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Tillandsia aeranthos
( Air plant )

Aeranthos is a species that is a epiphytic, cushion-forming perennial. Leaves are gray-scaly and mid-green. Bears cylindrical spikes of 5 to 20 slender, funnel-shaped, dark blue flowers, 1 inch long, with bright rose-pink floral bracts. In general, Tillandsia is a large group of evergreen perennials that may be either epiphytic, terrestrial, or rock-dwelling and are a member of the bromeliad family. Their leaves are tough and linear often grey-green, dark green or shades of red. Flowers are usually funnel-shaped with 3 sepals and petals, with spreading terminal lobes and emerge from the center of showy bracts. These curious plants may be grown outdoors as long as temperatures do not drop below 45 degrees F. To grow Tillandsia, locate in a well ventilated place where there is full light and protection from hot sun. From mid spring through fall, mist daily and once a month, mist with 1/4 strength water soluble fertilizer. If grown outdoors, keep dry during winter.
Important Info : Can be affected by pests and diseases.


How to Grow this Plant:


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Characteristics
Cultivar: n/a  
Family: Bromeliaceae  
Size: Height: 0 ft. to 1 ft.
Width: 0 ft. to 1 ft.  
Plant Category: perennials,  
Plant Characteristics: irregular growth habit,  
Foliage Characteristics: coarse leaves,  
Foliage Color: green,  
Flower Characteristics: showy, unusual,  
Flower Color: blues, pinks, reds,  
Tolerances: drought, heat & humidity,  
Requirements
Bloomtime Range: Mid Spring to Late Spring  
USDA Hardiness Zone: 9 to 11  
AHS Heat Zone: Not defined for this plant  
Light Range: Dappled to Full Sun  
pH Range: 5.5 to 7.5  
Soil Range: undefined  
Water Range: Dry to Moist  

Plant Care



Fertilizing
How-to : Fertilize Monthly

Now is the time to begin fertilizing with a water-soluble fertilizer. Continue through the end of summer.

Light
Conditions : Light Conditions

Unless a site is completely exposed, light conditions will change during the day and even during the year. The northern and eastern sides of a house receive the least amount of light, with the northern exposure being the shadiest. The western and southern sides of a house receive the most light and are considered the hottest exposures due to intense afternoon sun.

You will notice that sun and shade patterns change during the day. The western side of a house may even be shady due to shadows cast by large trees or a structure from an adjacent property. If you have just bought a new home or just beginning to garden in your older home, take time to map sun and shade throughout the day. You will get a more accurate feel for your site's true light conditions.

Conditions : Filtered Light

For many plants that prefer partially shady conditions, filtered light is ideal. Good planting sites are under a mid to large sized tree that lets some light through their branches or beneath taller plants that will provide some protection.

Conditions : Full to Partial Sun

Full sunlight is needed for many plants to assume their full potential. Many of these plants will do fine with a little less sunlight, although they may not flower as heavily or their foliage as vibrant. Areas on the southern and western sides of buildings usually are the sunniest. The only exception is when houses or buildings are so close together, shadows are cast from neighboring properties. Full sun usually means 6 or more hours of direct unobstructed sunlight on a sunny day. Partial sun receives less than 6 hours of sun, but more than 3 hours. Plants able to take full sun in some climates may only be able to tolerate part sun in other climates. Know the culture of the plant before you buy and plant it!

Conditions : Light and Plant Selection

For best plant performance, it is desirable to match the correct plant with the available light conditions. Right plant, right place! Plants which do not receive sufficient light may become pale in color, have fewer leaves and a "leggy" stretched-out appearance. Also expect plants to grow slower and have fewer blooms when light is less than desirable. It is possible to provide supplemental lighting for indoor plants with lamps. Plants can also receive too much light. If a shade loving plant is exposed to direct sun, it may wilt and/or cause leaves to be sunburned or otherwise damaged.

Watering
Planting
Problems
Pest : Mealybugs

Small, wingless, dull-white, soft-bodied insects that produce a waxy powdery covering. They have piercing/sucking mouth parts that suck the sap out of plant tissue. Mealybugs often look like small pieces of cotton and they tend to congregate where leaves and stems branch. They attack a wide range of plants. The young tend to move around until they find a suitable feeding spot, then they hang out in colonies and feed. Mealybugs can weaken a plant leading to yellow foliage and leaf drop. They also produce a sweet substance called honeydew (coveted by ants) which can lead to an unattractive black surface fungal growth called sooty mold.

Prevention and Control: Isolate infested plants from those that are not. Consult your local garden center professional or the Cooperative Extension office in your county for a legal insecticide/chemical recommendation. Encourage natural enemies such as lady beetles in the garden to help reduce population levels of mealy bugs.

Pest : Scale Insects

Scales are insects, related to mealy bugs, that can be a problem on a wide variety of plants - indoor and outdoor. Young scales crawl until they find a good feeding site. The adult females then lose their legs and remain on a spot protected by its hard shell layer. They appear as bumps, often on the lower sides of leaves. They have piercing mouth parts that suck the sap out of plant tissue. Scales can weaken a plant leading to yellow foliage and leaf drop. They also produce a sweet substance called honeydew (coveted by ants) which can lead to an unattractive black surface fungal growth called sooty mold.

Prevention and Control: Once established they are hard to control. Isolate infested plants away from those that are not infested. Consult your local garden center professional or Cooperative Extension office in your county for a legal recommendation regarding their control. Encourage natural enemies such as parasitic wasps in the garden.

Miscellaneous
Glossary : Perennial

Perennial: traditionally a non-woody plant that lives for two or more growing seasons.

Glossary : Fertilize

Fertilize just before new growth begins with a complete fertilizer.

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