Tillandsia Ionantha: How To Grow A Happy Little Air Plant

If you happen to’ve spent any time posts from home plant content material creators, you’re in all probability conversant in the Tillandsia ionantha air plant. Often known as the blushing bride sky plant, this species of air plant is understood for its lovely pink and crimson hues and beautiful pink and purple flowers.

The sky plant is an epiphyte, that means it doesn’t require any soil to develop and as an alternative grows on wooden and bushes. When you’ve got powerful luck retaining houseplants alive, this one must be a stroll within the park! All it wants is a few water and shiny gentle – what might go incorrect?

The Tillandsia ionantha plant might be displayed on a chunk of wooden in a terrarium or hooked up to surfaces with wire. It’s positive to turn out to be an announcement piece in your house! Let’s check out easy methods to preserve these little air plant fellas alive so you may get inventive along with your shows.

Fast Care Information

Tillandsia ionantha mounted on a chunk of bark.
Widespread Identify Sky plant, blushing bride sky plant
Scientific Identify Tillandsia ionantha, beforehand Tillandsia erubescens
Household Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae)
Top & Unfold 6-12 inches tall, 4-8 inches extensive
Gentle Shiny oblique gentle, dappled daylight
Soil None
Water Soak weekly, mist as wanted
Pests & Ailments Aphids, mealybugs, Mexican bromeliad weevils, root rot

All About Tillandsia Ionantha

T. ionantha in a hand
T. ionantha in a hand.

The Tillandsia ionantha air plant species is a part of the bromeliad household, making it cousins to the pineapple and different spiky vegetation. Tillandsia ionantha and different bromeliads are sometimes considered unique within the US and different western nations since they’re native to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, and a few components of South America. 

There are some species of air vegetation within the genus Tillandsia which can be native to North America as effectively. Of their native area, you could find them clinging onto different vegetation in mountains, deserts, and forests.

Tillandsia ionantha’s foliage does certainly look a bit pineapple-like with its slender spiky look. They’re often inexperienced on the base and colourful on the factors and bloom tubular purple flowers. They’ll attain as much as 1 foot tall if grown in good situations, however they’ll doubtless keep on the smaller facet. 

The vegetation have a bloom cycle by which they may solely flower as soon as of their lifetime and can die shortly after, however the dad or mum plant will develop pups, so that you’ll all the time have one other. If you happen to see flowers, put together to propagate your air plant and assist new pups thrive. 

The sky plant doesn’t want soil due to the trichomes on their leaves, that are cells that gather vitamins and water from bushes they develop on. Whereas some bromeliads have wells that gather water, Tillandsia ionantha doesn’t and solely has roots to cling onto surfaces. If you happen to stay in an space with dry air, you’ll must preserve your plant moist because it doesn’t retailer a lot of its personal water.

Kinds of Tillandsia Ionantha

Tillandsia ionantha in full flower
Tillandsia ionantha in full flower.

There are a lot of cultivars of air vegetation within the genus Tillandsia, and three kinds of sky vegetation which can be tremendous common: T. ionantha “Fuego,” T. ionantha “Rubra,” and T. ionantha “Maxima”. If you happen to’ve seen Tillandsia styles of sky plant which have a fiery crimson or pink colour, you in all probability noticed Fuego because it’s the brightest of the bunch. As a dad or mum plant, it is going to look its brightest when it will get sufficient gentle and it’ll develop shortly and create plenty of pups.

Tillandsia ionantha Rubra has two completely different varieties: exhausting and mushy. Exhausting Rubra has a vertical development sample since its stiff foliage stays in place. The mushy sort is usually wider and shorter. Maxima appears to be like so much like Rubra, however they develop to be a bit bigger and have thicker leaves. These thick leaves enable Maxima vegetation to be slowly transitioned into full solar publicity, however you don’t wish to transition them too shortly, or they’ll get scorched.

Tillandsia Ionantha Air Plant Care

How do you observe correct Tillandsia ionantha care? Air plant care is fairly simple, so far as home vegetation go! Whereas not a “set it and overlook it” sort of plant, they are often forgiving and received’t require many provides.

