March 6, 2022 4:08 pm

Beverly

The Air Plant cycle

People often wonder if air plants get flowers. The good news is that they do! Air plants are slow growers and, while one needs patience for the flowering process, once your plant blooms it will be very rewarding. You may have put in lots of care and attention to encourage flowering or your plant may have flowered and taken you by surprise. Either way, be sure to snap some pictures of your Air Plant flowers and share them on your socials!

Air plant in bloom


As with any plant, an air plant in bloom marks the start of reproductive process in the plant’s life cycle. Some air plants flowers last a few days, while other can be enjoyed for longer. The Tillandsia Xerographica, or queen of the air plants as it is known, have a longer cycle when it comes to blooming.

Large air plant with flower


An interesting fact about air plants is that they only bloom once in their lifetime!


Different types of air plant flowers

There are over 600 species of air plants! There are also lots of different types of flowers depending on the species of air plant.

The most common colours of air plant are different shades of pink, purple, red and yellow. You can even get flowers that have combinations of those colours.

Some air plant flowers are small and delicate and some are bold and striking. The general rule of thumb is that the larger the plant, the larger the flower.

Air plant flower

There are even some species of air plants that have inflorescences of flowers. An inflorescence is when a group or cluster of flowers grows on the end of a stalk. The tillandsia argentea is a good example of this.

Air Plant in bloom


Care of your air plant while in bloom

It is just as important, if not more, to follow a care routine with your air plant while it is in bloom. The plant is using up more energy to produce its blooms and so you need to make sure that the plant is getting appropriate sunlight and moisture. Your plant will especially benefit from some air plant fertiliser at this stage of its life cycle.

Air Plants fertilizer with trio of air plants

Care should be taken during the watering process too. You should avoid getting the flowers wet. When giving your plant a bath in a bowl of water, ensure that the main plant is getting moisture and no splashes are going on the bloom.

Alternatively, you could hold the plant under running water to wet just the parts of the plant you want to get wet.

Once your bloom has run the course of its life and has withered you may want to trim the dead flower off the plant to allow the plant to direct its energy to the next phase of its life cycle.


My Air Plant has flowered – now what?

The next step of the air plant’s life cycle after flowering is equally as fascinating.

Once the bloom cycle has completed you may notice some new growth at the base of your air plant. These are baby air plants, commonly known as ‘pups’ or offsets. These little air plant babies will grow on the side of the parent plant and eventually mature into adult air plants. It is up to you whether to leave the plants joined together or to separate them when mature.

Green Air plant pup

To encourage the pup stage of the plant life cycle, after the bloom has died snip off the bloom. An air plant will, on average, produce one to three pups, or even more! The number of pups produced will depend on the air plant species.


Nurturing your air plant pups

As per when your air plant is in bloom, an air plant with pups will be using up more energy and so give your air plant sunlight and moisture. Air plant fertiliser will boost the air plant’s energy reserves too.

After the pups grow to about a third of the size of the mother plant, you can either remove them or leave them to form a clump with the parent plant and other pups.

Red tillandsia with pup

To remove a pup you can either gently twist the plant off the parent plant or you can take a clean, sharp knife and carefully slice it off the mother plant. You can then care for the plant as you would do your other air plants.

The mother air plant may continue to live for a little longer and produce another round of pups, but most will start to fade away now that their reproductive job is done.


The complete lifecycle

Now that you have removed the pups from the parent plant, the lifecycle has now gone full circle and you can start the process all over again.

You can nurture your baby air plants to maturity, wait for the blooms, care for the pups, and repeat the process.

With the proper care and patience, you could have a lifetime supply of air plants from a single plant!

We hope you enjoy the process and please share photos of your Botanica Verde air plant blooms and pups on social media and tag us! #botanicaverde


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