Like most of the plants in the market, it is best to research about the origin of the Tillandsia you are looking to add to your collection. This way, you get an idea on how to take care of them here in the Philippines. You can also try to ask our seasoned hobbyists and collectors in the group on how they tend to their plants.
For a basic care guide on how to take care of these beautiful plants, read on!
- Keep them in a shaded area away from intense afternoon sun especially if you have just bought them. Although some species are more tolerant than others, other species may be acclimatised by gradually increasing the time they are exposed to the sun. Collectors often add 1 hour of sun exposure every week until the plant is fully acclimatised.
- It is easier to figure out how a plant can tolerate sun exposure by basing it on how green or white it is. The whiter the plant, the more sunlight it can take. Great examples include T.xerographica and T.chiapensis. Plants like the T.bulbosa is greener hence it grows under a very shaded area.
- Finally, since the Philippine weather is ever-changing, it is very important that you regularly check how your plant is doing. Plants grown under a shade net or even fully-acclimatised plants can be badly affected by the weather. Changes in color and presence of sunburn are signs that a plant may be happy or not in its growing location. So while it is important to neglect your plants to allow them to grow, you also need to keep an eye if their growing condition is right.
- Make sure that there is ample airflow where your plants are being grown. Tillandsias are plants that collect nutrients and water (moisture) in the air unlike the terrestrial plants we see everyday that absorb water using their roots. These plants do not make use of their roots other than for clinging to rocks, trees, branches, and etc.
- Watering these plants can be tricky but you can make use of how green or white the plant is. The whiter the tillandsia, the more it is able to collect moisture from the air so it does not need to be watered often. Seasoned collectors usually suggest to water once or twice a week. Of course this depends on where you are growing your plants. If a tilly is grown indoors, minimal watering of once a month can benefit the plant. If grown outdoors and where sunlight and airflow are in abundance, watering can done more often.
- Make sure that your tillies dry thoroughly after each watering so they do not rot. Ample airflow helps them to dry and not retain water in their core which causes rot.
- Recommended fertilisers are the ones used for orchids but rainwater and/or pond water are highly recommended since these are full of nutrients (not to mention free!)
- It is advisable to grow these plants hanging by an aluminum wire or an orchid basket so their base gets to dry quick enough. Use of copper wire to mount your tillies is not recommended. Some species like the T.hildae are considered “terrestrial growers” and therefore they thrive when potted in a quick-draining medium. Like orchids and other bromeliads, tillandsias grown potted benefit from quick draining media like coco chips, lava rocks, and charcoal.
- Finally, these guys grow with neglect. You need to make sure that the right amount of TLC is given and not too much. Enjoy and take care of your Tillandsia and you can be sure that they will reward you with stunning flowers and cute pups in return.