Tillandsia problems: the expert answers on Tillandsia diseases
THE AGRONOMIST ANSWERS ON HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR PLANTS
WHAT AM I WRONG WITH CARING FOR MY TILLANDSIA XEROGRAPHICA?
QUESTION FROM ANDREA
I have had one for a few months Tillandsia xerographica.
I keep it placed inside a terracotta pot and inside I put a stone to hold it a little higher (see attached photograph). For a couple of months I have moved it to give it a little more light.
Lately I have noticed that on some leaves the tip has started to dry out. The average room temperature ranges from 17 to 19 degrees with 45 to 50% humidity. Sometimes I put it out the window in the afternoon, maybe after a rest, when there is not so much brightness and the humidity level reaches 70 - 75%.
I usually bathe once every 2 weeks or with a shower (at a minimum so as not to do damage) or if it rains I leave it in the rain for a few minutes. I'm doing it wrong? What would be the best method for this type of plant?
Thank you for your attention.
Andrea (May 5
I don't understand the photo you attached to me. From it your tillandsia seems to me in excellent health and the vase I see does not look like terracotta. Could you send me a more recent photo so I can understand the real damage of the plant?
I await your news.
Dr. Maria Giovanna DavoliANDREW
Hello Doctor. First of all, thank you for the reply. I am sending you new photographs taken on 09-05-2009.
Hope they can be of help to understand the problem. I had previously sent another e-mail but I believe it did not arrive at its destination. Thank you for your help.
thanks for the photos.
A very important rule with these plants is that if you find a place in the house where they look good you definitely don't have to move them. If it didn't have a problem where it was before, put it back there. They do not need a lot of light but as plants are more suitable for living outdoors, clinging to trees and among other plants, if you are lucky enough to see that it is comfortable in a certain position, you absolutely must not move it.
First I tell you I don't like how you fixed it. Why do you sacrifice part of the plant in a vase? Surely the aesthetic effect is very nice, however the plant needs all its parts to breathe and photosynthesize, in this way the whole basal part does not take light and the gas exchanges are reduced. Keep it all out of the pot, in the limit, if you are afraid that it will fall, you can fix it by putting a pin of glue for grafts (and I tell you grafting glue, not the ones we normally use) that you can find in specialized gardening centers or agricultural consortia. Even if you bought it inside the vase, surely the nurseryman did not make it so big and beautiful by raising it that way ... his interest was also to sell the vase ... you can also keep it there but put something under it. so that it remains all out, no part excluded. Tillandsia do everything only and exclusively with the leaves, if you cover a part of it, you are limiting its potential. Air for these plants is just as important as water.
Now, on the whole it doesn't seem to me that you are breeding her badly. Dry tips are usually a symptom of low humidity. In fact, the relative humidity inside your home is quite low.
It's okay to wet it every two weeks (now that the heat starts, even every 10 days) but make sure you also wet the underside of the leaves, for example, you put it on top of the tub and bathe it generously, if possible with rainwater that you put inside. a sprinkle and sprinkle it well both above and below the leaves (also important below). This also removes the dust from the leaves. For now, as I realize that going towards the summer there is not much rain to collect, if the water in your area is calcareous, use natural mineral water. The quantity they need is so small that it is not a big expense and for the future if you can, collect rainwater that you store in bins and use when you need it.
Limestone is not suitable for these plants because it accumulates in the leaves creating problems for the functionality of the trichomes (hairs).
After having wet it very well I would advise you to turn it upside down for a moment and shake it slightly (slightly, I recommend) in order to remove the excess water that accumulates in the interstices of the leaves and fundamental thing, when you proceed with the next watering, check well that there is still no residual water that is to say that the plant is completely dry (turn it over to check if there is any trickle) if this is not the case, wait a few more days because it means that the plant still has water available and not it needs more.
If the environment in which it is located is not very bright or very hot, the "shaking of excess water" becomes important. Few but good waterings.
