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Oh my! The once-in-a-lifetime season for your air plants has come! Yes, we are talking about the blooming season. Tillandsias reward their keepers with an inexplicably beautiful flowering season once in their entire lifespan. It happens only once; it is both a good and sad thing. It’s good because this makes the whole season so unique. It’s unfortunate because we all wish the blooming would happen more than once, right?
Giving your tillandsias the best care is essential to ensure the blooming lasts. You can encourage pup formation and pollinate the flowers if you allow them to seeds; you have another chance of growing these beautiful plants.
The air plant blooming process signifies the beginning of the all-important reproductive process. The appearance of the blooms is often highly dependent on the air plant species. Most tillandsias will have eye-catching flowers in various colors, including purple, red, yellow, or pink. One Tillandsia may have one flower, while the next gets numerous flowers emerging from a single bloom.
Additionally, it is worth noting that the blooms’ duration varies. If you are lucky, your Tillandsia will have a flowering season over several months, commonly known as a bloom spike or inflorescence. It mostly happens with bigger plants such as Tillandsia xerographica.
The blooming season may last just a few days or weeks for other air plants.
But it doesn’t matter how long the blooming season lasts. The sight is always beautiful and something all Tillandsia enthusiasts look forward to. Considering how much we anticipate the blooming season, one big question arises: what do you do after air plants flower? Knowing the next steps after this fascinating season with your air plants is very important.
We have prepared this post to shed more light on this with the utmost understanding of your curiosity. Continue reading to learn more.
Things To Do After Air Plants Flower
For starters, let’s talk about the one very beneficial thing that happens after the blooming process, pup formation. The pups are the babies of the parent air plant. It’s worth noting that the blooming season indicates that your air plant is nearing the end of its life cycle.
Some air plants may stay for a few days or 2 to 4 weeks before dying after blooming. Bigger plants, however, can live on for up to a year.
This fact signifies how essential pup formation is for the generation of air plants. The pups that resemble baby tillandsias at the start will grow into mature air plants and recreate the entire lifecycle of the air plant. Therefore, when we talk about what you need to do after air plants flower, we see it fit to mention the things that encourage pup formation because of how important this is for the plant’s future.
Here’s what to do after air plants flower:
Continue taking care of the plants in a special way!
You probably wonder if there is a particular way to look after your tillandsias after they bloom. We confirm that there is. You will continue watering and feeding your plant just as you should. However, there’s particular practice during the watering process. When watering a blooming tillandsia, you must avoid wetting the flowers. Soaking the plant, you need to hold the plant to get water to the rest but spare the flower.
Considering how beautiful the flowers are, you cannot risk having them rot or wilt because of leaving them in water. Another important thing you need to remember is that air plants invest a lot of energy in the blooming process; therefore, they may need more water, so you have to increase the watering frequency. You can also add bromeliad fertilizer to your water to keep the plant healthy.
Keep up with the regular care routine for your plant, which includes ensuring they get bright indirect sunlight and ample air circulation. As much as your air plant is in the final stages of its life, you still want to ensure it stays happy. Keeping it healthy can extend its days and allow the pups to form to have new plants soon.
Encourage pup formation.
We have emphasized how vital pups are for the future of the plant. Once your air plants flower, you can do something to encourage the pup formation process. As mentioned earlier, the blooming process takes up significant amounts of energy from the plant. Wouldn’t it be better if this energy is channeled into pup formation?
If your air plant has a flowering stem or inflorescence, we advise that you remove it. It will pave the way for the next growth stage to begin and allow the Tillandsia to focus all its energy on the formation of pups.
Feel free to take some time to enjoy your flowers and only cut them off once they are past their prime stage. You can snip the entire spike of flowers or pull away the dead flowers from the plant. The pups will start to form after the flowers are gone, and this process could take some time and therefore calls for patience from you. You also want to allow the pups to be strong enough before you can take them and begin creating new plants.
Pollinate the flowers.
Another thing to do after tillandsia flowers is pollination. You may have plans to grow new air plants from seeds instead of waiting for the pups, and this will make it necessary for you to pollinate the flowers to get the seeds. Growing air plants from seeds is a slow process, but the advantage is getting more robust plants and having a fantastic experience.
Because the flowering season in air plants is short, you will need to act fast with the pollination. Most air plants can self-pollinate, which means you can transfer pollen grains from the stamen (male part of the flower) to the stigma (female part). After this pollination act, the next thing you do is wait.
