Finally, after all of that waiting, your air plant is blooming! Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a blooming air plant. But what does this mean for your air plant? What happens during the blooming process?
And most importantly, what’s next?
Don’t worry; we are here to answer all of your questions about the air plant blooming process so you can make sure your air plant stays healthy and happy.
Why do Air Plants Bloom?
Like all flowering plants, air plants bloom to reproduce. The flowers on an air plant are its reproductive organs.
When an air plant blooms, it releases its pollen into the air to fertilize another air plant. The air plant special, though, is that it can self-fertilize.
This means that an air plant can pollinate itself, which is pretty cool! Known as pups, new air plants will grow from the mother plant.
So, if you see an air plant blooming, it is a sign that your plant is healthy and happy.
How Long Does an Air Plant Bloom Cycle Last?
The blooming process can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. This will vary depending on the type of air plant and its growing conditions.
For example, the Tillandsia cyanea, or pink quill air plant, can bloom for up to an impressive six months. However, Tillandsia capitata, stricta, and aeranthos species have a much quicker blooming period.
What Color Flowers Will Your Tillandsia Be?
The color of an air plant’s flowers can range from white to pink to purple. The type of air plant will determine the flower’s color. For example, the Tillandsia xerographica has purple or red flowers, while the Tillandsia harrisii has orange to red flowers.
If you want to know what color flowers your air plant will produce, check out our list of air plant types. There we share important facts about the most popular air plants.
What is the Bloom Spike?
The bloom spike is the stalk that holds the flowers of the air plant. Once an air plant blooms, the bloom spike will grow out from the center of the plant.
The length of the bloom spike will also vary depending on the type of air plant.
Will an Air Plant Bloom Multiple Times?
No, an air plant will only bloom once in its lifetime. After it has bloomed and reproduced, the mother plant will die. Full maturity of the plant can take anywhere from 2-5 years.
After an Air Plant Blooms, Does the Entire Plant Die?
No, only the part of the plant that produced the flowers will die. The rest of the plant will continue to grow and thrive. After the mother plant blooms, it produces pups (offsets) or baby air plants. Pup formation, which resembles small buds, can begin during the blooming process or soon after.
On average, an air plant will produce 1-3 pups.
How Should You Care for the Air Plant Pups?
While we have an entire guide dedicated to air plant pups, here are the basics:
The pups should be carefully removed from the mother plant once they are 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the mother plant. Use a sharp knife or scissors to avoid damaging the pup.
The pups can then be transplanted into their terrariums, vases, or bowls. Since air plants are epiphytes, you can care for the pups like the mother plant. Regular watering with tap water, rainwater, or nutrient-rich pond water, bright light, and good air circulation is key.
Skip using any soil as the pup leaves contain trichomes that help the plant absorb water and nutrients from the air. In addition, planting the pups in soil can induce root rot.
What if my air plant isn’t blooming?
If your air plant isn’t blooming, it could be because it’s not getting enough light. Air plants need bright, indirect sunlight to bloom. So if your air plant is in a dark spot, try moving it to a brighter location.
It could also be because the plant is too young. Air plants can take several years to reach blooming age. So, if your air plant is still a pup, be patient! It will bloom when it’s ready. Finally, it could be because the plant is stressed. Air plants can be sensitive to changes in their environment.
Will fertilizer speed up the blooming process?
Fertilizer can help but must be used carefully. Air plants are susceptible to root burn, so it’s important to use a light hand when fertilizing. We recommend using a diluted air plant fertilizer once a month.
What if my tillandsia doesn’t produce pups?
Before you do anything, just wait. It can sometimes take a few months for pups to appear. If several months have passed and there are still no pups, it’s possible that the plant is too young or stressed. As we mentioned before, air plants can take several years to reach blooming age. So, if your air plant is still a pup, be patient! It will bloom when it’s ready.
Samantha Taylor is the Senior Editor of airplantcentral.com. Her love for plants goes back to her childhood when she spent hours in the garden with her dear grandfather. As an aspiring botanist, she started her own business specializing in air plants.