If you’re familiar with air plants then you may agree that there is nothing more exciting and rewarding for a Tillandsia owner than experiencing the much anticipated, colorful beauty of a blooming air plant! The blooming cycle is a unique phase and not every species will go through the same cycle. While some quickly growing species, like our Ionantha friends, will complete their bloom cycle as quickly as a couple of weeks, other, often slow-growing xeric species, namely the Xerographica, can experience a blooming cycle for up to a year. Here we explore the different types of air plant blooms and what you can expect from your favorite tillys.
Single Stem Blooms
A few of our favorite species boasting symmetrical rosette leaf patterns are known to have flowers that grow from a single stem. If you have Tillandsia such as Stricta, Aeranthos, Capitata, or Harrisii (as seen in the image on the right), you’ll see the pink, purple, or even white buds emerge from the center of the plant eventually producing equally as colorful blooms.
The popular Ionantha species are ideal representations of the multi-bloom flowering form (as seen in the image on the right). These plants have tubular blooms of blue or purple that shoot out from the center of the plant which further emit tiny yellow or white flowers. The Ionantha plants’ spectacular red, pink, and orange blushing colors throughout the leaves are an added bonus! Another popular air plant, the Brachycaulos Abdita, also has these multiple shoots that bloom all at once.
Perhaps the most familiar type of bloom among air plants, an inflorescence, is the cluster of flowers that grow from a main stem. From this stem, we call often call them ‘bloom spikes’, the plants will form one or multiple bracts from which the flowers emerge. The bracts will range in color from green to red, to hot pink, and the more light the plant receives, the more the colors will intensify! The inflorescence structure will also vary in size depending on the species. We adore the tiny display from the Argentea Thin and are always amazed by the long stems of the Roland Gosselini and the many brightly-colored bracts of the Xerographica.
As if the wonderful structures and colors of the blooming Tillandsia aren’t enough, some species will produce fragrant flowers! The delicate blooms of the Purpurea smell of cinnamon while the Duratii have purple flowers that are known to smell like grape soda. We also love the sweet smell of a blooming Streptocarpa plant!
If you have a blushing or blooming air plant, be sure to take optimal care of it by following our Caring For A Blooming Air Plant guide. Have a finicky mature plant that just won’t produce a flower? The How to Get an Air Plant to Bloom blog will help you give your plant what it needs to start showing off its colors.
Be sure to check our Color, Bud, + Blush product for any species currently in bloom!