Tuesday, April 21, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Tillandsia: The houseplant that takes care of itself

By
From page C4 | January 26, 2014 |

Don’t have time for the upkeep of a typical houseplant? Consider a Tillandsia.

Commonly known as an air plant, Tillandsia grow almost anywhere without soil and with little watering. This forgiving plant not only fends for itself while you work but doesn’t require a plant-sitter when you take a vacation.

Air plants also provide a unique accent to the home. Design possibilities are only limited by your imagination because a Tillandsia isn’t restricted to a flower pot. This plant is a conversation piece when nestled inside a seashell beside a sink, attached to a piece of driftwood mounted on a wall, or resting atop a glamorous candlestick holder on a side table.

Habitat and history

Tillandsia belong to the Bromeliaceae family, a genus of over 600 species. Depending on the species, they thrive in arid to tropical zones throughout the deserts, rainforests and mountainous terrain of Central and South America, the West Indies and the southern United States.

Also known as an epiphyte, an air plant obtains moisture and nutrition not from soil but air through leaves that contain tiny scales called trichomes. Trichomes are microscopic hair-like structures that reflect intense sunlight away from a leaf’s surface, which gives the plant its familiar gray color and also enables the plant to retain water for long time periods. When growing a Tillandsia, remember to take into consideration whether your plant is the thick-leafed variety that grows in drought-prone areas or the thinner-leafed variety found in tropical locations with plenty of humidity.

This particular epiphyte was named Tillandsia by Carolus Linnaeus after Dr. Elias Tillandz (originally Tillander), who was a Swedish botanist and physician (1640-1693). The aerial lifestyle of the Tillandsia certainly caught the attention of the scientific community. Research indicates that an ingredient of the plant is used as an herbal supplement for treating pollen allergies, and that in 2002 the Tillandsia was used for biomonitoring of air pollution in Florence, Italy because of its trichomes’ ability “to catch aerosols and the particles dispersed in the air.”

Moisture and light

A Tillandsia can be a tad finicky about its bath, preferring morning to evening and weekly to daily. The reason to avoid nighttime soaks is the plant’s nightly preoccupation with transpiration and vaporization, opening their stomata to exchange gas and oxygen. In other words, if an air plant is wet, it can’t breathe.

Here’s what to do: Once a week submerge the plant in water for approximately two hours. A clean glass bowl is preferable. Add room-temperature water. Place the plant upside down with the roots sticking up out of the water. When the soak time is complete, shake off as much moisture as possible. Next, rest your Tillandsia with its roots in the air on a clean cotton towel until dry, approximately two to three hours. Notice the leaves are no longer gray but green. Reposition the plant in its holder.

Do not use distilled water or softened water. Filtered water, bottled drinking water, rain water, or water from a pond or aquarium are preferred. If you want to use tap water, allow the water to sit overnight to dissipate the chlorine. And don’t forget to provide your tropical thin-leaf Tillandsia with more moisture than the drought tolerant variety with thick leaves.

Air plants favor bright filtered light with an optimum temperature between 50-90 degrees. Avoid full sun or placement close to a sunny window as the Tillandsia will not survive next to unshaded glass in an overheated room. For further information on lighting, including the use of incandescent grow lights and high-pressure sodium lamps,
log ontohttp://www.airplantcity.com http://www.airplantcity.com/care.htm

Parent plant and pups

Tillandsia bloom when mature, which takes from three to five years. Before the flowering phase, the leaf color in some species changes from green to pinkish-red. Unfortunately, air plants are monocarpic, meaning they flowers once in lifetime and then die. Flowers last from a week to months depending upon the species.

Two months after the flowers shrivel up, pups start to grow around the base of the parent plant. Pups are new plants that can be twisted free when they are a third to half the size of the parent or left to clump together until all the leaves of the mother plant dry up, die back and are removed. Do not toss out the parent before she produces all her pups.

In the meantime, if you’re fortunate enough to view the brilliant day-glo color shades of a Tillandsia bloom and be blessed with a new generation of pups, start thinking about friends’ birthdays and holiday gift-giving. An air plant peeking out of a small simple seashell is an appreciated gift and a welcomed houseplant that really does “almost” take care of itself.

Launa Herrmann is a Master Gardener with the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Fairfield. If you have gardening questions, call the Master Gardener’s office at 784-1322.