Solar and Temperature

T. ionantha in the wild, attached to a twig
T. ionantha within the wild, hooked up to a twig.

Tillandsia ionantha are often shaded by different vegetation they’re hooked up to of their native habitat of South America and Costa Rica, so it is smart that they need shiny however oblique gentle. You will discover out if your own home has oblique daylight by opening your curtains and turning the lights off. If there are shadows within the room and you may learn a e-book, you may have sufficient gentle.

Tillandsia ionantha sky vegetation must be positioned out of direct sunbeams from a south-facing window. In any other case, the leaves will scorch. A nook by a window or on the opposite facet of the room away from the window ought to work. When you’ve got a north-facing window the place the solar doesn’t come instantly into the room, the windowsill will work simply high quality. Offsetting them from fluorescent lights works too. 

A tillandsia air plant must be grown indoors until you reside in a moist local weather in USDA hardiness zone 9 or in a zone with hotter temperatures within the hotter months of spring and summer season. They’ll want deeper shade open air however might be proud of quick durations of dappled daylight. 

The best temperature vary is heat, from 60-80°F (16° to 27°C), however they’ll tolerate temperatures right down to 50°F (10°C) and as much as 90°F (32°C) in summer season months earlier than they begin to endure harm. They can not deal with chilly winter temperatures. If you happen to’re rising in a zone with an accompanying chilly winter temperature, convey them indoors when temperatures are at 50°F (10°C) persistently.

Watering and Humidity

The Tillandsia ionantha air plant loves excessive humidity ranges however doesn’t like an excessive amount of moisture or extra water. Watering could also be a balancing act in case you’re a first-timer, however you’ll get the dangle of it! Guarantee there may be good air circulation in your air plant backyard to maintain it wholesome.

Tillandsia likes a 20-30 minute soak in a shallow dish of water each 1-2 weeks. You’ll solely must do it weekly in case you’re in a dry local weather, or in case you give your plant plenty of daylight and it tends to dry shortly. Equally, in case you place it close to a vent, it could dry out recurrently. 

Give your air plant common misting of heat water between soakings to maintain it hydrated. You’ll solely want to supply moisture by way of a daily misting a few times every week, however that once more will depend on the humidity of its environment. If you happen to’ve received a room with a humidifier entering into it recurrently, your air plant will love that additional moisture!


The Tillandsia air plant is an epiphyte that doesn’t want soil, due to its epiphytic way of life as seen in its native habitat in South America and Central America! You’ll be able to show your air plant in a terrarium with rocks, wooden, or sand, or use wire to hold it on wooden items to create a wonderful backyard setting. See our article about mounting Tillandsias in an air plant show for some inspiration.

Utilizing soil might harm your plant by retaining the roots moist for too lengthy, so it’s finest to keep away from it. Place your Tillandsia ionantha frequent air vegetation in glass globes or connect them to wooden to maintain this epiphyte species pleased. 


Air plant beginning to flower
Air plant starting to flower.

Air vegetation want little or no vitamins if any. If you happen to do use fertilizer, make sure you use one thing made particularly for air plant cultivars since they’re not as potent as common fertilizers. 

Air plant fertilizer is available in liquid varieties meant to be utilized in one among two methods: feeding within the water you soak your vegetation in, or feeding by way of a foliar fertilizer in a sprig bottle to mist your vegetation with. Each soaking and utilizing foliar fertilizer will work effectively, so that you select the strategy that most closely fits you.


Since a Tillandsia ionantha air plant drops previous leaves, chances are you’ll not need to prune your plant. If you happen to select to take action, you may pinch off previous leaves on the base to make room for brand spanking new development and promote good air circulation. You’ll be able to take away spent purple flowers or white flowers in the identical manner.

The one pruning which may be mandatory for an air plant is eradicating pups hooked up to the dad or mum plant to make new vegetation, which we’ll discuss in additional element within the subsequent part.


Tillandsia air plant propagation might be carried out by eradicating the pups from the mom plant. These kind across the time the plant blooms, after a number of years of development. The pups develop in a clump across the mom and can ultimately develop a ball. 

If you happen to just like the look of it, you may actually preserve it, however your central Tillandsia will die after blooming! However you may take away the pups to create extra vegetation to replenish a show or preserve round your own home. Blooming is a sign your air plant has reached the tip of its life.

