Air plants are famous for their low maintenance needs. They are easy to care for but have a reputation for being slow growers. It takes from 2-5 years for most air plants to reach maturity when they first grow from seeds. More interesting is the fact that air plants bloom only once in their lifetime.
In an air plant’s life cycle, the bloom phase is the first stage. It marks the beginning of the reproductive process in the air plant in which it produces an inflorescence. Tillandsia produces different types of blooms in over 600 species. The inflorescences in air plants produce beautiful flowers of different colors. Some of which have vibrant colors, while others are lighter shades.
Read through this article to learn all the important aspects of air plant bloom cycle and air plant flower care.
The Air Plant Bloom Cycle
To understand the air plant bloom cycle, it is important to learn about the life cycle of an air plant. The bloom only begins when the plant is mature and ready to propagate. It starts by producing an inflorescence.
A flower appears from the inflorescence and goes into full bloom. The blooming period lasts for many days to months on end, varying in different types of air plants. The blooming phase requires a lot of energy and it is nature’s way to help air plants attract insects and birds for pollination.
The colorful and sometimes fragrant blossoms attract insects which help in fulfilling the purpose of the bloom.
The parent air plant then starts producing pups once they have bloomed.
When Do Air Plants Bloom?
There are different factors that determine when an air plant will bloom. The air plant’s bloom depends on the environment you keep it in, as well as the season, type and maturity of an air plant.
Another factor that determines when it will bloom is the amount of care it receives. Like most plants, blooming in air plants starts in spring and summer. In these seasons, the days become longer and the plants become exposed to light for longer.
It is quite common for nurseries to use ethylene gas to make air plants to bloom. Due to the appeal of a blooming air plant in a store, they will even make the air plant bloom even before they are mature.
In their natural habitat, it takes much longer for the air plants to bloom. The time of the bloom varies even in the same species of air plants let alone in different types. The same species of air plants that might bloom in 5-7 years in one environment might take around 25 years to bloom in another environment.
It all comes down to appropriate care and conditions provided to the air plants for blooming.
How Often Do Air Plants Bloom?
As mentioned earlier, air plants bloom only once in their lifetime. The inflorescence or the bloom can last from days to months. Some air plants produce only one flower while others might grow many flowers.
Your air plant might bloom only once but it will be worth the wait and care. Besides, you can expect the formation of pups right after it blooms.
How to Care for Air Plant Blooms?
There are over 600 species of air plants which makes it difficult to generalize instructions about air plant flower care.
The most basic and important aspect of care for blooming air plants is the appropriate watering of the plant. You will have to be especially careful that you do not wet the flower while watering. For this reason, it is better not to soak or dunk the whole plant. You can mist, dunk or hold the plant under flowing water while keeping the bloom out of the way. If the blossom gets too wet, it can rot or wilt.
Since blooming is an energy-intensive process, your air plant will need more water than usual to provide energy to the bloom as well as the pup. Following care instructions about light, temperature and fertilizer are also important to follow.
What Happens After Your Air Plant Blooms?
During the blooming phase, the air plant directs all is energy to the bloom. You might notice that your plants get drier quicker than before because it keeps on using its energy for bloom and for producing pups.
After the air plant bloom cycle, the pups grow at the base of the plant or under the protection of the dead leaves of the air plant. You can easily separate the pup from the air plant after it has grown to one-third of the size of the parent air plant.
From there on, the pup goes through its own cycle of maturity, bloom, and propagation.
With appropriate conditions and meticulous care, you can help your air plant bloom. Your air plant might take some time to bloom but it is important not to rush the process. Adequate watering, fertilizer, and air plant flower care will help your air plant thrive through the whole process. The bloom will be worth the wait so enjoy it while it lasts.
Do air plants die after flowering?
The bloom of the air plants lasts from weeks to months. Like all living things, air plants also have a limited life cycle. The blooming process is nature’s design to help the plant attract insects for pollination. It prepares the plant to produce baby air plants or pups. The life cycle of an air plant might end after the bloom but it will leave behind pups which helps the air plants to multiply them.
How do you care for air plant flowers?
When the air plant is going through its bloom phase, it needs more water than usual as it directs its energy to the bloom and pups. While you will have to water the air plant to provide for this extra energy, you will also have to be careful not to wet the flower when you water the plant.
How long do air plant flowers last?
Most air plant flowers last from a couple of days to a week. There are some types of air plants, like Tillandsia Xerographica and Tillandsia Harrisii, that have large inflorescences.