Tillandsia air plants are one of the most popular options in modern-day gardening. They look gorgeous and are ultra-low maintenance.
These rule-breakers don’t need soil and get their moisture and nutrition from the surrounding air – hence the name air plants.
Air plants are epiphytes because, in their natural habitat, they live on the branches of other trees.
Tillandsia Xerographica is one of the species in the Tillandsia genus. It’s native to the semi-arid regions of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. They live in very dry, sunny woods where it grows as an epiphyte or lithophyte (attached to rocks or stones) at 140-600 meters.
Tillandsia Xerographica, known as the “King of Air Plants”, it’s the only air plant that can grow over 3 feet in size. It features thick and wide leaves that get narrower and curve towards the ends. In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know to grow and care for this amazing air plant species.
What is Tillandsia Xerographica?
Tillandsia Xerographica, also called Xeros, mainly live in Mexico. You can find them suspended in the tall branches of subtropical trees. They are clinging on to the trees and can grow without soil.
Xerographica air plants display a distinctive aesthetic with their silver-green curly leaves. Those leaves spiral around the plant as it grows. As a result, you get a striking, almost spherical plant which makes for a stunning décor that’s very easy to care for.
The scientific name of the plant is Tillandsia Xerographica. It is also known by the name of Tillandsia Kruseana and Tillandsia Tomasellii
Tillandsia Xerographica belongs to the family Bromeliaceae and order Poales.
Tillandsia Xerographica is a flowering plant. It only blooms once during its lifetime in the right growing conditions. It blooms from a spiky inflorescence, on a thick stem.
The inflorescence is about 6 to 15 inches in height and heavily branched. The leafy bracts are a beautiful rosy red color covered by scales. The floral bracts are green or yellowish-red in color and 1-2 inches long.
The flowers last several months. They are pale lilac with pink highlights and 6-8 centimeters in lengths. They are narrow and tubular with yellow stamen and style.
Tillandsia Xerographica falls under USDA hardiness zones 9 and 11. This means it can survive in temperatures as low as 20 °F to 50 °F (or -6.7 °C to +10 °C).
Tillandsia Xerographica Care
Most Tillandsia plants find their homes in humid tropical environments.
But not Xerographica.
Xerographica lives in drier climates which is why they can tolerate dry and hot weather. But this doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of them.
Here are a few specific requirements for this plant that you should know.
Being native to dry regions, Tillandsia Xerographica does not appreciate excess water. You will only need to water (light spray) every other day during summers and every 4 to 5 days a week in winters.
If the humidity is too low, mist them more often.
You can also water the plants by submerging them in a bowl of water every week or two in the summer and once a month in winter.
Be sure to shake the plants after watering them and allow them to dry so that no water pools between the leaves.
Tillandsia Xerographica sees at least 10 hours of light in the wild. Although it can survive in artificial light too, direct sunlight is better
However, direct sunlight in hot summer months can burn its leaves. So, it’s best to place it near a south-facing window and provide partial shade if you notice wrinkled or withered leaves.
The ideal temperature range for the Tillandsia Xerographica plant is 60-80 °F (16-27 °C).
You don’t have to fertilize your Xerographica but a struggling plant may enjoy a liquid fertilizer like Cute Farms Air Plant Fertilizer.
If you want faster growth, better flowering, and more pups, you can use a general-purpose fertilizer. Dilute it to one quarter its strength or a Bromeliad fertilizer (17-8-22) once or twice a month in summers.
In winter, you can fertilize them once a month or less.
How to Identify Tillandsia Xerographica?
Tillandsia Xerographica is a slow-growing, xerophytic epiphyte. It’s a large air plant species with a 20-60 centimeters long rosette having a diameter of 50-90 centimeters.
The leaf blades are 15-75 centimeters long and 6 centimeters wide at the bulbous base. The silver-gray to light green leaves coming out of the large rosettes taper to a point and may achieve a spread of 3 feet or more.
When the plant blooms, rosy red leaf bracts appear while floral bracts become light green. The tubular flowers have petals in the shades from red to purple and may last for several months.
How to Display Tillandsia Xerographica?
There are so many different ways you can display this beautiful plant thanks to its striking aesthetic and flexible design.
You can put your creative side to work and make living art out of this plant. Try placing it in a terrarium, or attaching it to driftwood or in a bouquet.
Tillandsia Xerographica look wonderful in both open and sealed glass terrariums. You can use decorative objects such as pebbles, rocks, seashells or more and put them inside the container to enhance the beauty of the piece.
Aerium is another type of glass container that can be used for air plant display. It is like a terrarium but allows air to pass through the container. These can be suspended in the air using decorative strings.
Xerographica plants can also be mounted on to different objects such as rocks, driftwood, seashells and almost any other material. The only thing you need to be careful about is that the material should not be water retentive.
Use a strong floral adhesive, like Oasis Floral Adhesive, to stick the air plant to the base of the mounting object. Ensure that the mounting object is not prone to fungal growth because that will damage your plant.
Tillandsia Xerographica has a unique look that promises to attract people. So, add this amazing and low-maintenance air plant species to your plant collection and make a statement of your own.