If successful, you will notice that after the flower withers, the spot will darken, and a seed pod will form.
Within this closed and elongated pod, you will find the seeds. The pod will burst open when the seeds are ready to come out. You will notice they resemble dandelion seeds with fluffy hairs that make it easy for them to be transported by wind naturally. But in your case, you can pick up the roots and go through the germination process to create new tillandsias.
Enjoy the Season!
Don’t dwell so much on what will happen after the blooming season that you forget to enjoy the season right after you tillandsia flowers. Depending on the tillandsia species, you may have a small or large bloom. We are sure that Tillandsia flowers are beautiful, regardless of size. Enjoy watching your air plants radiating more beauty during this season.
You can even invite relatives and friends to show off your pretty plant. And why not? After all the effort you have put in to care for your Tillandsia, it is during the blooming season that it will make you an even more proud Tillandsia parent. Also, because you know that the blooming season will not last too long, don’t forget to capture the same memories through photos and videos.
Take high-quality images and timelapse videos of your Tillandsia during this glorious season, and feel free to share the same with your social media family. We are confident that the fantastic comments you will get from these posts will make you even happier. Don’t be surprised when other Tillandsia enthusiasts request advice on caring for their plants.
A good plan after tillandsia flowers is to bask in the glory of this accomplishment as the parent is indeed a beautiful moment, and you need to enjoy every minute of it. Display it nicely in your space and let your eyes feast on the view while it lasts.
After tillandsia flowers, the next thing you expect is the plant dying. Sad as this may be, you will derive comfort from having pups (offsets) or seeds, and you can start the process all over again. Therefore, the next thing on your mind should be propagation after your tillandsia flowers. You can decide to propagate your Tillandsia from the pups or seeds.
If you choose to propagate your Tillandsia from the pups, wait until they are a good size before taking them away from the parent plant. Preferably, you can let them be a third the size of parent tillandsia. You will be pleased to see how much they closely resemble the mother plant, and they will renew your hope of having new tillandsias soon. Next, you will separate them from the mother and start afresh with the new plants.
Be gentle in the pup removal process, as most are fragile. Care for your newly acquired plants as you did with your Tillandsia by providing adequate light, water, air circulation, and nutrition using a bromeliad fertilizer. After removing the pups, the mother may live on for some time, give you another set of pups, or die off.
Alternatively, you can go a long way and propagate your Tillandsia from seeds that will be applicable if you pollinate the flowers or buy new seeds from your local gardening center.
For more information about Tillandsias, here is a Complete tillandsia care guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
What to do with Tillandsia after flowering?
After an air plant blooms, the best thing you can do is to continue watering it and giving it adequate sunlight. Now is also an excellent time to fertilize as this can help with pup growth. Soon you might notice tiny “pups” under the leaves of the mother plant.
How fast does Tillandsia Xerographica grow?
Tillandsia xerographica can take years to grow large enough to produce a bloom and pups. Small T. xerographica plants around 4-5 inches in diameter can be 3-5 years old.
How do I get my Tillandsia to bloom?
Place your Tillandsia under a deciduous tree, in a north-facing window, or in another spot with 50 percent shade. Filtered light encourages blooming. Move the Tillandsia to a brighter place if you don’t see blooms, as insufficient sunlight can inhibit blossoming.
How big does Tillandsia grow?
A full-grown Tillandsia Bulbosa produces large bulbous bases ranging between 2 to an astounding 9 inches in circumference and 18 inches in height. Their narrow, curled-up leaves can spread to a length of 8 to 10 inches.
Can you prune air plants?
Take care when trimming or pruning the leaves of your air plant, making sure not to cut off too much of the length of the healthy leaves—while hardy and tolerant, cutting the air plant’s leaves down too much will reduce the surface area for the plant to absorb its nutrients.
Are your air plants in the blooming season? The wait is finally over, and the fantastic season is here. We have given you ideas on what to do with your Tillandsia after they flower to make it even better. Be sure to savor the moment as much as possible. You can then shift your focus to re-creating the beautiful cycle through propagation. Don’t forget to care for your blooming plants too.
Do you have any additional questions for us on all things Tillandsia? Ask away. Reading our previous posts will also prove to be quite resourceful. We are glad you found time to read this to the end.