Our planet is richly blessed with different plant varieties. Copious forms of plants are beautifying different layers of the earth. Tillandsia capitata is one such unique plant.
It is an exotic and saxicolous air plant. These plants are epiphyte in nature, which means their roots don’t grow in soil. That is why they are known as ‘air plants’. The average height of a plant is 50cm. August Heinrich Rudolf Grisebach introduced them in 1886.
The plant has thick elongated rosette leaves of grayish light green color. These are native to Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic and adaptive to living both indoors and outdoors. In wild, they are found dwelling on mountains, forests, deserts, and riverbanks. The interesting fact about these plants is that you don’t need any typical growing media like soil to grow them. Additionally, they can be decorative plants growing on anything like slate, driftwood, stones, mounts, and even a nylon sock. Interesting, isn’t it? Let’s share some important information regarding the interesting Capitata air plant along with its growth timeline.
Tillandsia Capitata Classification
The details of scientific classification are as under:
Species: T. capitata.
The genus tillandsia is the largest genus of its vast family. It comprises evergreen, perennial, flowering plants. These herbaceous plants show a diverse range of morphological and physiological patterns in the species. Native to Mexico, southeastern United States, and Argentina, these are well adapted to live in mountains, deserts, and forests. The leaves have silvery shades and are covered with special cells, the trichomes. Trichomes have the ability to absorb surface water.
Tillandsia Capitata Important Features
Some important facts about the plant are mentioned below:
- Air plants are a unique form of plants that don’t need soil or any substrate for growth. They attach them to the host plant or can grow in the air or in the moving sand of desserts. Additionally, they absorb water and nutrients from the host through their long leaves
- These plants are nocturnal in nature. This means that unlike other plants, they breathe in carbon dioxide at night.
- They produce small baby plants attached at the base of the parent plant. You can separate these pups to form new plants. If left attached, these pups will grow into adult plants and form clumps. Clumps are basically a number of plant bodies attached and growing together.
Leaves of the plant
- The other name of this plant is ‘Tillandsia tepheropylla’. However, some botanists consider teperophylla different enough to be an independent species.
- The leaves of the plant are curved from the edges.
- The length of a mature leaf is around 5 to 8 cm.
Flower of the plant
- Each plant produces 1 to 5 flowers at a time.
- The primary bracts with short blades exceed the long axillary spikes.
- The inflorescence of the plant is 4 to 7 cm in length.
- The structure of the inflorescence is polystichous ellipsoid and ends in a compact head.
- The floral bracts are around 35mm long and ovate.
- The flower is bright purple in color, subsessile, tube-like shape, and around 4cm in length.
- The petals of the flower have shades of blue and purple. In addition, they are narrow, tubular, and erect with a length of 35 to 50 mm.
Tillandsia Capitata Types and Cultivars
The Capitata air plant has many different forms and cultivars. It is interesting to note that the foliage keeps on changing its colors in different conditions. These conditions include exposure to light intensity, blooming stage, or the age of the plant.
These are the further forms of the Capitata plant. The basic feature of differentiation is the color of the plant’s foliage, which gives an identical name to the plant. All other botanical features and structures are the same.
Tillandsia capitata Peach is a common type of the capitata plant.
Further types include Red, Yellow, and Maroon.
These plant species have further varieties in each type.
The plant is hybridized to form many cultivars. Popular cultivars include;
Tillandsia Bacchus, Tillandsia Lorenzo, Love knot, Marron, Pink Velvet, Red Fountain, Rio Hondo, and Vicente Bacaya.
Tillandsia Capitata Peach
This is a hard air plant and easy to grow. It gets its name from the distinct peach shade of its long and delicate leaves. The Capitata peach will get orange or red shade under the exposure of bright light. Additionally, the capitata peach air plant foliage gets pink in color when it is about to bloom.
One strange fact about the plant is that the tillandsia capitata peach usually dies just after blooming.
The Capitata peach air plant care includes providing bright direct sunlight. So it is better to keep the plant outdoors or in an area with plenty of bright sunlight like a window. However, you can take the plant inside on cold winter days.
Tillandsia Capitata Care
In this section, we will share important information regarding the plant’s requirements and care.
