Tillandsia

Tillandsias are attractive and fascinating members of the pineapple family (Bromeliaceae). Their native habitat is the southern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. They are found growing on rocks and trees without soil. They receive all of their water and nutrients through the fuzzy gray scales on their leaves called trichomes. These scales can be quite developed (fuzzy) or microscopic on others (green smooth leaved). Nutrients in nature are provided by dust, decaying leaves and insect matter. Their wire-like roots are void of root hairs and are used for anchoring only.

Tillandsias have a cycle of growth beginning with a single plant which grows to maturity (different sizes for different species). When the plant reaches maturity it blooms in its season, with spikes lasting from several weeks to many months. The color of the bloom depends on the species. When the bloom is finished, new plants (pups, offshoots, babies) grow out of the base of the parent plant. The new plants then grow up around the parent as it slowly dies off with the new plants growing to maturity and completing the bloom cycle in one to several years, depending on the species and cultural conditions. When the plant isn't blooming it is growing new plants. Watching these offshoots grow without soil is the real satisfaction in growing Tillandsias and the blooms are the final reward.

Tillandsias can be mounted on shells, burls, rocks, vines, ceramic pieces or almost anything else. Most people use an adhesive to mount small plants. The most common adhesive is E-6000.