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HouseplantsConservatory Greenhouse

Tillandsia ionantha from Mexico

sky plant from Mexico

A clump-forming, evergreen epiphyte with green, arching and incurved leaves forming dense rosettes with silvery bases. The tubular violet-blue flowers are borne just above the foliage in spring and summer and the leaves blush red when the plant is in bloom

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Blue Purple Red Green Grey Silver
Summer Blue Purple Red Green Grey Silver
Autumn Green Grey Silver
Winter Green Grey Silver
Position
  • Partial shade
Aspect

West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H1C
Botanical details
Family
Bromeliaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Clump forming
Genus

Tillandsia are evergreen perennials, often epiphytic, forming rosettes of leathery, linear or strap-shaped leaves, and tubular or funnel-shaped flowers which may be 2-ranked in spikes with conspicuous bracts, or solitary and inconspicuous

Name status

Correct

How to grow

Cultivation

Plants need no compost; they are glued or wired to a support. Grow under glass in bright but diffused light with good ventilation. From spring to autumn immerse in rainwater twice a week (more in hot, dry conditions), drain well and allow to dry. Can stand outside in summer to benefit from rain, additional light and humidity. See Air plants for more

Propagation

Propagate from seed (see Air plants) or by separating offsets once they are at least a third the size of the parent

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Patio and container plants
  • Sub-tropical
Pruning

Remove individual rosettes that have died after flowering

Pests

May be susceptible to aphids and mealybugs

Diseases

Generally disease-free

Get involved

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