In recent years, the popularity of air plants, or Tillandsia, has surged. This is in thanks to the ease of growing, unique and creative displays, and the ability to grow in unconventional areas.
Their undeniable charm can add an attractive look and personality to homes, offices, and other indoor spaces. These low maintenance plants are a perfect choice for garden lovers who don’t have a lot of time on their hands. They are also good for those who like to display living greenery in around them.
Tillandsia Bulbosa is one of the 650 different species in the Tillandsia genus. It’s native to Central and South America, West Indies, southern Mexico, Venezuela, and eastern Brazil. It has waving bright green leaves that twist out from its bulbous base.
Tillandsia Bulbosa is a beautiful, “architectural” plant that can light up any space. From its origin to how to care for it, here you will find out everything you need to know about Tillandsia Bulbosa.
What is Tillandsia Bulbosa?
Tillandsia Bulbosa is an air plant that’s found in regions like Mexico, the United States, and Brazil. It frequents coastal areas, hammocks, and strands.
The plant grows in dense masses on trees in thick forests, in mangrove thickets, and on lianas on along river shores. You will see them at sea level but they can also grow at elevations of up to 1300 meters.
This species grows best in conditions where it’s exposed to bright filtered light, warm temperatures, and high humidity. They respond well to frequent watering and lower light levels compared to the Xeric varieties of air plant.
The name ‘Tillandsia’ was coined by Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician. His inspiration was another Swedish born physician Dr. Elias Tillandz. The scientific name of this bulbous species of the Tillandsia plant is Tillandsia Bulbosa.
Didn’t see that one coming 😉
Tillandsia Bulbosa is also known by Tillandsia Pumila and Tillandsia Erythraea.
It is a species of the genus Tillandsia and belongs to the family of Bromeliaceae.
Tillandsia Bulbosa blooms from simple green or red spikes that spread into 2-8 flowered inflorescences. The uppermost leaves appear in scarlet or cherry red tones and a short flower scape or spike grows out. The flower spike then bears tubular flowers that have bright violet petals.
After the Bulbosa has bloomed, it also produces ‘pups.’ These are also known as off-shoots or off-sets.
You can leave them to grow into a super plant or remove them to mount elsewhere. Make sure that they are at least half to two-thirds of the size of the parent plant before you break them off.
Tillandsia Bulbosa falls under USDA hardiness zones 9-10. This means they can survive in temperatures as low as 20 °F to 40 °F (or -6.6 °C to 4.4 °C).
Tillandsia Bulbosa Care
Tillandsia Bulbosa plants are easy to care for. Your geographical location and your care routine determine their growth and wellbeing. Here are things you have to consider when caring for Tillandsia Bulbosa.
Even though Tillandsia Bulbosa loves frequent watering, you don’t have to soak them in water.
They only need misting 2-3 times a week as per the humidity conditions of your house. During winter, you can even reduce the frequency to once or twice a week.
Each time you mist the plant, make sure to dry it upside down so that water doesn’t collect between the leaves. This can lead to molding or rotting.
You may also soak them in a tub of water. But again, do not forget to gently shake the plant to remove excess water. In fact, it’s also advisable to put them at a drier location so that water can evaporate.
The plant requires good brightness but not direct sunlight. It grows well in bright filtered sunlight or artificial, full-spectrum fluorescent light. A location near a window should work best but artificial light is also good for the plant. You should place them within about 1 foot of a florescent light.
During winters, you may use a grow light bulb near the plant to supplement light.
Tillandsia Bulbosa enjoys warmer temperatures.
Their required temperature range is from 10 °C to 32 °C. You should keep it warm during the day and cooler at night. If plants are only exposed to room temperature, their growth may be slow.
If you plan to grow it outside, get it early enough in the fall so that it doesn’t have to face temperatures below 4 °C during the night.
Besides warmer temperatures, the plant is also fond of high humidity. But there should be adequate air circulation in the environment to prevent the growth of fungus.
Most gardeners suggest fertilizing Tillandsia Bulbosa once or twice a month. An all-purpose fertilizer with 10/10/10 or 20/20/20 ratio of nutrients should be diluted about 1/4 the recommended strength using water.
You can then soak the plant in the fertilizer solution.
It’s important to note that you need to fertilize Tillandsia plants only sparingly. Too much fertilizer can chemically burn your plants.
Check out our favorite air plant care tools.
How to Identify Tillandsia Bulbosa
Tillandsia bulbosa is a distinct plant with no resemblance to other Tillandsia species. It’s a small epiphyte, up to 25-30 centimeters long, with narrow and wavy leaves that curl in at the edges. The leaves look like straw-like tubes that twist in a haphazard way.
The lovely leaves are a gorgeous shade of deep green which transitions to scarlet near the top when the plant is flowering. The flowers of this plant have an attractive violet color. It’s a monocarpic species with each rosette dying after it has flowered.
How to Display Tillandsia Bulbosa
Tillandsia Bulbosa is versatile when it comes to displaying options. From glass containers to decorative rocks, there’s a never-ending list of options for displaying them in your home or office.
You can use open or sealed glass containers to showcase your Tillandsia Bulbosa. To add to the aesthetic, lay them on top of a bed of seashells, moss, or tiny rocks. The terrariums can go on your tables, shelves or even suspended in the air.
Aeriums are a great dirt-free alternative to terrariums. They give a minimalistic yet beautiful look to your rooms and lounges. Suspend them in the air and fit tiny bulbs into them to give the look of lanterns.
You can mount the pups to a variety of objects such as driftwood, rocks, and barks. You can also affix them to your walls or place them on your tables.
You can find our favorite air plant terrariums and aeriums here.
Tillandsia Bulbosa is wonderful addition to your indoor greenery. It’s waxy, long, and thin leaves are often compared to mythological sea creatures making it an eye-catching element for your home décor.