aeration, which means that air should be able to move through the plant. Air circulation is extremely important for the plant’s life cycle.
However, this does not mean that you should place your air plant in front of a heater or air conditioner, as this will only kill your precious plant.
We recommend moving the air plant outdoors into a shaded area for a couple of hours, especially in the early summer months. You will find that the plant thrives when provided with fresh air.
Air Plant Fertilizer
Erect Tillandsia plants do not require too much fertilization- you can get away with fertilizing the plant once a month while it is actively growing. A liquid fertilizer that is diluted and used at 1/4th of its strength works best for air plants.
As long as you provide these plants with fresh air, light, and water, they do not require too much attention or care.
Are you wondering how a plant that is not planted in the soil can be fertilized?
The key is to use a water-soluble fertilizer and use it in the water that is being used to mist spray or submerge the plant. However, remember to read the instructions on the packet label and dilute the fertilizer so that it is not used at full strength.
When used in water, the fertilizer gets absorbed into the leaves of the plant.
However, do not fertilize air plants more than once a month. Overfertilization will burn its leaves and may be fatal for the plant. Moreover, high-nitrogen fertilizers must be avoided as they can prevent flowers from growing on the plant.
We recommend looking for a Bromeliad fertilizer that can be added to your spray bottle. Bromeliads include more than 3000 species in their plant family- including air plants.
Keep in mind that if you are using aquarium water or pond water, fertilizing your air plant is not important. This is because these two already contain natural fertilizer.
You can propagate air plants in a number of ways.
Once a mature air plant blooms, it will produce pops or start producing offsets at its base. If you do not propagate it, it will grow into a mother plant.
When you separate air plants, new air plants can be created- this is more economical and convenient than buying these plants from a nursery.
Here is how to propagate an air plant from offsets:
Once your plant has matured and bloomed, it will produce pups
The pups can be separated from the parent plant to create new plants
Before you remove the pups, they should grow to the size of the mother plant
We recommend propagating the plants in the morning hours
Start by removing the mother plant from its container
Put it in some water for a couple of hours
Then, place it on a dry surface
Carefully feel your way through the leaves to find the pups at the base of the plant
With the help of your fingers, pull apart the pups using a twisting motion
Put each pup in a water bowl as you separate them so they can hydrate
Remount the air plant
Take new containers and mount the pups in them
Mist these pups with a spray for the initial few weeks first thing in the morning
We do not recommend spraying the air plant at night- this is because the plant will not be able to breathe at night if it is soaked or covered in water.
The air plant is an evergreen plant that grows to 10 cm in width and 20 cm in height. These come in a number of different varieties- Tillandsia stricta hard-leaf plants are also very common.
Once the plant matures, it grows beautiful flowers with touches of blue and red. These flowers usually grow in the early summer. They start upright and can be grown in vertical gardens, but as they grow longer, they will start to droop and become heavier.
Remember to appreciate the beauty of the flowers since they only last for a day or two. They usually grow 1.5 to 2cm long.
The air plant is known for its clumping habit- it forms a mound or thicket while growing and grows from the center, keeping a compact shape throughout its growth cycle.
You will find frost-like scales all over the leaves of the air plant- these are known as trichomes, and they play the role of the roots by absorbing nutrients and water.
If you want the plant to grow roots, you can use a fishing line to anchor it to a host. You can also use a copper wire and anchor the plant to a cork bark- it all depends on the available materials you have and how you are growing the air plant.
Since the air plant does not grow in any soil, you do not need to grow it in a traditional pot. Instead, you can be as innovative as you want.
You can also grow your plant as an epiphyte on any substance that is supporting it.
This means that the air plant can be grown in glass globes, sea shells, pieces of driftwood, and any other decorative material you have lying around the house. You can also hang these plants from a wire frame on top of your bed or place them on a bookshelf.
Another great idea is to position the air plant in between strategic spots in your indoor garden. These plants look beautiful in candle holders, metal decoration items, and even bird cages that are kept for aesthetic purposes.
If you are feeling creative, you can also make your own shape using strips of plastic or wood. This will create a wonderfully unique look that will attract all your guests.
All you have to do is ensure that the air plant is comfortable in the display of your choice- you do not want the plant to fall out or get destroyed randomly.
Keep in mind that not all materials are safe for air plants. This includes some forms of metal that can catch rust when the air plant is wet.
However, you can deal with this by sealing the metal piece with a clear coating bought from the hardware shop close to your residence.
Do not allow the air plant to stay in water for a long period of time, as excess water only destroys the plant. Moreover, if you put your plant in a terrarium, we recommend against putting it in sunlight as the glass can increase the intensity of heat that the plant receives.
Moving the plant around the house and finding different shady areas for it will allow it to grow faster.
Problems with the Air Plants
If you do not move the air plant around and keep them in the dark, damp spot consistently, pests will find their way to the plants. Hence, placing your plant in an area that receives fresh air and light is extremely important.
One of the most common pests that attack air plants includes mealybugs. These pests thrive by feeding on the plant’s juices, eventually killing the plant and robbing it of all nutrients.
To get rid of pests, you can use a water spray on the plant. However, if you find that the infestation does not get solved through this process, you can combine an insecticidal soap that is chemical-free into the water spray or water bath and then washes the air plant with the mixture.
If your air plant has roots, do not submerge it in water as this will result in root rot, eventually killing the plant.
You can plant your air plant in whichever kind of container you want, including a glass globe, plastic tray, or specific metal containers that are not prone to rust.
Keep in mind that most containers will not have drainage holes. Hence, when you are watering the air plant, ensure that you get rid of excess water from the base of the display or container so that it does not destroy the plant or the aesthetics of the material you are using.
Shriveling and Browning Leaves
If you find that the leaves of the air plant have become brown and started to shrivel up, it is because your plant requires more water than it is receiving.
It is vital to consistently hydrate the plant by using a mist spray on it or putting it in a water bath.
Plant Falling Apart
If your plant starts to fall apart, it is because you are overwatering it. Finding a balance between too much and too little water with the air plant takes some time, but as soon as you figure it out, your plant will start to thrive.
In this case, you need to lower the water that you are giving your plant.
We also recommend shifting the air plant outdoors for a couple of hours so that it can bathe in some fresh air and direct sunlight.
Moreover, when you water the plant, you must ensure that the center of the air plant does not get too wet. If this happens, feel free to reposition your plant in a way that would allow the water to flow naturally.
Things to Remember When Growing an Air Plant
Do not use soil to plant your air plant
Remember that the plant grows best in air
When putting the plant in a decorative piece, you must ensure that it has enough support
Place your air plant in a room with indirect light and shift it into direct sunlight for an hour each day
Submerge the plant into the water for three to four hours
The plant must be allowed to dry fully for an hour or two before being put back into its container
Do not dry the air plant too fast, as it will not absorb sufficient water this way
Mist-spraying your plant every now and then is a great idea
Do not overcomplicate an air plant’s care routine
Your plant must only be fertilized when it is actively growing
An air plant is a super unique plant that may not be found everywhere. After all, have you ever heard of a plant that only needs fresh air to grow?
The best part is that this plant can easily be maintained, making it a perfect choice for busy individuals and working parents.
As long as you provide the air plant with regular water, fresh air, and a well-lit area, it will thrive effortlessly. Remain patient to see the stunning display of blue-silver leaves and red blooms that appear on the plant once it matures!