Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Yoo hoo

Boysmom has a question for you plant-o-philes (you know who you are):

Since you all here seem to know much more about exotics than I do, I have a plant problem as well that I would appreciate some help with. I have a Tillsandia (actually, it's my husband's, but watering is my responsibility since I'm home with it) that seems to be dying of dehydration. In spite of being spritzed at least ten times a day. It hangs from a wire over the kitchen sink so I see and spray it often. Is there any other way to care for/water it? Would it live if I stuck it, say, half under water? Our air is incredibly dry--between natural dryness and forced air heat, and I'm sure that's what's doing it in.
Pretty Lady thought that dryness was what was doing her last orchid in, as well, until it expired completely and she discovered it was suffering from root rot. In her defense, she believes that its root system was already blackened mush before she bought it; there was a reason it was on the 'reduced' rack.

However, Tillsandias seem to be completely out of both hers and Google's range of knowledge. DC? K? Have at it, dears.


Anonymous said...

Oops, I didn't realize this thread had moved up a notch.

I had a Tillandsia Recurvata (aka Ball Moss) that I set on a desk and never did anything to, including watering. It bloomed. Which may have indicated stress, but it was cute nevertheless.

I got it off a live oak tree in my front yard in Austin. So it was basically living in its natural environment, only indoors.

I don't know what type if tillansdia (tillsandia? Maybe they have similar names but are not the same?) you have, but you may consider not watering it so much, or spritzing *near* it as opposed to *onto* it.

Good luck!


Desert Cat said...

HERE is some info.

Could be over or under watering, depends, according to that page, but soaking it is definitely a recommended way to water it. *Not* leaving it half-submerged, however. That'll probably kill it.

I've never had luck with these myself. Probably underwatering.

More here.

Spell it Tillandsia and you get a lot more hits on Google.

My gut feeling on these is that they should be allowed to dry out between waterings. I'd try soaking it overnight, and then reducing the spritzing to once a day. If the soaking perked it up, maybe try soaking it once every other week or so to augment the daily spritzing.

k said...

DC's suggestions sound good to me. I'd guess it's being both way overwatered, and watered the wrong way. I have the disadvantage of having several hundred tillandsias on my little property - but you see, they're all outdoors in their natural environment. Meaning I know very little about how to grow one indoors and out of the Deep South. (If, indeed, you are.)

I don't know just how dry it is where you are, if you have an indoor *breeze,* what sun it gets, or how it's mounted. Or even IF it's mounted, which would make a huge difference.

It's also true that tillandias - actually, I think all bromeliads - have a life cycle that includes the *mother* plant slowly dying after blooming. It can take up to a year for it to die. Meanwhile, it's usually producing *pups,* aka offsets etc. - it reproduces both by seed and offset. Knowing at what point in its life cycle it was when you got it, and at what point it is now, would be good to find out if you can.

If you can tell me a little more about its situation perhaps I could give you more guidance. Meantime, I'd try the soaking, then spritzing much less, as DC suggested. In fact, I wouldn't even soak it every night.

In a day or two I'll try to post some pictures so you can see what they look like in their native - but horticultured - habitat. Not just to show off! It might clarify how the roots and watering work best in nature.

BoysMom said...

My inlaws arrived Friday, so I am just now getting back here.
The plant was a gift from a friend in Los Angeles, a small peice off his big plant. It had been putting out little straw-colored blooms every few weeks, nothing to look at, and starting new buds. Now it is turning sort of grey-brown instead of dull green, and the leaves look less plump. It seemed quite happy with its circumstances until the winter heating season started and the air got even dryer. We are in a high mountain desert, over 7000 feet in elevation.
It is hanging from a wire hook made from an old hanger by the NE window by the sink, over the aloes. The aloes and cactus get watered once a week and think they are in heaven, that's how dry the air here is. When I spritz the Tillsandia or Tillandsia, whatever the proper name is, it is dry again in about thirty seconds.
I think I will try the soak with fertilizer thing, as I have never fertilized it, that might perk it up a bit. The gentleman who gave it to my husband really couldn't give us much care advice as he simply doesn't have to do anything to his in that climate.

BoysMom said...

After soaking overnight with fertilizer, it has perked back up, mostly. I shall soak it the other way up (the ends which did not fit in the bowl still look grey and dry) tonight.
Thank you very much for your advice.