Tillandsia (pronounced “til land see ah”) is a genus of plant found in the Bromeliad family. There are over 500 different species of Tillandsia, and while they have many common characteristics, they also vary greatly in range, size and needs. They are found throughout southern North America, Central America and South America. One of the most common and familiar species of Tillandsia found growing naturally through much of the southern United States is Spanish Moss.
Tillandsia are referred to as air plants because of the unique way they grow. Most are epiphytes meaning they grow attached to other plants, such as trees. They are not parasitic as they gather all of their own nutrients and water and cause no harm to their host plants. Spanish Moss exemplifies the name air plants as you can see it dangling from telephone wires and tree branches.
While Tillandsia can be a fun addition to a terrarium or any bromeliad collection both indoors or outdoors, it is important to understand how they grow in order to best provide for their needs and help them thrive.