Do you know some plants can grow in the air? The unique plants which don’t need soil or common growth medium are known as Air Plants. They can grow on unusual growing mediums like wood, stones, slates plastic, or even a sock. These epiphyte plants attach themselves to the host plant getting water and nutrients from the air. Interesting! Isn’t it? We are introducing another air plant to you, the Tillandsia bulbosa.
It is native to Guatemala, Belize, and Central America. This plant is adaptive to living in both indoor and outdoor environments. The multi-habitat plant is usually found growing under the trees in the wild. An average plant is about 18 cm in height with long slanderous leaves.
The smooth pointed leaves are weird and wavy in appearance attached to a bulbous base in a rosette pattern. The green leaves get beautiful orchard-red shade when the plant blooms with attractive purple or red flowers. This unusual plant forms beautiful decorations in different forms.
In this article, we will share some facts about the Bulbosa Air Plant, Tillandsia bulbosa Care, and growth.
Tillandsia Bulbosa Classification
This detail of botanical classification is given below;
Species: T. bulbosa
Tillandsia is the largest genus of the family Bromeliaceae. There are about 650 different members of this diverse genus. Tillandsia plants are native to the Northern and Southern states of America.
These are perennial flowering plants with evergreen foliage. The majority of these plants have special cells for absorbing the surface water. These cells are trichomes and give a silvery shade to the plant leaves. However, the Bulbosa Air Plant lacks Trichomes. Now coming towards the habitat, the Tillandsias can successfully dwell on a variety of habitats.
Tillandsia Bulbosa Plant Features
In this section, we will share the basic facts about the appearance and nature of the bulbosa air plant.
- The height of the plant is 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30cm) in common. However, some species may grow as tall as 35 cm with the basal bulb having a width of about 9cm.
- Leaves of an average plant are 2.5 inches to 8 inches (6 to 20.32 cm) long and less than an inch in width.
- The leaves of a single mature bulb are 7 to 25 in number arranged in a rosette pattern. We can define Rosette as the typical rose-like arrangement of leaves or petals.
- Bulbosa plants may be confused with succulents due to thick leaves and drought tolerance. However, in reality,y they are not succulents.
Tillandsia bulbosa Flower
The important features are as under;
- The plant produces bright and prominent tubular flowers, with cherry-red or pinkish petals having lavender purple tips and yellow stamens. These are the typical Tillandsian flowers.
- The length of the inflorescence is 2 to 7 cm.
- The non-fragrant flowers give prominent red or pink shade to the foliage. Tillandsia bulbosa Flower is known to attract butterflies and other pollinating insects.
- The blooming season is from early spring to the middle of the summer.
- Just like other Tillandsias, these plants produce small baby plants attached at the base of the parent plant. These pups or baby plants grow to form clusters of adjoined air plants know as clumps.
- Air plants are usually monocarpic in nature and blooming is usually the peak of life or the start of maturity. But, don’t worry as your plant will not die immediately. A, they produce 2 to 8 pups before dying which grow out to replace the mother plant and form clusters. (Monocarpic plants are the plants that die after flowering for once.)
The plant has numerous varieties. Some of the Tillandsia bulbosa varieties are as under;
- Tillandsia bulbosa var. brasiliensis.
- Tillandsia bulbosa var. picta.
- T. bulbosa f.alba Takiz.
- Tillandsia bulbosa var. Belize.
- Tillandsia bulbosa var. Guatemala
These plants are extensively cultivated. Some of the popular cultivars include the following;
Tillandsia ‘Canina, Tillandsia ‘Chanza’, Tillandsia ‘First Born, Tillandsia ‘Joel’, Tillandsia ‘June Bug’, Tillandsia ‘Kacey’, Tillandsia ‘Timm’s Twister’ and Tillandsia ‘Veteran’.
The Myrmecophyte Tillandsia Bulbosa
Insects like common bugs love to make their homes in the bulbs of this plant. They make numerous holes in the plant base making internal layers in the bulb. This is a win-win relationship. The dwellers provide the nutrients in the form of the scraps of collected food materials.
Thus, when you get a Bulbosa air plant, make sure you use insecticide sprays just like the nurseries to avoid insect growth. Unless you are ready for some unwanted insect guests.
Tillandsia bulbosa Care
How to take care of my Bulbosa plant? We have good news for you. This air plant is pretty easy and a low-maintenance plant.
The plant loves water, warmth, and a humid environment. Let us learn important facts about the care and requirements of this plant.
Unlike the majority of the Tillandsias, this plant lacks trichomes. Thus, it requires more watering as compared to other air plants. You can mist or spray the plant three to four times a week in summer. However, about twice a week is enough in winter.
Soaking is a common method for air plants. Some people soak the plant twice or thrice a week and then air dry it by turning it upside down. However, we don’t recommend soaking this plant. Any standing water at the base of the bulb may be a perfect invitation to the rotting of the plant.
Your Bulbosa will love frequent outdoor trips for a few hours to soak in some good sunlight and fresh air. This plant need loves lots of bright but filtered sunlight. Furthermore, direct exposure to sunlight for long hours may burn the plant.
This plant shows good tolerance for low light. Thus, you don’t need to worry about keeping it at any corner of your home. It is well-adaptive to artificial light. But make sure the light source is more than 20 cm away from the plant body.
One important requirement is keeping it in a warm temperature range. The optimum temperature range is 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. During the fierce winter days, we recommend you transfer the plant to a warm place.
The plant is native to rainy forest, love humidity. On hot and dry days, adding a humidifier in the room can help the plant get adequate humidity. Please make sure the plant gets enough aeration to avoid issues like plant rot
Just like other air plants, the Bulbosa plants don’t need soil to grow. You can use anything to form a good substrate like a slate, stone, a wood slab, or even a sock to grow the plant. Vases are commonly used for decorative air plants. But vases usually don’t provide good aeration. You can ever use some wire or mild glue to stick the air plant to your window sill.
Does the question arise that how to feed an air plant when it lives without soil? Yes, you should fertilize it because the foliage shows good results with fertilizer.
You can use a suitable air plant fertilizer mixed in water.
If you are lucky enough to have an aquarium or a pond around, you can water the plant with this water. The pond and aquarium water will serve as a mild fertilizer with the nutrients obtained from the aquatic life.
The ideal USDA growth zones for hardiness are 9 to 11.
Tillandsia Bulbosa Propagation
Common methods for the propagation of this air plant are as under;
• Division by rhizome, tubers, corms, or bulbs.
Propagation by Seeds
Seed propagation is a process for patient people. It takes more than 2 years to get an adult ornamental plant.
Propagation by Division
Do you want to try propagating your T. bulbosa plant? You can propagate this plant by dividing an adult puppy-producing plant.
Make sure the puppies are at least half to two-thirds of the size of the mother plant before you separate them for replanting. You can propagate the plant in the early morning or afternoon hours.
Let us have a look at the summary of plant propagation.
- Unfix a healthy parent plant from its medium. Now, let it absorb some water for a while.
- Spread the plant and its leaves to cut the puppies.
- Let the puppies soak in some water from a bowl. Meanwhile, the parent plant should be re-fixed at its place.
- Mount the puppies on the desired medium.
- Your propagation is complete. Just select some warm places and provide the water by misting or spraying.
Have a look at our estimate about the growth process of the plant. However, it is better to be attentive towards the plant to understand and manage its changing requirements regularly.
- Day 1: Place the well-mounted pups in some suitable place.
- Day 2- Day 30: Water the pups regularly by spraying. Don’t forget to dry the baby plants, in order to avoid plant issues. You can shake or even invert the plant to remove any standing water at the base.
- Day 30- Day 60: Plantlets don’t need much water at this stage. Watering the plant twice or thrice a week is enough.
- Day 60 and onwards: Plantlets are settled and seem to be growing. Now, your plants don’t need much attention, just follow the common Tillandsia bulbosa Care and Bang! You can even shift the plant and its medium outdoors permanently or for a few hours to enjoy some light and aeration.
Experts recommend transferring the plant to a warm region before the fall.
Tillandsia Bulbosa For Sale
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Tillandsia bulbosa is an air plant belonging to the genus Tillandsia, the largest and most diverse genus of its family Bromeliaceae. It is well-adaptive to both indoor and outdoor environments. The leaves are green, long, wavy, and slanderous in shape.
These get purple or reddish in color when the plant blooms with prominent and beautiful purple or red flowers. The plants love frequent watering, warmth, and humidity. Interestingly, you can grow them on any medium like slate, wood, plastic, and even a sock.