New to air plants Tillandsia, need advice

DavidL.caJuly 18, 2014

Hi all, first time posting here!
I've got hooked to these cool plants, and the design ideas of hanging terrariums are just wonderful. I would love to hear from some experts here.

Right now I have my tilandsias "planted" in terrariums with pebbles/small rocks as bedding. Is that going to be okay?

And regarding watering, I've seen some people say soaking is good, and some say that it's not and only misting is needed. I have my terrariums hung in a room close to a window, however it's mostly pretty dry here, so would misting be enough??

I'll try to get some photos tomorrow.

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Hi David,

A lot of tillandsias do fine in terrariums as long as they're not sitting in damp media for long periods of time. If your pebble bedding stays super damp you might wind up with some rot. It is usually safer to prop them up on some driftwood or anything similar. The only problem with enclosed terrarium setups is the lack of airflow. Most tillandsias prefer at least some air movement. They also like a lot of sunlight, so depending on how near yours are to the window you might find them craving more sun.

Personally, I'm a fan of dunking, but this is because I grow them out in the open and they dry out pretty quick after a dunk. Misting is perfectly fine as long as you keep up with it and make sure they're not slowly dehydrating (curling leaves and/or browning tips). It really depends on the humidity of where you're growing them. Enclosed terrariums usually have high humidity, so some occasional misting might be enough to keep them happy.

Generally the basic tillandsia formula is lot-o-sun + good airflow + high humidity = happy epiphyte

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:10PM
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I see. Thank you! I see lots of varieties of dunking/soaking schedules. Some say soak it twice a month, each time 8-12 hours; some say soak it 2-4 times a week, each time 30min - 1 hr.

I'm not sure which one would fit my situation the best (growing indoor in apartment with central air-conditioner, hanging terrarium with holes, 3-4 feet at most from the window).

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:35PM
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I personally don't have any Tillandsia that require soaking but I live in a very humid climate and rarely do I need to do anything but mist a free plants like funckiana or the ball grown clumps. I don't have any tillandsia that grow in soil yet...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:36AM
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Here are some pictures. They just had their initial soaking, since most of them looked quite sad and had browning tips, I soaked them overnight last night with lukewarm filtered water, let them dry this morning before placing them back to their homes.

Am I doing anything fatally wrong?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 11:49AM
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I see now, you're working with the little glass orbs. I was thinking of a traditional aquarium style terrarium earlier. I wouldn't worry just yet, those all seem fine. The brown tips on the thin-leafed tillandsias are almost unavoidable when growing indoors. Unless it's super humid in your area and you're not running heating/ac the great indoors tends to be on the arid side. Your plants can still carry on in good health, but you'll probably always have some crispy tips. If they really bug you you can always clip them off.

Dunking, misting, how often, etc. I think this get's over complicated. Just keep a close eye on them until you get a routine down. As they get "thirsty" the leaves start curling laterally. You can really notice it in the caput-medusae; it's leaves can curl so completely that it hides the surface of the leaf completely. Just be careful not to over-water, death by rot is a lot more common than dessication.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 2:25AM
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The plant on the left of your first photo.....becareful soaking that one.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 9:11AM
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Okay, thanks guys! They seemed happier after the soaking. And I'll do my best to keep them that way. I'm probably going to mist them every other day in the terrarium because of the central AC here.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 9:31AM
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