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Tillandsia Ionantha: How To Develop A Glad Little Air Plant

For those who’ve spent any time taking a look at posts from home plant content material creators, you’re most likely acquainted with the Tillandsia ionantha air plant. Often known as the blushing bride sky plant, this species of air plant is understood for its lovely pink and purple hues and beautiful pink and purple flowers.

The sky plant is an epiphyte, which means it doesn’t require any soil to develop and as a substitute grows on wooden and timber. When you have robust luck holding houseplants alive, this one needs to be a stroll within the park! All it wants is a few water and vivid mild – what may go mistaken?

The Tillandsia ionantha plant could be displayed on a bit of wooden in a terrarium or hooked up to surfaces with wire. It’s positive to change into a press release piece in your house! Let’s check out methods to hold these little air plant fellas alive so you may get artistic along with your shows.

Fast Care Information

Tillandsia ionantha mounted on a piece of bark
Tillandsia ionantha mounted on a bit of bark.
Frequent Identify Sky plant, blushing bride sky plant
Scientific Identify Tillandsia ionantha, beforehand Tillandsia erubescens
Household Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae)
Peak & Unfold 6-12 inches tall, 4-8 inches broad
Gentle Vivid oblique mild, dappled daylight
Soil None
Water Soak weekly, mist as wanted
Pests & Illnesses Aphids, mealybugs, Mexican bromeliad weevils, root rot

All About Tillandsia Ionantha

T. ionantha in a hand
T. ionantha in a hand.

The Tillandsia ionantha air plant species is a part of the bromeliad household, making it cousins to the pineapple and different spiky vegetation. Tillandsia ionantha and different bromeliads are sometimes considered unique within the US and different western nations since they’re native to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, and a few elements of South America. 

There are some species of air vegetation within the genus Tillandsia which can be native to North America as effectively. Of their native area, you will discover them clinging onto different vegetation in mountains, deserts, and forests.

Tillandsia ionantha’s foliage does certainly look a bit pineapple-like with its slender spiky look. They’re often inexperienced on the base and colourful on the factors and bloom tubular purple flowers. They’ll attain as much as 1 foot tall if grown in excellent circumstances, however they’ll possible keep on the smaller facet. 

The vegetation have a bloom cycle through which they may solely flower as soon as of their lifetime and can die shortly after, however the mother or father plant will develop pups, so that you’ll at all times have one other. For those who see flowers, put together to propagate your air plant and assist new pups thrive. 

The sky plant doesn’t want soil due to the trichomes on their leaves, that are cells that acquire vitamins and water from timber they develop on. Whereas some bromeliads have wells that acquire water, Tillandsia ionantha doesn’t and solely has roots to cling onto surfaces. For those who dwell in an space with dry air, you’ll have to hold your plant moist because it doesn’t retailer a lot of its personal water.

Sorts of Tillandsia Ionantha

Tillandsia ionantha in full flower
Tillandsia ionantha in full flower.

There are a lot of cultivars of air vegetation within the genus Tillandsia, and three kinds of sky vegetation which can be tremendous fashionable: T. ionantha “Fuego,” T. ionantha “Rubra,” and T. ionantha “Maxima”. For those who’ve seen Tillandsia types of sky plant which have a fiery purple or pink shade, you most likely noticed Fuego because it’s the brightest of the bunch. As a mother or father plant, it’ll look its brightest when it will get sufficient mild and it’ll develop shortly and create a lot of pups.

Tillandsia ionantha Rubra has two completely different types: arduous and comfortable. Arduous Rubra has a vertical development sample since its stiff foliage stays in place. The comfortable form is often wider and shorter. Maxima appears so much like Rubra, however they develop to be a bit bigger and have thicker leaves. These thick leaves permit Maxima vegetation to be slowly transitioned into full solar publicity, however you don’t need to transition them too shortly, or they’ll get scorched.

Tillandsia Ionantha Air Plant Care

How do you follow correct Tillandsia ionantha care? Air plant care is fairly straightforward, so far as home vegetation go! Whereas not a “set it and overlook it” sort of plant, they are often forgiving and received’t require many provides.

