Tillandsia Ionantha: How To Develop A Completely satisfied Little Air Plant

When you’ve spent any time posts from home plant content material creators, you’re most likely aware of the Tillandsia ionantha air plant. Also referred to as the blushing bride sky plant, this species of air plant is understood for its stunning pink and crimson hues and beautiful pink and purple flowers.

The sky plant is an epiphyte, which means it doesn’t require any soil to develop and as a substitute grows on wooden and timber. You probably have powerful luck conserving houseplants alive, this one ought to be a stroll within the park! All it wants is a few water and vibrant mild – what might go improper?

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

Fast Care Information

Tillandsia ionantha mounted on a piece of bark
Tillandsia ionantha mounted on a bit of bark.
Frequent Title Sky plant, blushing bride sky plant
Scientific Title Tillandsia ionantha, beforehand Tillandsia erubescens
Household Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae)
Top & Unfold 6-12 inches tall, 4-8 inches extensive
Mild Brilliant oblique mild, dappled daylight
Soil None
Water Soak weekly, mist as wanted
Pests & Illnesses 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 regarded as 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 are 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 normally inexperienced on the base and colourful on the factors and bloom tubular purple flowers. They will 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 wherein they may solely flower as soon as of their lifetime and can die shortly after, however the mum or dad plant will develop pups, so that you’ll all the time have one other. When you see flowers, put together to propagate your air plant and assist new pups thrive. 

The sky plant doesn’t want soil because of the trichomes on their leaves, that are cells that gather vitamins and water from timber they develop on. Whereas some bromeliads have wells that gather water, Tillandsia ionantha doesn’t and solely has roots to cling onto surfaces. When you dwell in an space with dry air, you’ll must hold 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 numerous cultivars of air vegetation within the genus Tillandsia, and three kinds of sky vegetation which are tremendous common: T. ionantha “Fuego,” T. ionantha “Rubra,” and T. ionantha “Maxima”. When you’ve seen Tillandsia kinds of sky plant which have a fiery crimson or pink colour, you most likely noticed Fuego because it’s the brightest of the bunch. As a mum or dad plant, it should look its brightest when it will get sufficient mild and it’ll develop shortly and create numerous pups.

Tillandsia ionantha Rubra has two completely different varieties: exhausting and tender. Onerous Rubra has a vertical progress sample since its stiff foliage stays in place. The tender form is often wider and shorter. Maxima appears to be like loads 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 apply 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 normally 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 vibrant however oblique mild. You could find out if your property 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 mild.

Tillandsia ionantha sky vegetation ought to 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. You probably have a north-facing window the place the solar doesn’t come instantly into the room, the windowsill will work simply positive. Offsetting them from fluorescent lights works too. 

A tillandsia air plant ought to 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 may be proud of quick intervals of dappled daylight. 

The best temperature vary is heat, from 60-80°F (16° to 27°C), however they’ll tolerate temperatures all the way down to 50°F (10°C) and as much as 90°F (32°C) in summer season months earlier than they begin to endure injury. They can not deal with chilly winter temperatures. When you’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 for those who’re a first-timer, however you’ll get the grasp 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 for those who’re in a dry local weather, or for those who give your plant numerous daylight and it tends to dry shortly. Equally, for those who place it close to a vent, it could dry out often. 

Give your air plant common misting of heat water between soakings to maintain it hydrated. You’ll solely want to offer moisture through an everyday misting a couple of times per week, however that once more is dependent upon the humidity of its environment. When you’ve acquired a room with a humidifier getting into it often, your air plant will love that further moisture!


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

Utilizing soil could damage your plant by conserving the roots moist for too lengthy, so it’s greatest to keep away from it. Place your Tillandsia ionantha widespread 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. When you do use fertilizer, remember to 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 in every of two methods: feeding within the water you soak your vegetation in, or feeding through 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 tactic that most closely fits you.


Since a Tillandsia ionantha air plant drops outdated leaves, you might not need to prune your plant. When you select to take action, you may pinch off outdated leaves on the base to make room for brand new progress and promote good air circulation. You may take away spent purple flowers or white flowers in the identical method.

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


Tillandsia air plant propagation may 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 progress. The pups develop in a clump across the mom and can finally develop a ball. 

When you just like the look of it, you may definitely hold 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 hold round your property. 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 probably cling onto whichever floor you place it on.

Your newly separated air plant pups will proceed to develop, flower, and finally kind their very own pup clumps that may be propagated after 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 mum or dad tillandsia producing an offshoot or pup.


With a plant that doesn’t want soil, what might go improper? A couple of issues, truly, however you most likely received’t take care of air plant care issues too usually. So long as its base wants are met, Tillandsia ionantha care is straightforward.

Rising Issues

The largest issues you’ll face with a Tillandsia ionantha air plant are doubtless associated to humidity, watering, and daylight. If the guidelines 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 can even point out that the plant is receiving an excessive amount of mild. Do not forget that an excessive amount of mild can scorch the leaves. Observe how a lot vibrant oblique mild your plant is getting to find out if in case you have a water or mild downside for those who’re unsure. If the leaves are on the dry facet and have a splotchy look after they’re moist, it’s most likely receiving an excessive amount of daylight.

When your air plant blooms, it should die, making method for younger vegetation to kind. You may take away the spent blooms throughout the flower interval, however count on to propagate the plant after to assist your new air plant infants thrive. 


Outside Tillandsia vegetation could 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 method to do away with them. 

Mealybugs are an issue for a lot of houseplants, so for those who spot them on the leaves or flower of your air vegetation, it’s best to verify all the pieces else, too! They’re white scale bugs that kind a cotton-like substance on vegetation, normally on the base of leaves or close to the roots. Use rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab on the leaves to do away with them, and rinse the leaves with water.

Within the southernmost components of Florida and California and all through Mexico, you might 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 because of an absence of pure predators. It’ll eat up the leaves and sometimes 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 generally 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 have the ability to 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.

Ceaselessly Requested Questions

Many air plants clustered together
Many air vegetation clustered collectively.

Q: How lengthy do Tillandsia ionantha dwell?

A: Underneath the correct situations, Tillansia ought to dwell for as much as 5 years.

Q: Do you have to soak Tillandsia ionantha?

A: Soaking Tillandsia ionantha is the easiest way 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 per week and misting it each different day or so ought to be sufficient. In humid climates, you might solely must soak each 2 weeks and mist it each few days.

Q: Do air vegetation bloom solely as soon as?

A: The various 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 vibrant 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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