I have a Tillandsia Cyanea that I have to do something with. It's by Living Trends and they put it in a small drainless pot with a magnet on the back. It's technically in a small pot within that pot, but it's still not healthy. Recently, while perusing youtube.com, specifically the Brad's Greenhouse channel, I saw that he had unpotted a Tillandsia Cyanea completely and made it into a hanging air plant.

He said that many people want to pot them in dirt, but that it really doesn't need it anymore than any other air plant because it's an epiphyte. I'd like to do something similar. It's obviously working for him, because he did an update video showing where he'd gotten a good bit of growth and two flow spikes off of it. He did say that he's roots had died, but that it wasn't a problem.

The only thing lacking in the video is how to water it. His plants are in a greenhouse, so you have high humidity. I'm also sure he probably mists it. However, I wanted more information, because the leaves on this plant are very grassy. It's not like my other Tillandsia that turns silver when dry and green when wet. That plant obviously absorbs moisture through it's leaves. It's not obvious to me that the Tillandsia Cyanea absorbs water this way. I don't want to dehydrate it.

Can anyone tell me how these absorb water? It's not through the roots, or at least no solely, because he said his roots pretty much died off. His is also growing in multiple directions, so I don't think the water is sitting in the base of the leaves like a regular bromeliad. Can anyone tell me how I'd water and fertilize this plant if I completely removed the pot and simply suspended it from wire? Thanks.

1 Answer 1


The quote below from http://www.livingmemoriesofmaui.com/plant-care/lava-rock-tillandsia-cyanea/ discusses watering in a pot with rocks. Since you're going to be growing it suspended, you're going to need to mist it more often so that your plant grows well. If your humidity levels are not high enough, that's also going to increase the need to mist your plant.

In its natural environment it would receive a regular drenching of rain water. So if your plant doesn't do well with misting, then you may need to immerse it regularly in a bucket of rain water. Note that it doesn't like water with high metal content, or chlorine.

WATERING: The curved leaves allow for the natural collection of water, and by misting the plant thoroughly once a week, or twice a week in drier environments, its reservoir  should remain moist. However, be careful not to over water which could result in fungal growth.  The bowl with cinders are used as a humidity tool for this plant. The rock that the plant is growing in sits on above the water that is filled into the bowl before too dry the rock will then absorb water like a sponge.  A good rule of thumb is to have 2 cm of water in the reservoir at its fullest.   The roots don’t like to stay too wet, so find the balance that works best for your individual plant.  Keep in mind that since the environment will change with the seasons, with heating vs. air conditioning, etc. it is important to adjust how much and when you water with the conditions of the environment.

And to specifically address the question

Tillandsia are epiphytes, and normally use their roots only to attach themselves to the host plant. Moisture and nutrients are gathered from the air (dust, decaying leaves and insect matter) through special cells on the leaves, known as trichomes.

  • That's good to know. I actually found that website earlier. I don't necessarily have to hang it, that's just how the guy in the video did his. His is in a high humidity green house. I don't have a problem putting mine over water like this it keep the humidity up. I mainly wanted to make sure that this particular on absorbed through it's leaves, since it's less like other air plants and looks more like grass. Do you think by "moist well" they mean where the leaf and the plant body meet. Like where you leave water standing in those box store bromeliads?
    – Dalton
    Feb 29, 2016 at 20:53
  • It absorbs through the leaves, that's where the trichomes are. The effect on local humidity by standing over water may be over stated. Feb 29, 2016 at 21:07
  • I suppose I can just water it more frequently. I'll just pay close attention to the plant and see how varying amounts of water affect it. I hope I can find a good balance.
    – Dalton
    Feb 29, 2016 at 21:19
  • I don't think it really matters if you over water it with rain water, as long as it's allowed to dry between waterings i.e. you shouldn't see visible collections of water on its leaves which might lead to fungal growth. Feb 29, 2016 at 22:02

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