Air plant pups are able to be eliminated as soon as they’re one-third the dimensions to about half the dimensions of the mom plant. Rigorously pull them off the mom plant, making certain the plant’s roots keep intact so it might cling onto whichever floor you place it on.

Your newly separated air plant pups will proceed to develop, flower, and ultimately kind their very own pup clumps that may be propagated once they’re about half the dimensions of the mom plant. You shouldn’t have a scarcity of sky vegetation when you get going!

A parent tillandsia producing an offshoot or pup
A dad or mum tillandsia producing an offshoot or pup.


With a plant that doesn’t want soil, what might go incorrect? Just a few issues, truly, however you in all probability received’t take care of air plant care issues too usually. So long as its base wants are met, Tillandsia ionantha care is simple.

Rising Issues

The most important issues you’ll face with a Tillandsia ionantha air plant are doubtless associated to humidity, watering, and daylight. If the ideas of your plant’s leaves are dry, brown, and crunchy, it wants extra water or humidity. If the leaves of your air plant are squishy or turning yellow, it’s getting extra water.

Yellow leaves also can point out that the plant is receiving an excessive amount of gentle. Do not forget that an excessive amount of gentle can scorch the leaves. Observe how a lot shiny oblique gentle your plant is getting to find out if in case you have a water or gentle drawback in case you’re undecided. If the leaves are on the dry facet and have a splotchy look once they’re moist, it’s in all probability receiving an excessive amount of daylight.

When your air plant blooms, it is going to die, making manner for younger vegetation to kind. You’ll be able to take away the spent blooms throughout the flower interval, however anticipate to propagate the plant after to assist your new air plant infants thrive. 


Out of doors Tillandsia vegetation might have aphid issues, however this isn’t doubtless for indoor vegetation. Aphids drink plant and flower sap and trigger vegetation to kind wilted or deflated leaves. Washing them off the leaves with water is the best technique to eliminate them. 

Mealybugs are an issue for a lot of houseplants, so in case you spot them on the leaves or flower of your air vegetation, it’s best to test every part else, too! They’re white scale bugs that kind a cotton-like substance on vegetation, often on the base of leaves or close to the roots. Use rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab on the leaves to eliminate them, and rinse the leaves with water.

Within the southernmost components of Florida and California and all through Mexico, you’ll have to take care of the Mexican bromeliad weevil. It is a black and yellow weevil that feeds on the bromeliad household particularly and is invasive resulting from an absence of pure predators. It’ll eat up the leaves and infrequently the roots and flower of your air vegetation. Use a diluted insecticide made for weevils and beetles, or choose them off by hand.


Tillandsia is usually illness resistant, and the one one you’re more likely to take care of is root rot, which is a fungal illness that seems when there’s an excessive amount of water. Don’t give your plant extra water or any soil, and also you’ll be capable of keep away from this illness fairly simply. Root rot can’t be cured, so that you’ll need to throw away contaminated vegetation that kind signs.

Often Requested Questions

Many air plants clustered together
Many air vegetation clustered collectively.

Q: How lengthy do Tillandsia ionantha stay?

A: Underneath the appropriate situations, Tillansia ought to stay for as much as 5 years.

Q: Must you soak Tillandsia ionantha?

A: Soaking Tillandsia ionantha is one of the best ways to water it. Couple that with excessive humidity, and also you’re set. 

Q: How usually ought to I water my ionantha?

A: Your local weather will decide how usually to water your Tillandsia. In dry climates, soaking it as soon as every week and misting it each different day or so must be sufficient. In humid climates, chances are you’ll solely must soak each 2 weeks and mist it each few days.

Q: Do air vegetation bloom solely as soon as?

A: The numerous cultivars of air vegetation solely bloom as soon as of their lifetime and die shortly after. 

Q: How massive do ionantha air vegetation get?

A: Ionantha air vegetation can develop to be as massive as 1 foot tall in good situations, however they usually keep a lot smaller when grown indoors.

Q: Do Tillandsia ionantha want soil?

A: Tillandsia ionantha don’t want soil. They’re epiphytic vegetation that use their roots to cling to surfaces like tree branches.

Q: Does Tillandsia want full solar?

A: Tillandsia wants shiny oblique daylight. Direct daylight will burn the foliage. In areas the place direct daylight can’t be prevented, use the shade from different vegetation to guard it. 

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