Botanical Name — Tillandsia brachycaulos
Common Name — Mesic Air Plant
Plant Family — Bromeliaceae
Native to tropical jungles in Central America and Venezuela, Tillandsia brachycaulos is a common variety within a group of tropical air plants known as mesic air plants. A member of the bromeliad family, these epiphytes dwell in treetops where they receive dappled sunlight, lots of rain, and nutrient-rich plant debris.
- Give Tillandsia brachycaulos bright, filtered light that mimics its natural environment. Indoors, bright indirect light or light through a sheer curtain is perfect.
- These tropical plants thrive on warmth, good air circulation, and regular misting. Every other day, mist the mesic air plant so water droplets gather on its leaves. Mist in the morning and avoid misting/watering at night.
- If kept outdoors, bring inside when temperatures regularly drop below 50ºF.
- Water these plants by filling a bowl with water and submerging them for about 10 minutes once every week. After 10 minutes, remove the plant and, holding it by the base, shake it to remove excess droplets.
- Avoid watering at night.
- This plant will appreciate being set outside in a warm summer rain.
- Set these plants right on a bookshelf, tile, or in a small pot with drainage. No soil needed!
- Before flowering, the leaves will blush ruby red, and then stalked purple inflorescences will blossom at the center of the leaves.
- There’s no need to fertilize Tillandsia xerographica, but a dash of bromeliad fertilizer to the soaking bath can be applied during waterings in summer to increase growth.
- Propagate this plant through stem cuttings.
- As the mother plant grows, keep an eye out for pups appearing at the plant’s base. Allow these plants to establish themselves, then snip off the pups.
- Tillandsia brachycaulos are not prone to pests, but aphids and mealybugs are possible.
- Leaf rot can also be a concern and is triggered by overwatering mixed with insufficient light. Provide enough light so excess, unneeded water evaporates off the leaves.
- No regular maintenance is needed for these plants.
- Air plants are not toxic to humans or pets.