In the jungles of Central America, Tillandsias anchor themselves on the bark of trees, but they are not parasites. They are “epiphytic”, gathering nutrients from rain and dust in the air. The Spanish moss that hangs on trees in the South is a cousin.
GIVE IT A HOME – A child can keep a ‘pet’ Tillandsia in a seashell or on a piece of driftwood. Leave it loose in the shell or anchor it with a drop or two of glue. Attach the root to a pocket in the driftwood with a bit of glue. Hold until the glue sets. Drape a little sphagnum moss around the base of the plant.
LIGHT – Keep it in filtered sunlight.
WATER – Mist it with water once or twice a week, depending on how dry the air is, or submerge it in water overnight once every other week. Add plant food to water once a month in spring and summer. Do not let its roots and base sit in water or soil. It needs good air circulation.
TEMPERATURE – Always keep Tillandsias where the temperature is above 45°F.
WHAT NEXT? If the plant is happy, it may flower. Then it will send out “pups” to take its place and it will die. Now you have a family of Tillandsias. Leave them where they are, or mount each pup on a piece of cork and build a Tillandsia mobile. Suspend each cork from a length of nylon fishing line and hang them from a coat hanger or a dowel.
TIME OF YEAR? Anytime!