Botanical Name — Tillandsia xerographica
Common Name — Xeric Air Plant
Plant Family — Bromeliaceae
Native to dry forests of Central America, Tillandsia xerographica is a popular variety within a group of arid air plants known as xeric air plants. A member of the bromeliad family, these epiphytes dwell in treetops where they receive lots of dappled sunlight, misty rain and fog, and nutrient-rich plant debris. Tiny hairs called trichomes cover their silvery surfaces and differentiate them from tropical mesic air plants. These trichomes help Tillandsia xerographica pull moisture from the air in a native region without too much rainfall.
- Give Tillandsia xerographica bright, filtered light that mimics its natural environment. Indoors, bright indirect light with a couple hours of direct sunlight is perfect.
- These arid plants thrive on warmth, good air circulation, and occasional misting. Once a week or so, mist the xeric air plant so water droplets gather on its trichomes. 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-and-a-half to two weeks. 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!
- A spectacular red, yellow, and orange flower will blossom from the center of this plant on a stalk.
- 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 xerographica 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.