Garden Thread

Lifestyle > Home and Garden > Gardening Q & A > Blotanical Advice

Gardening Newbie posted:

I received a plant as a gift but I don't know what it is. Can someone help me identify it please?

NOID front view

NOID side view

Carol of Flower Hill Farm posted:

That is a Tillandsia filifolia. Tillandsias are air plants. They don't grow on soil. They are a part of the Bromeliad family.

You can think of it as a garden thread.  Filifolia is from the Latin filum meaning "thread".  Folia means "leaves".  Thread-like leaves in your garden.  In fact, its common name is "threadleaf air plant".

Carol of May Dreams Gardens posted:

Welcome to this forum Gardening Newbie!  That's a nice plant.  

I've never taken care of Tillandsias though.  If no one else replies to you on this thread, maybe you can write a letter to Hortense Hoelove instead?  She gives good gardening advice.  :-D Also, if caring for this plant becomes too stressful, I can refer you to Dr. V.Q. Hortfreud, my garden therapist.

~fer of my little garden in japan posted:

Hello gardening newbie!  I know that plant well.  It is native to my home country Mexico.  It is also native to Guatemala and Costa Rica and is usually found at elevations of 100 - 1300 meters.

Andrea of Andrea in this Lifetime posted:

I once had a flowering Tillandsia in the office.  I cared for it for a year but I went on a trip and the janitor killed it.  I suppose she forgot to water for a long time then watered it immediately after exposure to the hot sun so it rotted.

Both underwatering and overwatering will cause problems.  If you live in a dry climate, water your plant frequently.  If you live in a humid climate, you don't have to water that often.

Bom of Plant Chaser posted:

Tillandsia filifolia is not a xeric species.  So it is best to place it in a sheltered location.  It cannot tolerate full sun.

Here is a close-up of a Tillandsia that I own.  Notice the silvery hairs at the back of the leaves.  These are trichomes which absorb moisture from the air.

Stephanie of Steph's Green Space posted:

I also have a Tillandsia in my bromeliad collection. It makes my exotic plant list more interesting.

@Gardening newbie:  It looks full in the back of your plant.  Do you have pups growing at the back?  Maybe you should separate it from its mount to check.  Happy growing exotic plants.  :-D

Gardening Newbie posted:

I separated the plant from the mount.

The back of the plant looks like this.  Are these the pups you mention?  What should I do next?  Do I just leave them this way?

Bom of Plant Chaser posted:

Yes, those are the pups.  I can also see some pups behind the dead leaves.  You should try to remove the the dead leaves gently to allow the pups sufficient space to grow.

Gardening Newbie posted:

HELP!!!  I did what Bom said and I saw a clump of pups.

I took out the dead leaves but this pup came out as well.  What do I do now?  It this pup going to die?  Did I kill it?  :(          



Bom of Plant Chaser posted:

Yikes!  Normally you wait until the pup is at least a third of the size of the parent before you separate it.  They say that pups are more viable at this size.  You can try to take care of that pup and hope and pray that it survives.  

Gardening Newbie posted:

I will do that.  Thank you to everyone for all the information and advice.  I guess this threadleaf airplant is really special and deserves its own thread in this garden forum.

***Special thank-yous to Carol (MDG) and Carol (FHF), ~Fer, Andrea and Stephanie who so bravely and generously granted me permission to include them in this post. A special thank you to my wife who provided me with the post's HTML.