How to Grow Tillandsia


Tillandsia is a species of bromeliads that includes Spanish moss and air plants. These plants require no soil to grow, they absorb all their nutrients and moisture from the air around them. In nature they grow high up in trees or along rocks and cliffs. Each leaf is covered in gray scales, which absorb the nutrients from the air. Some varieties flower, though most are grown for their foliage. Tillandsia can be grown outside or indoors are and especially striking in a rock garden or terrarium.

Step 1

Check that the tillandsia is attached well to its growing medium--whether it is a rock, shell or piece of wood---before you purchase it. Purchase only healthy looking plants with no browning or damaged leaves.

Step 2

Place the tillandsia where it receives bright, filtered sunlight. Use a south or east facing window with a translucent shade or frosted glass.

Step 3

Fill a spray bottle with water and set the nozzle to the mist setting. Mist the leaves of the plant every three days to provide the needed moisture.

Step 4

Dilute a balanced liquid houseplant food to one-quarter to one-half its normal strength. Mist the leaves of the plant once monthly with the dilute fertilizer to supply nutrients.

Step 5

Maintain a temperature of 60 to 70 F at all times. Place tillandsia outside in areas shaded from the afternoon heat and bring plants inside during winter. Avoid placing plants near air or heat vents that will over cool or over heat them as well as dry them out.

Tips and Warnings

  • Once tillandsia flowers, the plant will die. New plants, or pups, will grow in its place. Avoid touching the leaves, as this rubs off the scales they require for nutrient and moisture absorption.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Liquid fertilizer


  • Clemson University Extension:Bromeliads
Keywords: growing tillandsia, air plant care, Spanish moss

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.