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Air Plant Tillandsia ionantha

Other plants called Air Plant:

Previously known as:

  • Tillandsia erubescens
Phonetic Spelling
til-LAND-see-uh eye-oh-NAN-tha
Description

Air Plant is a bromeliad that is an epiphyte or lithophyte.  It is small and attractive and easy to grow. When the plant is getting ready to bloom the top leaves will turn bright red. Air plants use tiny vessels located throughout their leaves called trichomes to capture nutrients and moisture from the air.

They should not be planted in soil but can be placed in pots or mounted on objects. They require regular misting as their native habitat is humid. Be sure to gently shake any excess water from the leaves. Provide them with bright indirect lighting. They will live for several years and produce pups to become a clump. These can be removed to make a new plant if desired. Us a foliar fertilizer made for air plants only.

There are many cultivars available that provide variable leaf color.

Quick ID

  • Grass-like leaves are blue-green, entire, covered with gray scales
  • Absence of true roots (not anchored to soil)
  • Leaves are succulent with wide, flattened bases
  • Flower is blue-violet, a short spike with red bracts
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#cultivars#houseplant#red leaves#blue flowers#epiphytic#interiorscape#fantz#spiky#soilless
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#cultivars#houseplant#red leaves#blue flowers#epiphytic#interiorscape#fantz#spiky#soilless
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tillandsia
    Species:
    ionantha
    Family:
    Bromeliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Nicaragua, Mexico, Costa Rica, and South America
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 4 in. - 0 ft. 8 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Epiphyte
    Houseplant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    A subcylindric capsule .5" long, seeds have feathery tufts of hair and are dispersed by wind.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Description:
    The inflorescence is a very short terminal spike. A reduced panicle that looks spike-like with violet-purple petals and yellow stamens.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are in a rosette, simple, linear-lanceolate, acute, bases wide and flattened, entire, succulent, medium green covered with absorbent gray scales, to 2.5 in; inner leaves flush red before flowering.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stem is short, simple; roots few, wiry.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Houseplants