Wednesday, October 1, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Tillandsia: The houseplant that takes

By
From page D4 | January 25, 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. 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 flower once in a 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

 
Middle school students put school candidates on the hot seat

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Pact with union wins Vacaville council OK

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
Suisun City candidates get lively in 2nd council forum

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano focuses on rail safety

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Juveniles hit by vehicle have minor injuries

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Booz and Brewz benefit for the Blue Star Moms

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Police search for missing man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Blessing of the animals slated Sunday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

DUI-drivers license checkpoint nets arrests

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Travis airman killed in motorcycle accident

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

Caltrans cancels nighttime Highway 37 closures

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Salvation Army gears up for annual Red Kettle campaign

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Theaters primed for bevy of new movies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Fairfield police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Sept. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

Suisun City police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

American Legion seeks Korean War veterans for award

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Third Annual Ride to Defeat Diabetes is Sunday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

4-H Achievement Night honors county members

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A10

 
Measure A committee plans weekend precinct walk

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A10

$26,227 payment to maintenance man challenged

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A10

 
FBI announces reward for Vacaville bank robber

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Forest areas reopen after huge fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Hong Kong leader refuses to meet with protesters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Secret Service chief on hot seat for WH breach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Afghan pact signed amid questions on Iraq pullout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Luck, instinct determined fates of volcano hikers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Government confirms first case of Ebola in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Mayor of suburban Los Angeles city killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Crash, suspicious device lead to 101 closure in LA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Gov. Brown governor vetoes ethics bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Police on manhunt find pipe bombs in woods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Oklahoma man charged with murder in beheading

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Bay Area looks to expand overnight transit options

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Gov. Jerry Brown signs California gun restriction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 1, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

A speedy, kitchen sink approach to pumpkin bread

By J.M. Hirsch | From Page: B6

 
The flavor of fall – pumpkin pie in a cinnamon bun

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

One simple slicing trick to bake a beautiful tart

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Morgan: ‘Can’t believe’ Walmart blaming him

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Royals beat A’s 9-8 in 12 in AL wild-card thriller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local report: Rodriguez volleyball team downs Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Pirates’ Volquez looks to continue revival against Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders make Tony Sparano interim coach after firing Allen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NC State coach apologizes for fake injury remarks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL says Abdullah should not have been penalized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL has laundry list of verboten celebrations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Government: NFL TV ‘blackout’ rule unsportsmanlike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Olympian Michael Phelps apologizes for DUI arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Gravely injured Giants fan sues Dodgers again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ex 49ers RB James agrees to terms with Dolphins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
FCC will consider petition to ban ‘Redskins’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Training camp essential for NBA’s new head coaches like Warriors’ Kerr

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
No. 14 Stanford trying to jolt stagnant offense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers’ Wilhoite filling the injury void at linebacker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Could a merger follow the PayPal-eBay split?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
EU says Apple gets illegal tax benefits in Ireland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Obituaries

John ‘Bo’ M. Miller

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
David Earl Butenhoff-Forristall

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Marte Abad Lubag

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Clara May Clift Triplett

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

.

Breast Cancer Awareness 2014

Breast cancer in younger women

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA2

Talking with your doctor

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA3

Breast cancer myths

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA4

Diet linked to cancer

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA9

Giving emotional support

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA10

After the treatment

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA12

Join the fight: Get involved

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA15