February 4, 2022 7:59 pm


Xerographica the queen of air plants

The Tillandsia Xerographica, queen of air plants is native to southern America and more particulary southern Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The air plant grows in semi-arid regions and in very sunny and dry conditions. The origin of the name “xeros” in Greek means dry, most of the moisture that they get is from morning dew in nature.

Central America

The Tillandsia Xerographica grows attached to trees (epiphytes) or rocks (lithophytes). These plants typically grow on tree branches at the top of a tree where they are exposed to bright light. Air Plants in this family are called Bromeliaceae (bromeliad family).

In the wild, deforestation is one of the greatest threats to the survival of xerographica.

The average temperatures in its habitat range between 22 °C and 28 °C, with relative humidity between 60% to 72%.

Massive Tillandsia xerographica

How do you care for Tillandsia Xerographica?

How to look after your air plant should be an easy task. If you compare a standard air plant like the Tillandsia Ionodis, the Tillandsia Xerographica typically need less water. It will show you that it needs water when its leaves curl tightly. Overwatering can cause problems like rot. Just follow the signs that your plant gives you and you’ll find a healthy level of watering for your plant.

Water your plants
  • Never water the plant at night.
  • Mist the plant with lukewarm water once or twice every week,
  • Your air plant might also enjoy a enjoy some rainwater in the summer on a hot day.
  • Dunk your air plant about once a month in lukewarm water for about 2 mins then gently shake off any excess water and dry the plant upside down on a towel.

How big does a Tillandsia Xerographica get?

A native evergreen Tillandsia Xerographica eventually grows up to 90cm in height and spread. The narrow, curving leaves of this plant are silvery gray, light green, and wide at the base. The flower spikes for this plant grow up to 40cm tall and have tubular, red-purple flowers that emerge from the green bracts.

Very large air plant

How fast does Tillandsia Xerographica grow?

If you have enough patience, you can collect the seeds from after the flower dies and dry them out. It should then take about eight years for the seedling to become a fully grown plant. The king of air plants begins producing a pup about six months to two years after its first bloom. The pup grows near the base and is relatively easy to remove, as explained in our air plant care guide.

Large air plant also know as Tillandsia xerographica in hand

How do you display xerographica?

There are many ways to display your large air plants, the most common ways are:

  • Terrarium

pentagon shape glass Terrarium with air plant
  • Air Plant holder

Airplant holder with Tillandsia xerographica
  • Concrete Pots

Concrete triangle and air plant

You can find more ideas like air plants mounting on wood below by watching this youtube video by gardenanswer.

What to do with Tillandsia after flowering?

You can leave the dried flowers on the air plant if you wish or, you can remove it if you think it ill look better that way. You can accomplish this by gently snipping off a bloom spike or pulling dried flowers from the blooms. Taking a bloom spike and snipping it will help stimulate pup production because the plant will concentrate its energy on the pups rather than the bloom. Although the mother air plant can live for a long time with proper care, if the pups are left to grow, they may even form clumps. In time, the offset will take over from the mother plant, and the mother plant will slowly die off as she gives her energy to the pups.

How do you make a Xerographica bloom?

With the right conditions, enough light and food in a form of fertilizer, you will give your air plant the best chance to bloom but you can’t really force the development, it will just happen as nature intended.

Airplant fertilizer or air plant spray

Although fertilizing your air plants isn't absolutely necessary, you will notice that they will grow bigger, flower more and produce more pups if you do.

You should only use specialised fertilizers for Tillandsia, such as those you find in our shop, thus ensuring that your air plant gets the minerals its needs.

To prevent burning your plant, make sure not to overfertilize. A fertilization every month or two is more than enough to keep your xerographica air plants happy.

How do you prune a Xerographica?

If you don't prune Tillandsia xerographica properly, it can cause serious damage to the plant, which might lead to death. The pruning process is relatively simple. The only thing you need is pruning shears, or a clean sharp knife, with which you would remove ant dead leaves or flowers.

These parts are brownish in colour, so you can identify them quite easily. Trim off these dead parts, and then place your plant in water for about 20 mins. You will need to gently shake it and leave it upside down on a towel to dry. If you don’t do that, the water might stay in the bottom of the plant and it will rot.

If you want the plant to regenerate quickly, place it in a location that gets plenty of sunlight. The plant will eventually heal fully as new parts grow.

If you want to know about air plants care in general, please check our post How to look after your air plants.

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