Launa Herrmann

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Kids Day of Fishing began with $20 donation

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Chabad will begin Torah for Solano Jewish community

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Library foundation executive moves to Child Haven

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
Theater schedules free screening of Sundance film

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A8

Vacaville plans recreation expo

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Frazier to discuss transportation at EDC breakfast

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Fairgrounds site of horse-betting seminar, brunch

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

Il Fiorello schedules vegetarian cuisine class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

 
Fairfield police log: April 19, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 19, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Lawmakers seek FDA review of ingredients used in cosmetics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
 
Sheriff’s domestic violence-related conviction erased

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Utah woman gets up to life in prison in deaths of 6 newborns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
Lawyer: Washington Post reporter in Iran faces 4 charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Bombs shatter houses in Yemen capital, hit near Iran Embassy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Questions, answers about federal anti-radicalization effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Where US sees terror prevention, some Muslims see profiling

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Chemistry Ph.D. student illustrates her thesis in comic book

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Public memorial held for the Rev. Robert Schuller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
SC paper wins Pulitzer for reporting on domestic abuse

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Opinion

 
Why does Fed insist on targeting inflation?

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Income disparity study results ironic

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11, 22 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 21, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

 
Bobby Brown’s lawyer: Bobbi Kristina Brown has opened eyes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

US writer who fled Austria to escape Holocaust dead at 90

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Vice News, NPR, CNN, WNYC win double Peabody Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

HBO planning to deal Web pot sitcom ‘High Maintenance’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Kolbert’s ‘Sixth Extinction’ wins Pulitzer for nonfiction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Wolfe’s ‘Anthracite Fields’ wins Pulitzer for music

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Anthony Doerr wins Pulitzer Prize for fiction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Elizabeth A. Fenn wins Pulitzer Prize for history

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Gregory Pardlo’s ‘Digest’ wins Pulitzer Prize for poetry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

David I. Kertzer wins Pulitzer for biography-autobiography

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Stephen Adly Guirgis wins Pulitzer for drama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Sports

Mustangs rally in seventh inning to top Falcons

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
AP source: Peterson stays home from Vikings workouts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Report: 2 teams needed to make California stadium profitable

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Data deluge: MLB rolls out Statcast analytics on Tuesday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Doug Buffone dead at 70

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
New format means injured drivers no longer must race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Saunders: ‘I’m the coach until I say I’m not’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Faldo to make final appearance at British Open this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Braves’ McKirahan suspended 80 games for positive drug test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raptors Lou Williams wins NBA Sixth Man Award

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Ugly Olympic conflict breaks into open at Sochi conference

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Pacquiao gets in 2 words before conference call cancelled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Eagles sign quarterback Tim Tebow to 1-year contract

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McLellan out after 7 years as coach of San Jose Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pelicans coach says Warriors arena noise might be too loud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Police: LA Kings’ Jarret Stoll had cocaine, Ecstasy in Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Desisa wins 119th Boston Marathon; Rotich takes women’s race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Jockey Chris Antley leads Racing Hall of Fame class

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

.

Business

Judge returns ultra-rich club founder Tim Blixseth to jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Running out of time: Limited-time deals can be limiting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

$134M proposed for 10 BP-funded oil spill recovery projects

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Hormel says bird flu outbreak will hurt turkey sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Bird flu confirmed at Iowa farm with 5.3 million chickens

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US stocks gain, rebounding from Friday’s slump; Hasbro jumps

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Survey: US businesses expect sales rebound, more hiring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Bristol-Myers: 2 cancer drugs beat 1 against melanoma

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Halliburton says has cut 9,000 jobs in wake of oil’s drop

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: B4

Labor group seeks rehiring of workers at 5 Wal-Mart sites

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Frederick’s of Hollywood files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Willie Nelson becomes latest celebrity in marijuana business

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Kraft Mac & Cheese shedding the dyes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

ESPN says Verizon’s new FiOS TV packages violate agreements

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Lawsuit: Southwest failed to respond to medical emergency

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Bridge April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Get Fuzzy April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Peanuts April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Rose is Rose April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Frank and Ernest April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baby Blues April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

For Better or Worse April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Dilbert April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

 
Cryptoquote April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Sally Forth April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Garfield April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
B.C. April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Wizard of Id April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Blondie April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Beetle Bailey April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baldo April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Zits April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Pickles April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8