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Caring For My Tillandsia Cyanea

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You might remember a post from a few months ago called “Terrific Tillandsias” .   Now I’m going to show you a Tillandsia which is so easy to care for that can actually grow in soil.  Tillandsia cyanea, or Pink Quill Plant, is an epiphyte like its now trendy air plant cousins (which we sell on our website by the way) but this one can grow in a fast draining mix.   Their grass-like foliage is attractive yet tough as can be.  This is good because the purple flowers that form out of the pink quill do not appear on any kind of a regular basis.   It takes awhile for them to bloom so it’s best to buy one with the quills and/or flowers already on it if that’s what you want.

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My Air Plants I’ve had for years now.

 I purchased my new Tillandsia from Santa Ynez Nursery which sells at our Saturday farmers market to use for an eHow.com video I did on its care.   This one already had 3 quills on it but the flowers have appeared very slowly due to the fact it lives outdoors and the days are shorter now and the evenings cooler.  They are native to warm jungles after all so I won’t see many flowers making an appearance until it warms up.   It already had quite a few pups on it (baby plants which grow off the mother plant) so I could have divided it had I wanted to.

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On the top left a spent flower; on the top right one forming.

Because the care of these plants is easy, I figured this would be a good replacement for the succulents that had started to go downhill in my upside down, sideways cracked pot.  You’ll see me showing how I transplanted it in the video below.  I spray the Tillandsia so the foliage gets moist but the soil does not get drenched.  Because mine lives outdoors and gets nutrients from the air, I don’t fertilize it.  If yours is indoors and you need to feed it, use a liquid fertilizer that is high in Nitrogen and Potassium and has no trace minerals diluted down 3 or 4 times.  Then simply spray that mixture on the foliage.  They are not crazy about dry air (remember, they grow in jungles not deserts) so you might have to mist yours with water once or twice a week.   Filtered water is what they prefer – they don’t like chlorine.

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The succulents were taken out.

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  The Tillandsia cyanea replaced them.

When planting time came around I used a combination of the mixture already in the ceramic pot that the succulents were growing in plus some of the planting mix the Tillandsia came in plus orchid bark.  This will work just fine because the water will drain right off the plant and that’s what it wants.  It should root in tighter than the succulents did and prevent the soil mix from spilling out.   Morning sun is all it will get – they will burn in hot, sunny conditions.

This is the video where you see me planting the Tillandsia in its new home.


This is the video I did for eHow.com on Tillandsia cyanea care.

The Tillandsia cyanea is another easy care plant to live amongst my many succulents.  I’m sure they’ll thrive side by side!

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8 comments:

  1. Thanks for you videos. What i am woundering about the tillandsia cyanea is once the beautiful pink quills turn dull coloured and almost pale green. Should the quills be removed. Or have i been doing something wrong and they shouldnt have changed colour?Thank you again for your site and videos. Its been helpfull. Angie

  2. Thank you Angie! You aren’t doing anything wrong – the plant is going through its normal cycle after flowering. The pink quill is the flower & will fade to grey/green over time. Cut it away when it completely dies. You’ll see the plant itself gradually turning brown, leaf by leaf, & that’s normal. The “mother” will die but don’t toss the plant – babies will appear at the base & live on. It takes a while for them to flower so be patient. Nell

  3. I’m a rookie at this gardening game & I just bought a Cyanea @ my local Home Depot Thanx for the info! I live in the Tampa Bay Florida area & planted mine in a pot of sodding mix on the west side of my car port, on lattice work facing east toward my house. Hopefuly the lattice work will protect it from burning this summer!??

  4. Michael – Be careful, Bromeliads are addicting! Some take more sun than other but the Tillandsia cyanea does like a fair amount of shade – diffused light is best. In nature they grow under the protection of other plants & get light but not direct sun. The lattice should (facing east) should protect it but if you see it starting to burn, move it right away to a place with less direct sun. Nell

  5. hi, my pink quill has bloomed about 5 months ago and is now green, it has not died or dried out yet and there are 3 pups connected. will the mother die on its own (read this on another site) or do i have to cut it out?

  6. Hi Cassie – The mother will die on its own, but for now, it’s still nurturing those pups. When the foliage of the mother is dry & has completely died, then you should be able to lift it right off. If not, then cut it. Nell

  7. I ordered my first pink quill plant I got it online from hirts gardens. Around here we have boring indoor plants and this caught my eye when I was doing some online plant shopping. My question is how do I know there is pups? I been trying to find a video but can’t find one. And if there is pups do I leave them or can I put them in a different pot? And if so how do I do that? Would it be possible if you can do a video? I really love this plant I also want to make sure I’m doing everything right. I had no idea that you mist the plant either. I have tap water which means there is chlorine but I have a breta water filter is that water safe or should I buy water at the store?

  8. Hi Angel – You will see little baby plants appearing at the base of your mother plant. Sometimes it takes a while so be patient. You want to wait until the pups are about a quarter to third the size of the mother plant to remove. You can either leave them on the mother plant or remove them (by pulling & twisting or cutting them off carefully) – the choice is yours. Your tap water should be fine unless you see lots of brown tips on the plant. Pink Quill Plants, like Air Plants, are bromeliads. Here’s a video I did about pruning the pups: http://youtu.be/jd2Iy-u1fKw Hope that helps, Nell

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