Air plants are a unique genus of plants whose roots don’t need soil or a typical growth medium to grow. They grow on unusual growing mediums like slate, wooden slabs, or stones. In wild, they are epiphyte plants, hanging to the host plant absorbing water and nutrients from the air. Tillandsia juncea is one such saxicolous and large air plant, without which any air plant collection will be pretty incomplete.
It is native to several countries including Mexico, West Indies, and America. This plant is adaptive to living in both indoor and outdoor environments. It belongs to multiple habitats in wild including mountains, deserts, forests, and riverbanks. It is Popular for its towering appearance with numerous green long, slender, and delicate bunched leaves which are brown from the base, this plant looks great on desktop pots or hanging baskets. This unusual plant can grow in any position, even upside down! Interesting, isn’t it? Let’s learn some facts about this strange Juncea tillandsia plant along with its care and requirements.
Tillandsia Juncea Classification
The details of scientific classification are mentioned below:
Species: T. juncea.
Tillandsia is the largest and highly diverse genus of the family Bromeliaceae. Around 650 unique species are recorded in this genus. These are adapted to multiple habitats and native to the United States of America, Mexico, Mesoamerica, and the Caribbean up till the middle of Argentina. Tillandsias are evergreen, herbaceous, and perennial flowering plants. The silver-shaded leaves are covered with trichomes. Trichomes are special cells for absorbing surface water.
Tillandsia Juncea Other Names
The plant has many names. These names are mentioned below:
Acanthospora juncea, Bonapartea juncea, Misandra juncea, Platystachys juncea, Tillandsia juncifolia, and Tillandsia quadrangularis.
Tillandsia Juncea Important Features
Some important facts about the juncea air plant are mentioned below:
- Their air plant absorbs water from the surface of its leaves and not roots.
- They produce small baby plants. These are attached at the base of the parent plant and are separable. If left attached, these pups will grow to form clusters of adjoined air plants know as clumps.
- The plant may reach up to a height of 50 cm.
Leaves of the plant:
- The foliage is green in color and turns reddish near the blooming period.
- The leaves of the plant are large in number.
- They are supple and arranged in a typical rosette pattern. (The rose-like typical pattern of leaves or petals in a plant is called rosette).
- The length of a mature leaf is around 5 to 10 cm.
- Sheaths are brown in color and triangular or oval.
Flower of The Plant:
- The inflorescence of the juncea tillandsia plant is unusually long reaching up a length of 50 cm in length.
- It has numerous small ears. It can be a single polysic spike with a few flowers.
- The flowerings stem are scaly, nested, and reddish. The flowers are non-fragrant, sessile, and have a tube-like shape.
- The length of each flower is around 4cm.
- Petals are colored in shades of purple
Tillandsia Juncea Cultivars
The juncea air plant is hybridized in too many cultivars. Popular cultivars are named below;
Tillandsia But, Tillandsia Cataco, Tillandsia Little Star, and Tillandsia Sea Urchin.
Tillandsia Juncea Care
This is an easy to care plant. In this section, we will share important information regarding the juncea air plant care and requirements. It is important to mention here that the requirements of the plants are dependent and may change according to the environment and growth zone of the area.
The water requirements of air plants are quite different from others. You need to soak the plant for about 10 minutes in a bowl of water every week. Additionally, in dry weather, you can mist the plant twice or thrice a week. However, this plant is highly drought tolerant.
As mentioned, this plant absorbs water from the leaf surface and not from the roots. Experts recommend keeping the plant in a place of good aeration to dry the foliage. Keeping the plant wet for long hours may welcome issues like fungus and root rot. However, it is never suitable for the plant to keep it near fans, heaters, or air conditioners to dry. As direct air pressure and intense temperature will damage the plant.
This plant need likes plenty of bright indirect sunlight. It can survive indoors where light is available. Furthermore, long exposure to direct and intense sunlight may harm the plant.
One important part of tillandsia juncea care is keeping it in a warm temperature range. The ideal temperature range for the plant is 50°F to 80°F. This plant can’t withstand cool temperatures (0° C) for more than a few hours. Furthermore, experts advise transferring the outdoor potted plants inside to warm locations on the arrival of the fall.
The plant needs moderate humidity. Furthermore, it likes good aeration to dry the plant after watering.
Providing a suitable substrate is an important part of the juncea air plant care. Just like some other members of tillandsia, juncea plant also needs a mounting space with minimum water retaining ability. This plant can grow on unusual things like slate, wooden slabs, or stones. Covering the plant base with moss or soil may result in rotting.
You can fertilize the Juncea air plant moderately. Fertilizing the plant once a month is enough in summer. However, in winter, fertilizing once in three months will be enough. Experts recommend using a bromeliad food after diluting it in water. In case this food is unavailable, the simple arid mixture will do the job. The method of fertilization is pretty unusual. You need to dip the plant in a fertilizer solution for a few hours.
Tillandsia Juncea Propagation
Common methods of propagation are;
- Propagation by seeds.
- By division of the plant.
Propagation by Seeds:
This method is a very slow process. It takes usually 2 to 3 years to get adult and decorative plants.
Propagation by Division:
The best method to propagate the air plants is through the division of a mature plant or pups.
Early morning or afternoon hours are suitable for this process.
The important steps of the division are mentioned below:
- Remove the parent plant from its growing plane. Now dip it in a bowl of water to soak for two to three hours.
- Take the plant out and place it on a flat surface. Softly spread the leaves find and cut the puppies out gently.
- Soak the puppies in the water bowl.
- Put and fix the parent plant to its original medium.
- Now it’s the turn of the puppies. You can even mount them on the same medium as the parent, providing there is enough aeration space.
- Use a slate, stone, a wood slab, or even a sock to grow the plant. Furthermore, a wire, strong thread, or even glue will help you to fix the plant on the growing medium.
- Now place the plant in a warm place with indirect sunlight and frequent misting.
Tillandsia Juncea Timeline
We are sharing an estimated timeline to explain the growth pattern of this plant. Importantly, you should 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 or early afternoon. Provide a warm area with mild indirect light. Always make sure that you dry the baby plants after watering. You may even turn the medium upside down to remove any standing water on the leaf surface.
- Day 30 – Day 60: By this time, the baby plants will get settled on their medium independently. At this stage, you can mildly fertilize the plant. However, decrease the misting frequency to twice or thrice a week.
- Day 60 onwards: The plant is settled and seems to be growing. You are free to reduce your attention and can even shift it outdoors. However, experts recommend transferring the plant to a warm region before the fall.
Tillandsia juncea is an air plant belonging to the genus Tillandsia, the largest and most diverse genus of its family Bromeliaceae. This plant can grow both indoors and outdoors. This is an important plant for new air plant lovers and a highlighting species in every air plant collection.
Towering appearance and long thin leaves, the Juncea air plant is green in color with a brown base. These are highly drought-tolerant and easy to grow. Additionally, the care and propagation of these plants are unique and different from other plants. Furthermore, this strange plant can grow in any direction, even upside down.