Do air plants only bloom once?
Many people have been asking do air plants only bloom once in their lifetime. The short answer is yes, air plants only bloom once in their life cycle. But that is how air plants propagate themselves and reward you with more plants after it blooms.
Why do air plants only bloom once in their life?
Blooming is a very energy intensive process for tillandsias. The spectacular blossom is only produced when the air plant is mature and ready to propagate itself.
You can understand blooming as nature’s brilliant design for air plants to attract insects, birds, and other animals to help pollinate the plant. The colorful blossoms are very vibrant and even fragrant sometimes in order to attract pollinators.
Since air plants only bloom for the sake of propagating itself, it only needs to bloom once to get the job done.
When do air plants bloom?
When an air plant blooms depends on its growth environment, the type of air plant, and maturity of the air plant. Keep in mind that since air plants only bloom once, they can be very particular about when they are ready to focus their energy on blooming.
Many nursery grown air plants can bloom anytime of the year the nursery wants them to bloom. It is a common industry practice to use ethylene gas to induce air plants to bloom. Since blooming air plants look attractive in store displays, some nurseries would “make the air plant bloom” even before the plant reaches its maturity.
It often takes an air plant much longer to mature and bloom in nature. Tillandsia Xerographicas, for instance, can be blooming at the young age of 5 or 7 years when cultivated. The same Xerographica can sometimes take 25 years to reach its maturity and produce blossoms.
How do I get my air plant to bloom?
You can actually get your air plant to bloom even without the use of ethylene gas at commercial level.
Ethylene gas is naturally released when certain fruits and vegetables are ripen. Place your air plant in an enclosed area with some ripen fruits like a bag of apples and the naturally emitted ethylene gas would speed up the blooming process.
You can also get your air plant to bloom sooner by helping it mature with a good dose of air plant food.
How often to fertilize air plants?
Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package to prevent burning your air plants. Most fertilizers can be used at recommended dosage twice a month. You can make the bloom last longer by not fertilizing your air plants when they are ready to bloom or blooming.
Remember it is always safer to under-fertilize rather than over-fertilize since too much plant food can burn the plant.
When will my air plants bloom?
With regular fertilization and proper care, most air plants will bloom when it’s still a cold outside. Tillandsia Ionantha Guatemala and Tillandsia Scaposa, for example, tend to bloom from November to March.
Again, the exact bloom time can depend on many factors. But your air plant will only bloom once regardless of when it blooms.
Do air plants die after they bloom once?
Once you get your air plant to bloom, you can expect the blossoms to last from a week to a month or so.
If you grow your air plants indoor where there are no natural pollinators, you can pollinate the plants yourself by gently rubbing the pollen (yellow powder on the anther) onto the stigma (typically found in the middle of the blossom).
You can safely cut the spike off once the air plant is done blooming. This would help the plant to refocus its energy on the next stage of its life cycle— producing new air plants.
Like all things in nature, air plants also have a finite life cycle. And this life cycle where the air plants only bloom once prepares the plant to produce more plants and propagate itself. Rather than thinking that air plants die after they bloom, you can understand it as nature’s way for air plants to multiply themselves. You will be rewarded with more plants once the air plant blooms and produce pups.