Solar and Temperature

T. ionantha in the wild, attached to a twig
T. ionantha within the wild, hooked up to a twig.

Tillandsia ionantha are often shaded by different vegetation they’re hooked up to of their native habitat of South America and Costa Rica, so it is sensible that they need vivid however oblique mild. You will discover out if your private home has oblique daylight by opening your curtains and turning the lights off. If there are shadows within the room and you’ll learn a ebook, you may have sufficient mild.

Tillandsia ionantha sky vegetation needs to be positioned out of direct sunbeams from a south-facing window. In any other case, the leaves will scorch. A nook by a window or on the opposite facet of the room away from the window ought to work. When you have a north-facing window the place the solar doesn’t come immediately into the room, the windowsill will work simply advantageous. Offsetting them from fluorescent lights works too. 

A tillandsia air plant needs to be grown indoors until you reside in a moist local weather in USDA hardiness zone 9 or in a zone with hotter temperatures within the hotter months of spring and summer season. They’ll want deeper shade open air however could be proud of brief intervals of dappled daylight. 

The best temperature vary is heat, from 60-80°F (16° to 27°C), however they’ll tolerate temperatures right down to 50°F (10°C) and as much as 90°F (32°C) in summer season months earlier than they begin to endure harm. They can’t deal with chilly winter temperatures. For those who’re rising in a zone with an accompanying chilly winter temperature, deliver them indoors when temperatures are at 50°F (10°C) persistently.

Watering and Humidity

The Tillandsia ionantha air plant loves excessive humidity ranges however doesn’t like an excessive amount of moisture or extra water. Watering could also be a balancing act when you’re a first-timer, however you’ll get the cling of it! Guarantee there may be good air circulation in your air plant backyard to maintain it wholesome.

Tillandsia likes a 20-30 minute soak in a shallow dish of water each 1-2 weeks. You’ll solely have to do it weekly when you’re in a dry local weather, or when you give your plant a lot of daylight and it tends to dry shortly. Equally, when you place it close to a vent, it could dry out repeatedly. 

Give your air plant common misting of heat water between soakings to maintain it hydrated. You’ll solely want to supply moisture through a daily misting a couple of times every week, however that once more will depend on the humidity of its environment. For those who’ve received a room with a humidifier entering into it repeatedly, your air plant will love that additional moisture!


The Tillandsia air plant is an epiphyte that doesn’t want soil, due to its epiphytic way of life as seen in its native habitat in South America and Central America! You’ll be able to show your air plant in a terrarium with rocks, wooden, or sand, or use wire to hold it on wooden items to create an exquisite backyard setting. See our article about mounting Tillandsias in an air plant show for some inspiration.

Utilizing soil could damage your plant by holding the roots moist for too lengthy, so it’s finest to keep away from it. Place your Tillandsia ionantha frequent air vegetation in glass globes or connect them to wooden to maintain this epiphyte species comfortable. 


Air plant beginning to flower
Air plant starting to flower.

Air vegetation want little or no vitamins if any. For those who do use fertilizer, you should definitely use one thing made particularly for air plant cultivars since they’re not as potent as common fertilizers. 

Air plant fertilizer is available in liquid types meant to be utilized in certainly one of two methods: feeding within the water you soak your vegetation in, or feeding through a foliar fertilizer in a sprig bottle to mist your vegetation with. Each soaking and utilizing foliar fertilizer will work effectively, so that you select the tactic that most accurately fits you.


Since a Tillandsia ionantha air plant drops previous leaves, you could not must prune your plant. For those who select to take action, you may pinch off previous leaves on the base to make room for brand new development and promote good air circulation. You’ll be able to take away spent purple flowers or white flowers in the identical approach.

The one pruning which may be needed for an air plant is eradicating pups hooked up to the mother or father plant to make new vegetation, which we’ll discuss in additional element within the subsequent part.


Tillandsia air plant propagation could be carried out by eradicating the pups from the mom plant. These kind across the time the plant blooms, after a number of years of development. The pups develop in a clump across the mom and can ultimately develop a ball. 

For those who just like the look of it, you may definitely hold it, however your central Tillandsia will die after blooming! However you may take away the pups to create extra vegetation to refill a show or hold round your private home. Blooming is a sign your air plant has reached the tip of its life.

