New Tillandsia

schmiggle

Arachnoking
Active Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
2,073
I picked this feller up today:
20160925_225910.jpg 20160925_225800.jpg
I think it's T. xerographica, but please correct me if I'm wrong. I'd like to make sure on care--dunk it in water every 2-3 weeks, mist twice a week or every other day, always let it dry out after watering, give it bright light? From what I read, xerographica grow naturally on the tops of trees in relatively dry areas, so they should get more light and less water relative to "average" tillandsia, and maybe need to be misted and watered less often? I assume the greyish stuff on the leaves is sun protection, like in olive trees.
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
Sure looks like Tillandsia xerographica. You can dunk it in the water for an hour or so once a week and mist it lightly a few times a week. Just make sure that any water on it dries within a few hours so that the plant can breathe. If you keep it too wet, it won't be able to obtain oxygen and will drown, die, and rot. Make sure that you do not allow stagnant water to sit in the leaf axils, or spaces between the leaves. It's often recommended to mount them or place them on their sides so that there's no chance of water sitting in their axils, but you can just dump out the excess water after watering to prevent it from rotting. Give it bright light, but depending on how it was grown before you obtained it, you may want to give it bright indirect lighting for some time before gradually moving it into much brighter direct sunlight. If it was a plant grown under shade cloth or kept in lower lighting prior to purchase, putting it right under direct sunlight will probably sunburn the leaves and kill it.

In xeric Tillandsias, the grayish covering is composed of trichomes which serve to both reflect some excess electromagnetic radiation and to aid in the retention of a film of water that the plant can slowly take in. If the leaves didn't have the trichomes and were waxy or smooth, the water would run off quickly and the plant would not be able to absorb enough water to survive in a dry environment. Some Tillandsias are waxy or smooth and those are usually species found in wet environments where the problem is not low amounts of moisture, but excessive amounts of moisture--the decreased retention of water on the leaf surfaces would prevent them from staying too wet and becoming susceptible to rot and death.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoking
Active Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
2,073
Thanks Ranitomeya! Two questions: first of all, could I dunk it more often and not spray? Second, is there a way to tell if it isn't getting enough light?
 

Tleilaxu

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
May 7, 2006
Messages
1,240
Why would you always dunk it? Isn't the fun of having these to get them to "root" and attach to cool mounts as a display piece? Seems like in impossibility it you keep detaching then for a dunking...
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
Most Tillandsias, including xerographica, rarely root past the seedling stage, so they have to be glued or attached some other way to be permanently mounted. Most people just rest them in a secure position so that they can be removed for thorough hydration. You can get away with not misting them and just dunking them twice a week, but keep in mind that Tillandsias that are too dry will not as frequently open their stoma, the pores through which they exchange gasses and through which moisture is lost, and as a result will not have as much carbon dioxide for photosynthesis during the daylight hours. Stoma are only opened when the plant has enough moisture or humidity to avoid excessive water loss during gas exchange and in Tillandsias, it is typically done at night when they'll store carbon dioxide in the form of an acid for use during the day. In my experience, Tillandsias that have regular misting do better than ones that are dunked every once in a while since they effectively cease growth between waterings. Also keep in mind that dunking them too frequently is more likely to lead to rot than misting them frequently.
 
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