Friday, August 29, 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

Hood-Courtland: Small towns boast interesting facts

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1

 
Opponents: State water plan will destroy Delta

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

Vallejo Symphony launches new season Sept. 21

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Prolific pears rule Courtland area

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

1 critical after 2 shot at Fairfield bus stop

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 21 Comments | Gallery

 
New role for symphony conductor begins next year

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Vallejo festival will celebrate Wilderness Act anniversary

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Suisun police plan holiday weekend checkpoint

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 4 Comments

No plea as Vacaville homicide suspect appears in court

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 8 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Vacaville man convicted of fifth DUI

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 8 Comments

 
 
Solano continues to deal with earthquake

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

Bunting earns praise for role in paint case

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

Weather for Aug. 29, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B14

 
.

US / World

Mom won’t be charged in school confrontation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
California Supreme Court pick confirmed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Feds to resume leasing for fracking in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

High school buddies followed similar path to jihad

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Drugs killed Oklahoma inmate in troubled execution

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

4 killed in New Mexico crash of medical flight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
US rebukes Oklahoma for ditching school standards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Suit claims police brutality at Ferguson protests

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Flight diverts to Boston over reclined-seat upset

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

Testimony wraps up in former Va. governor trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Q&A: Few laws govern children at shooting range

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Gun tourism grows in popularity in recent years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Obama sets no timeline for action on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

Obama rules out US military action in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
UN Security Council meets on Ukraine crisis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Russian columns enter Ukraine; leader urges calm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Jihadists kill dozens of captured Syrian soldiers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

UN: Ebola disease caseload could reach 20,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Attempt to call missing jet may alter search area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

Europe seeks role in postwar Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
UN: Armed group detains 43 peacekeepers in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

A look at the Islamic State militants in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

How about keeping our ISIS plan secret?

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11, 25 Comments

 
What should the US do about the Islamic State?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11, 4 Comments

 
Question of the week: Is US policy on hostages correct?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

More ways to help stop bullies

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Aug. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Aug. 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

How do I deal with my overweight cousin who smells like cat urine?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B13, 1 Comment

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 29, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B13

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 29-Sept. 4

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: ‘As Above’ so-so

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Review: Ex-007 actor spying again in ‘Nov. Man’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Review: The case against binge-watching TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Entertainment calendar: Aug. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Jolie, Pitt wed privately at chateau in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
.

Sports

Prep football preview: Rio Vista looks to get back to playoffs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Angels rally in 10th for 4-3 win over Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Record-setting Petit leads Giants past Rockies 4-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Borland returns pick for TD, 49ers beat Texans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Carr’s 3 TDs lead Raiders past Seahawks 41-31

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
After Rice, NFL increases domestic violence bans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

USC coach accepts some blame in Shaw situation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Williams overcomes 3 early double-faults to win at U.S. Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Mickelson in a bind with 4 straight playoff events

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Weakened US team aims for world basketball title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Rise in flags makes NFL defenders wary of contact

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Local youngster will play baseball on national stage

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B9, 1 Comment | Gallery

Week Zero prep football capsules

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

Stewart returning to competition after fatal crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B11

This date in sports history for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Power looks for elusive IndyCar title at Fontana

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Business

M235i revives classic BMW memories

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Obama touts revised economic growth numbers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

US economy grew at brisk 4.2 pct. rate in Q2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Ukraine conflict weighs on markets; Retailers fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Abercrombie name to shrink from clothing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Survey: Americans’ pessimism on economy has grown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Apple to unveil next products at Sept. 9 event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.1 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

Frank W. Moy Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Gary Allen Person

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13