The plant needs average watering. You can water by misting or spraying twice a week in summer. While once a week watering is enough in winter. If the plant is living outdoors, rainy days don’t require watering. It is important to water them in the day up to early afternoon. As already mentioned above, the plants are nocturnal. Thus, never mist them in the evening or night. As water will cover the pores and the plants will be unable to breathe in carbon dioxide at night. Furthermore, always put the plant upside down after watering. This will help the plant to get dry and reduce the chances of rotting.
This plant needs plenty of bright sunlight. So the foliage is pretty healthy in an open environment. However, long exposure to intense direct sunlight may harm the plant. Furthermore, you can also place it indoors in a window with direct sun exposure. The sunlight requirement of the plant decreases in winter.
The ideal temperature range for the plant is 15 to 40°C. Experts advise transferring the outdoor plant to a warm place to maintain healthy foliage in frosty winters.
It is an important fact about the Tillandsia capitata care that it needs plenty of aeration. Always make sure that the plant gets dry after the watering. Over a humid environment may result in plant issues like rotting, fungus, and pest attacks.
This plant needs a mounting space with minimum water retaining ability. You can also use a wire to fix the plant to the substrate. It is seen that covering the plant base with moss may result in rotting. This nature of growing without needing soil or proper growing media is pretty interesting. People prefer to group them in decorative clumps to get attractive looking foliage.
The capitata peach air plant care does not include an excess of fertilizer. However, you can fertilize it moderately. Fertilization frequency of once a month is suitable in summer. While in winter you may add fertilizer once in three months. You can use a bromeliad food and mix it in water. Submerge the plant for six to 12 hours in that bowl. Additionally, you can use a simple orchid mix in case you don’t have the bromeliad food.
Tillandsia Capitata Propagation
Propagation by division:
The best method to propagate this plant is through the division of a mature plant or pups. Experts recommend doing the propagation process in the morning or afternoon hours. Important steps are as under;
- Remove the parent plant from its growing plane and dip it in a bowl of water. Let the water soak in the whole plant body for about two to three hours.
- Now take the plant out of the water and place it on a flat surface. Gently take the pups out by spreading the leaves. These small baby plants attached to the base of the parent plant are known as pups.
- Now use cutters or your fingers to gently separate the pups from the plant. Don’t pull from the upper region as it will pull the leaves out.
- Now soak the pups in a water bowl and re fix the parent plant of the growing medium.
- Now mount the pups on their medium. You can even mount them on the same medium as the parent, providing there is enough aeration space.
- Mounting on Substrate: You can use a slate, stone, a wood slab, or even a sock to grow the plant. Furthermore, a wire, strong thread, or even glue can help you to fix the plant on the growing medium.
- Now place the plants along with their mounting medium in a warm place with plenty of light.
- Mildly spray the pups every day in the morning or afternoon.
Propagation by Seeds:
You can also plant the seeds to get the plant. However, this is a lengthy process and the seedlings will remain 1 inch in size during the first year. The growth frequency will slightly increase in the next years. However, they may take two to three years to become an adult and decorative plants.
Tillandsia Capitata Timeline
In this section, we are sharing an estimated detail of the growth pattern of the plant in form of a timeline. However, it is always important to keep the plants under observation and manage the requirements accordingly.
- Day 1: Fix the baby plant on their medium and place the medium in a suitable place.
- Day 2- Day 30: Mist the baby plants gently every day in the morning. Keep it in a warm and moderately lighted area.
- Day 30 – Day 60: By this time, the pups will be settled on their medium as independent plants. You can even mildly fertilize by this stage. Reduce the misting frequency to twice or thrice a week by now.
- Day 60 onwards: The plant is growing by now. Now you can reduce your attention. This plant can now dwell in an outdoor environment. However, in winter, it is better to transfer the plant to a warm region.
Tillandsia capitata is an exotic, perennial, and epiphytic plant. Epiphytes can grow without soil or typical growing media, thus known as air plants. An average plant reaches a height of 50 cm. Tillandsia is the largest genus of the family Bromeliaceae. The care and propagation of these plants are pretty unique and differ a lot from other plants. Moreover, they are adaptive to growing both indoors and outdoors.