Air plant pups are able to be eliminated as soon as they’re one-third the scale to about half the scale of the mom plant. Fastidiously pull them off the mom plant, guaranteeing the plant’s roots keep intact so it might cling onto whichever floor you place it on.

Your newly separated air plant pups will proceed to develop, flower, and ultimately kind their very own pup clumps that may be propagated after they’re about half the scale of the mom plant. You shouldn’t have a scarcity of sky vegetation when you get going!

A parent tillandsia producing an offshoot or pup
A mother or father tillandsia producing an offshoot or pup.


With a plant that doesn’t want soil, what may go mistaken? A couple of issues, truly, however you most likely received’t take care of air plant care issues too typically. So long as its base wants are met, Tillandsia ionantha care is straightforward.

Rising Issues

The most important issues you’ll face with a Tillandsia ionantha air plant are possible associated to humidity, watering, and daylight. If the guidelines of your plant’s leaves are dry, brown, and crunchy, it wants extra water or humidity. If the leaves of your air plant are squishy or turning yellow, it’s getting extra water.

Yellow leaves can even point out that the plant is receiving an excessive amount of mild. Do not forget that an excessive amount of mild can scorch the leaves. Observe how a lot vivid oblique mild your plant is getting to find out when you’ve got a water or mild downside when you’re undecided. If the leaves are on the dry facet and have a splotchy look after they’re moist, it’s most likely receiving an excessive amount of daylight.

When your air plant blooms, it’ll die, making approach for younger vegetation to kind. You’ll be able to take away the spent blooms in the course of the flower interval, however anticipate to propagate the plant after to assist your new air plant infants thrive. 


Outside Tillandsia vegetation could have aphid issues, however this isn’t possible for indoor vegetation. Aphids drink plant and flower sap and trigger vegetation to kind wilted or deflated leaves. Washing them off the leaves with water is the best solution to eliminate them. 

Mealybugs are an issue for a lot of houseplants, so when you spot them on the leaves or flower of your air vegetation, you need to verify all the things else, too! They’re white scale bugs that kind a cotton-like substance on vegetation, often on the base of leaves or close to the roots. Use rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab on the leaves to eliminate them, and rinse the leaves with water.

Within the southernmost elements of Florida and California and all through Mexico, you will have to take care of the Mexican bromeliad weevil. This can be a black and yellow weevil that feeds on the bromeliad household particularly and is invasive on account of a scarcity of pure predators. It’ll eat up the leaves and infrequently the roots and flower of your air vegetation. Use a diluted insecticide made for weevils and beetles, or choose them off by hand.


Tillandsia is generally illness resistant, and the one one you’re prone to take care of is root rot, which is a fungal illness that seems when there’s an excessive amount of water. Don’t give your plant extra water or any soil, and also you’ll be capable of keep away from this illness fairly simply. Root rot can’t be cured, so that you’ll must throw away contaminated vegetation that kind signs.

Regularly Requested Questions

Many air plants clustered together
Many air vegetation clustered collectively.

Q: How lengthy do Tillandsia ionantha dwell?

A: Underneath the suitable circumstances, Tillansia ought to dwell for as much as 5 years.

Q: Do you have to soak Tillandsia ionantha?

A: Soaking Tillandsia ionantha is the easiest way to water it. Couple that with excessive humidity, and also you’re set. 

Q: How typically ought to I water my ionantha?

A: Your local weather will decide how typically to water your Tillandsia. In dry climates, soaking it as soon as every week and misting it each different day or so needs to be sufficient. In humid climates, you could solely have to soak each 2 weeks and mist it each few days.

Q: Do air vegetation bloom solely as soon as?

A: The numerous cultivars of air vegetation solely bloom as soon as of their lifetime and die shortly after. 

Q: How massive do ionantha air vegetation get?

A: Ionantha air vegetation can develop to be as massive as 1 foot tall in excellent circumstances, however they typically keep a lot smaller when grown indoors.

Q: Do Tillandsia ionantha want soil?

A: Tillandsia ionantha don’t want soil. They’re epiphytic vegetation that use their roots to cling to surfaces like tree branches.

Q: Does Tillandsia want full solar?

A: Tillandsia wants vivid oblique daylight. Direct daylight will burn the foliage. In areas the place direct daylight can’t be averted, use the shade from different vegetation to guard it. 



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