Tillandsia recurvata care infographicTillandsia Recurvata can be described as a Spanish moss version compacted into a ball shape. This plant is perfect for an environment craving a unique touch. Do you already own one and are not confident about taking good care of it?

This article is a one-stop compilation of all the information you need about caring and propagating Tillandsia Recurvata.

What Is an Tillandsia Recurvata?

Tillandsia Recurvata is an epiphytic plant also referred to as the small ball moss or ball moss air plant. This means that they grow on other plants, though they do not depend on the host plants for nutrients and other requirements for growth.

Tillandsia Recurvata Care

Success in taking care of any plant depends on the provision of appropriate care. This is where the saying, “Knowledge is power,” comes into play. You can only offer the “appropriate care” that you know from somewhere. This section will enlighten you on the care requirements of Tillandsia Recurvata outside its natural habitat.

– Water

Please note that Tillandsia Recurvata takes up water through the trichomes on its leaves, not through the roots like most plants. To water Tillandsia Recurvata, soak the plant in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes.

Do this twice every week. When your plant needs more water during warmer seasons, you can fill a spray bottle with water and mist your plant in between soakings.

It is important to allow the plant to dry well after waterings to avoid rot and other fungal infections. Therefore, each watering procedure should be followed by a gentle shake to remove excess water that might accumulate.

Good Aeration

Put the Tillandsia Recurvata plant on a spot exposed to good aeration to completely dry within four hours after the watering session. Be sure not to put your Tillandsia Recurvata anywhere close to heat sources like a heater or direct sunlight, as this can damage the plant.

If you intend to leave your plant unattended for two weeks, you need to soak it in a water bath for 12 hours prior to leaving. Upon your return, soak the ball moss air plant again.

Please note that you can use spring, pond, filtered, rain, or tap water for quenching your plant’s thirst. Whenever you use tap water, you should leave the water standing for a few days to allow for the dissipation of the chlorine in the water.

– Light

Tillandsia recurvata Lichen and Ball MossTillandsia Recurvata is happy when it is exposed to bright, indirect sunlight. Placing the plant under direct sunlight, especially for extended periods of time, can cause burn marks that distort the beauty of your plant.

If you are growing your plant indoors, strategically position it close to a window so that it can receive natural sunlight from outside.

Otherwise, you should provide it with artificial fluorescent light, especially if you grow the Tillandsia Recurvata in closed spaces that limit access to sunlight.

Outdoor Cultivation

In the event you decide to grow your ball moss air plant outside, place it under partial shade to avoid the burning wrath of the summer afternoon sun.

Suppose you have been growing your Tillandsia Recurvata indoors and you want to move it outdoors, you should gradually acclimate the plant to the increasing sunlight levels in the outside environment. Abruptly moving your plant from indoors to the outdoor sunlight might burn your plant.

– Soil

It is normal to start thinking about the type of soil your Tillandsia Recurvata needs when you decide to grow one. However, you don’t need soil when growing this plant as it is an air plant. Instead, you should attach the plant to solid substrates that do not retain moisture. 

– Temperature and Humidity

Tillandsia Recurvata is a hardy plant, so it is okay to keep it in cold temperatures. On the contrary, warm temperatures that range between 50 F and 80 F are conducive for the healthy growth of Tillandsia Recurvata. We recommend moving your plant indoors to protect it from the freezing temperatures below 40 F during winter.

The small ball moss will do well in moderate to high humidity environments. Frequent sprays are a great idea if there is enough ventilation so that the plant will quickly dry.

– Fertilizer

There is no harm in adding some fertilizer to the beauty as this helps to enhance its growth. You can add moderate doses of the fertilizer not more than twice a month during the warmer summer seasons. During the winter, fertilizing the plant once a month is good enough.

Spray the diluted liquid fertilizer directly on the leaves. Remember, Tillandsia Recurvata feeds through its leaves.

– Repotting

Are you wondering how you can creatively display your Tillandsia Recurvata? There are many options available, and we will explore some of them here. Mounting is one of the easiest but unique ways to display your plant.

You can use driftwood, rocks, seashells, or anything else that is not susceptible to rot or fungal infection as the bases for mounting your ball moss beauty.

