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Tillandsia xerographica Tillandsia xerographica

Tillandsia xerographica

Botanical Name —  Tillandsia xerographica
Common Name — Xeric Air Plant 
Plant Family —  Bromeliaceae

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Background
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.

Growth Requirements
Sun

  • Give Tillandsia xerographica bright, filtered light that mimics its natural environment. Indoors, bright indirect light with a couple hours of direct sunlight is perfect. 
Temperature/ Humidity 
  • 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
  • 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.
Soil/Roots
  • Set these plants right on a bookshelf, tile, or in a small pot with drainage. No soil needed!
Flowering
  • A spectacular red, yellow, and orange flower will blossom from the center of this plant on a stalk. 
Fertilization
  • 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.
Propagation
  • 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.
Health
Diseases
  • 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.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
  • No regular maintenance is needed for these plants.
Toxicity
  • Air plants are not toxic to humans or pets.