What is green, has funky tentacle-like leaves and doesn’t need any soil?
Well, Tillandsia bulbosa of course! Air plants like the bulbosa are all the rage at the moment and their popularity isn’t showing any signs of decreasing. This particular variety is easy to grow and will brighten up any home with its almost alien-like looks.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about Tillandsia bulbosa care and growing this air plant in your own home!
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Tillandsia bulbosa care
To figure out what Tillandsia bulbosa needs to thrive, it’s a good idea to look at the way it naturally grows. In the wild, this air plant can be found throughout the Caribbean Basin, Central America and some parts of South America. These areas are warm and relatively humid.
So how do they grow without any soil? Tillandsias are Bromeliad epiphytes, which means they use their tiny roots to attach themselves to any suitable surface (in a non-parasitic way). Tillandsia bulbosa is often found growing on trees, where it gets plenty of light but direct sun is usually blocked out.
Tillandsia bulbosa light, location & temperature
- Light. Tillandsia bulbosa likes quite a bit of light, although direct sun is probably a little too intense. Filtered or indirect light is ideal, which means a location near a window should work best. You can also grow these air plants under articificial light.
- Location. When choosing a location for your Tillandsia bulbosa, keep in mind this air plant is naturally found in relatively humid areas. It will probably appreciate not being placed in a very dry area of your home; your kitchen or bathroom might work well!
- Temperature. Because Tillandsia bulbosa is a tropical plant it won’t appreciate cold. Try not to let the temperature drop below around 12 °C/53.5 °F even in winter. Something around or even above room temperature is much better – just don’t let your bulbosa get scorched by the sun.
Tillandsia bulbosa container
Although they are often sold in sealed terrarium-like containers and pretty tall vases, these are actually not the ideal environment for Tillandsia bulbosa.
Why? All air plants actually need plenty of fresh air and do best out in the open. Cute as it may look, try to avoid anything that doesn’t allow the air to circulate properly.
So what does work well as a Tillandsia bulbosa container? You can be as (un)creative as you like! Create a nice wire structure for your bulbosa to perch upon, attach the air plant to a piece of decorative rock or driftwood or just plop the plant on your windowsill. There are also loads of air plant holders available online from all kinds of sellers.
Watering Tillandsia bulbosa
If you’ve never grown Tillandsias before you might be wondering how you are supposed to water a plant that doesn’t grow in soil.
It’s easy, really. Tillandsia bulbosa doesn’t have many water-attracting hairs (trichomes) on its leaves, so it likes a little more water than many other air plants. Just spray your bulbosa a few times a week to keep it happy and healthy. Increase mistings during the summer months when the plant is actively growing and getting plenty of light.
Tillandsia bulbosa fertilizer
Again, if you’ve never grown air plants this part might be a little confusing. They do appreciate some fertilizer here and there but… where do you put it if not in the soil?
There are actually multiple methods. You can buy a generic Bromeliad fertilizer spray or even a specialized type for Tillandsias like this one. Just spray once every two weeks to once a month during the growing season to supply your Tillandsia bulbosa with some extra nutrients.
If you’re lucky enough to own an aquarium or have a pond in your back yard, you can actually use this water as a gentle natural fertilizer. The nitrates and other nutrients make the perfect plant food, so just soak your Tillandsia bulbosa in “fish water” instead of tap water to keep it growing well.
Buying Tillandsia bulbosa
Tillandsia bulbosa is one of the more common air plants and you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding it. If your local plant store or garden center carries air plants you might be able to find it there. If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your home there are also tons of online sellers out there; you can buy a Tillandsia bulbosa on Amazon here.
When buying your Tillandsia bulbosa keep in mind there are multiple types, with the most common being “Belize” and “Guatemala”. The former has leaves that grow larger and more straight, whereas the other stays relatively small and has leaves growing in all directions.
Is Tillandsia bulbosa toxic to cats and dogs?
Luckily, Tillandsias like Tillandsia bulbosa aren’t toxic to cats and dogs. They do, like all plants, cause an upset stomach. Try keeping your air plants away from your pets, because they are the perfect size for a chewing toy!