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The Small but Mighty Medusa Air Plant

The Medusa Air Plant is an easy-care plant native to Central America and Mexico. As with all Air Plants, the Medusae plant is soilless and requires no pot. The small, but unique plant looks great in a terrarium or hanging on a specialized shelf or mount.

The Small but Mighty Medusa Air Plant

Medusa Air Plant Appearance

Like the Sky Plant, the Medusa Air Plant requires no soil to grow. The leaves are silver-green, with a purple base. The leaf growth pattern looks like snakes–hence the Medusa name. The plant reaches a height of 6 inches (15 cm) and grows upright even when mounted horizontally. Blooms appear any time of the year, emerging from the center of the plant. The flowers can be purple or white with the center leaves taking on a pink tint. 

Tillandsia Caput Medusae Lighting

Provide bright, indirect light for optimal growth. Morning or evening, full sun is alright, as long as the plant has afternoon shade. Avoid all-day sun, as it will dry out the leaves or scorch them. If natural light is not available, supplement with artificial light such as from an LED grow light.

Medusae Air Plant

Misting is the best way to water these drought-tolerant plants. Let the plant dry out between misting and adjust the frequency on the temperature and humidity of the room. On average, once a month is a good place to start. As an alternative to misting, hold the plant under a light trickle of tap water to moisten the plant. Next, hold the plant upside down to allow it to drain. If possible, use distilled or filtered water.

Soil and Fertilizer

Soil and Fertilizer
Green Experiment Company

No soil is needed for the Medusa Air Plant. Instead of growing in a pot filled with soil, the plant is mounted to another plant or object. The plant is also perfect for terrarium arrangements. For easy fertilizing, add liquid fish emulsion to the misting bottle. 

Temperature and Humidity Levels

Temperatures between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 to 29.4 Celsius) are ideal. Avoid temperatures below 55F (12C) as the plant is not tolerant to cold. Average household humidity levels are fine, as the plant gets the humidity it needs through misting. Avoid exposing the Tillandsia caput medusae to heat vents or cold drafts, as it damages the leaves.

Propagating the Medusa Air Plant

Propagation of the Medusae plant is easy through the pups the mature plant produces. When the pups are half the size of the mother plant, remove them with a pair of sharp and sterile shears. Attach the pup to a mount with wire or place in a terrarium. Care for it as you would a mature plant.

Mounting the Medusa Air Plant

Mount or hang your Air Plant to create beautiful displays. Metal wire is a popular choice, as it’s easy to find and can be adjusted. Choose a light-gauge wire that is easy to bend and wrap around both the plant and mounting object. Cut a length of wire and bend it in half. Wrap the middle around the base of the plant enough to secure it. Use the remaining two ends of the wire to wrap around what you are mounting the plant to. When choosing the wire, do not use copper, as it is toxic to plants.

Mounting the Medusa Air Plant

Use a piece of fishing line if you don’t want wire to show in your displays. Wrap the fishing line as you would metal wire. The final option is to glue the Sky Plant to the mount. This secures the plant, but is not recommended because it is impossible to move the plant without damaging it once it’s glued in place.

The Medusa Air Plant is a versatile and decorative house plant that requires little care. Air plants are easy and fun to incorporate into decorative arrangements. Collect these small, but beautiful, plants and enjoy all they have to offer.

Medusa Air Plant FAQ

Do I Need to Plant My Medusa Plant in Soil?

No, all Air Plants get their nutrients without the need for soil. While they grow roots, the roots are used primarily for attaching to objects for security, and not to draw in moisture and nutrients.

What Pests and Diseases are the Tillandsia  Caput  Medusae Susceptible To?

As the plant does not grow in soil, pests are not attracted to it. Also, these plants are not affected by fungal issues as their roots are exposed to air and their leaves love humidity. 

Are Sky Plants Considered Toxic?

No, none of the Air Plants are toxic to pets and are considered safe.

Can I Grow My Ionantha Sky Plant Outdoors?

Yes, you can grow this plant outdoors in USDA zones 9 to 11.

Should I Prune My Sky Plant?

You can prune your Sky Plant to control shape and size, or to remove damaged leaves. When pruning, do not trim too close to the base.