Get a strong plant adhesive to attach your Tillandsia Recurvata to the mounting object of your choice. A wire also works well in securing the plant to the base.

Terrariums and Aeriums

Terrariums and aeriums are other great ideas for displaying your ball moss air plant. Both of these are glass containers that can intensify the vintage outlook of your plant wherever you put it.

The main difference is that the aerium is designed to allow greater airflow than the terrarium. Whether you decide to use terrariums or aeriums, you can add pebbles, seashells, or moss inside the glass container to give the display a more creative appearance.

 

Propagation

In their natural environments, Tillandsia Recurvata plants multiply through seeds. The small seeds of the plant will disperse, and those that fall on branches of other trees quickly attach and develop root-like attachments to the bark of the host plant.

As an ornamental plant, the ball moss air plant is propagated by dividing the balls and reattaching them to a different substrate. Most plant caretakers prefer this because propagating Tillandsia Recurvata from seeds is more cumbersome and requires more time.

Problems

Tillandsia plants are generally resistant to attack by pests and diseases. This does not mean that these plants are completely resistant to problems. There are some issues that you should look out for as you do the best that you can to keep your plant hearty and healthy.

– Fungal Attacks and Rotting

Tillandsia Recurvata is very sensitive to poor ventilation, exposure to high humidity for long periods of time, and sudden temperature changes. This, along with leaving excess water on the leaves of the plant, will attract fungal attacks and rotting.

Make it a habit to dry your plant well after watering it. Also, dry the surfaces on which your ball moss air plant is mounted.

– Mealybugs

Mealybugs are the most common pests that might attack Tillandsia Recurvata. These pests appear like a cottony layer on the foliage of your plant at first sight. If you look closely, you will notice some round and white bugs. As simple as they might look, mealybugs feast on the sap of your plant because they are classified among sucking pests.

Intervention

If you discover the pests when the infestations are still low, you can flash down the mealybugs using a relatively strong stream of water. You can even dip cotton balls in 70 percent alcohol and use them to dab on the pests one after the other.

Alcohol destroys the protective layer around the mealybugs, ultimately killing the pest. Spraying the whole plant with the alcohol solution might be more efficient because it reaches more pests, including those that might be hiding.

Larger infestations require more vigilant strategies for dealing with the mealybugs. Consider using Neem oil, an organic pesticide that is relatively safer to use. Neem oil suffocates the mealybugs by clogging the airspaces on their skin. Insecticidal soaps are another effective method for destroying larger numbers of mealybugs with more ease.

Facts About the Tillandsia Recurvata

Leaves 

The leaves of Tillandsia Recurvata are linear, scaly, and recurved, curling into each other to create a dense spheroid cluster. The height of a mature Tillandsia Recurvata plant ranges between six and 12 inches.

Flowers

When it blooms, the plant produces small, non-tubular, sessile, purple flowers from simple fluorescence. However, this only happens for the first time after three years, during which the small ball moss matures.

After the first time, the plant then blooms for the next seven consecutive years. Tillandsia Recurvata only produces a few flowers at a time, even just one.

Habitat

You will find Tillandsia Recurvata growing as moss balls on trees, cacti, and bushes, but it’s never a parasitic moss. Tillandsia Recurvata, as a wild air plant, has its origins in the warmer regions of southern America.

Conclusion

Tillandsia recurvata aerial PlantAt this point, you might support the notion that Tillandsia Recurvata is one of the most fascinating plants to grow in your home garden. You will only grow better at taking care of your plant by practicing what you learned from this article.

To make it easy for you to refer back to this article whenever you need to, we present to you a summary of the main takeaways:

  • Tillandsia Recurvata can only be grown on solid substrates that do not retain moisture.
  • This plant thrives well when exposed to bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Tillandsia Recurvata is happy in warm environments, preferably in temperatures between 50 F and 80 F.
  • The propagation of Tillandsia Recurvata is possible through seeds or by separating the ball moss and replanting separately.
  • Regularly check your Tillandsia Recurvata for mealybugs and commence treatment as soon as you notice their unwelcome presence.

You got it! We have just filled your toolbox for “Tillandsia Recurvata care.” It’s time to use each tool in the box for its purpose and give your unique beauty the best care ever.

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