The alternation of dry periods with periods of wetting is fundamental as being very rich in very developed hairs (trichomes) (which give the gray color to the leaves, particularly evident in Tillandsia xerographica) the stomata (they are small openings that are found mainly in the lower page of the leaves, flanked by two cells that have the task of opening and closing these openings according to the environmental conditions and through which the plant has gaseous exchanges with the environment) of the plant are in a certain way "protected" or covered by hair when the plant is very wet as the hairs bend and prevent the stomata from carrying out their normal breathing function with the consequences you can imagine. So periods of watering with periods of dryness.
To increase the ambient humidity I would advise you to put water in bowls near the plant: the heat will evaporate it and the plant will benefit from it. Look, I keep bowls and saucers full of water for my plants all year round. I don't have tillandsia and this amount of water is too much for her but a couple of bowls placed nearby can only do her good.
Now the fact of putting it in the air a little to get a little rain can only do her good as long as it hasn't been watered recently. So the rain is fine if it replaces a normal watering, not to be added.
I hope I was clear, if there are any doubts, let me know.
Dr. M.G. Davoli
after reading his e-mail, I thought about changing the tillandsia arrangement. I was undecided whether to take a piece of marble (for example a cube) and fix it on top with a bit of grafting mastic, or put it in a vase (see attached photo) so that it remains completely suspended and inside the vase I put a some water so that there is more humidity.
I did well? Was the solution better for a piece of marble (or any other stone or is there a more suitable stone than others)? I also thought if I decided to fix it on the stone, to drill some holes so that I could put some water inside to give more humidity to the plant.
I'm glad you liked my photos and can only be pleased to see them on the site.
Thank you. Yours sincerely
I must say that I like this accommodation even less than the other. This moisture cap does not fit. The water bowls must be not attached to the plant but in the immediate vicinity (in the photo of my trolley the silver bowls, which contain only water, are nearby; do not consider the saucer which is not good for the tillandsia).
See for example the photo you find on this page, it is not one Tillandsia xerographica or those below, the idea is the same.
Among other things, I also don't like it because this sort of cap prevents the plant from forming roots. Now, they are not strictly essential for this plant as they only serve as an anchor but ... why stop it?
Perhaps better is the piece of marble and without any water hole ... the bowl of water close, but not attached. In any case, the stones are all good except obviously those that you can collect in the sea or on the beach as they are full of salinity that would slowly yield to the plant ... which it would definitely not like.
Since you need something tall, so that the leaves can be comfortable, for example, an upside-down flowerpot could also be fine where the base of the pot becomes the support base of the plant and if it is wide enough, you don't even need some glue; even the glass where you placed it but always upside down, as long as I can support it (I can't see it from the photos). In the photos I have attached to you, for example, in the first the plant is contained in a very simple stainless steel structure (such as those used to support plastic cups) which is perfect, or in the second and only placed on a piece of cork .
I hope I was clear. If you have any doubts, write me again.
Dr. M. G. Davoli
The answer is undoubtedly very clear. Thank you for the directions.
Thanks again. Sincerely
First of all, thank you for the advice you gave me earlier. In the previous e-mail he advised me not to keep it over the vase with water inside.
So I thought (and I sincerely hope I thought well this time) to fix it on a piece of wood.
I send you the photos.
At the base of the piece of wood I made a hole to "fit" the base of the plant with a depth of about 3 - 4 millimeters. I then put in some graft glue to hold it in place.
I hope I did well. Next to the plant I put a small bowl with water (not present in the photo) to give some humidity to the air
Thanks for your attention.
I would say that you have been very good. The arrangement is perfect and the aesthetic effect is also very nice. Now follow the indications on the cultivation treatments I gave you in the previous messages and you will see that she will be fine.
For whatever, you know where to find me.
Dr. M. Davoli
Thank you! I'm glad the new arrangement is fine. I also thank you for the previous advice.