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Tillandsia Juncea – Features, Care and Growth Guide

by gardeningit
Tillandsia Juncea

Tillandsia Juncea, widely known as an Air plant, is a nonparasitic plant in nature. However, the aerial, exposed roots facilitate it in clinging to trees and rocks, redefining the function of traditional roots. The long greenish, silver leaves are the main source for it to absorb nutrients and moisture from the humid atmosphere around. The unusual air plant is native to Mexico, Central America and Southern America, West Indies and finds its way till Argentina on the globe.

This epiphytic (a plant that grows on the surface of another plant without harming it), herbaceous perennial air plant is not only an exquisite addition to home décor in the modern household but is also a go-to by pharmaceuticals for medicinal purpose. It has also earned a reputation in the packaging and polish industry respectively. Preferably called an Air plant for ease, juncea has different kinds that are referred to with various names such as Bonapartea juncea and Platystachys juncea and many more. Let’s focus in detail on this plant from the family of pineapple.

Tillandsia Juncea Classification

Tillandsia Juncea is scientifically classified as follows:

  • Scientific Name: Tillandsia Juncea
  • Binomial name: Tillandsia juncea
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Family: Bromeliaceae
  • Subfamily: Tillandsioideae
  • Genus: Tillandsia
  • Species: T. Juncea

Genus Tillandsia

A genus from the family of pineapple comprising of more than 500 species enjoys the title of air plant in the layman’s terminology. The leaves of Tillandsia are covered with the trichomes. They are special plant cells for absorbing water from the surface.

Tillandsia Juncea Features

Tillandsia Juncea air plant does not only serve the purpose of beautifying an office table, on low or near to no maintenance, is a unique plant with features worth noticing. Below are a few of the salient features:

Growth Habit

  • An epiphytic plant in nature (meaning they do not need soil to grow) gives the impression of thriving on the plant it stubbornly clutches to, truly draws moisture and nutrients from the air and hence is found in rainforests and humid areas.
  • These deceptive plants can also be found on altitudes up to 2400 meters.
  • This exotic plant may survive dry weather and drought conditions for about six months or more.
  • It would not be wrong to say that the Tillandsia juncea air plant can practically survive anywhere may it be desert, mountainous region, forest and even inside homes, offices, restaurants, and malls. Even in educational institutions not only for study purposes but for its benefits.

Plant Height and Structure

  • Tillandsia reaches up to 50 centimeters in height forming a rosette with its supple, slender, long and green leaves that at a glance can be mistaken for grass. Rosette is when leaves are arranged like the petals of the rose flower, one overlapping the other. It typically has a large number of leaves that grow to be 5 to 10 cm in length.
  • These are flower-bearing plants. Their flowers grow up to 4 centimeters that appear to be tubular and spiky. The hues of nature can be witnessed on a spectrum of purple. The no fragrant flower can be equally captivating to the naked eye of the beholder. As it is a unique flower that blossoms with a tint of red near the tip and marks the end of the life cycle of the plant.

Tillandsia Juncea Air Plant Care

The juncea is a plant that can easily be hybridized. Many greenhouses, nurseries, and cultivators create hybrids for improved growth or even medicinal use. Juncea air plant care is easy and therefore it makes it ideal for indoor decorations. They do not require much effort in caring for them. However, some basic needs like all living creatures must be met to ensure their survival. 

Water Requirements

  • It comes from tropical areas that are inhabited with rain forests which receives an ample amount of rain, due to which they require moderate to frequent watering. Waterlogging (giving too much water) will result in dull, wilting and brown plants giving an impression of lack of juncea air plant care.
  • These can be indoor plants and therefore misting them twice or thrice a week would be sufficient for its growth. Since they do not require soil (which is the main reserve of water supply for most plants) hence these can be soaked in water once a week during summers.
  • These must dry out after a few hours of watering. If water is left between the plant and it does not receive appropriate light will cause fungus to grow and issues related to roots such as rotting.

Tillandsia Juncea Sunlight Requirement

  • The plant loves outdoors and welcomes the sunny weather.
  • It grows and flourishes in places that are open to light and would appreciate artificial light in the absence of natural.
  • Like every living organism, if exposed to intense light during summer, it will result in pigmentation and burn marks.
  • If planted indoors, it should be strategically placed, making sure that it receives adequate sunlight without exposing it to direct light, particularly in summers.

Temperature Requirements

Tillandsia juncea needs warm temperatures ranging from 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive in temperatures as low as 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit according to USDA. However, it is recommended by experts to transfer an outdoor potted plant indoors when the temperatures drop.

Humidity Requirement

Since it can survive nearly in every habitat from desert to rain forest, therefore, it is easy to infer that it requires moderate humidity levels. But, with the condition of suitable aeration to dry out the plant especially after watering for its consistent growth.

Fertilizer Requirements

Tillandsia plants do not necessarily require fertilizers and can grow in its absence if grown by offsets. Their seeds can be moderately fertilized. Fertilizing once a month in summers and once in three months during winters is sufficient.

Repotting Requirement

Repotting as the term suggest means to transfer a plant that has outgrown its existing pot into a bigger pot. The air plant has no restriction as to how it is potted. Since there is no need for soil, so these can simply be pulled out of one pot and kept in another. These can be hung in pots upright or upside down. With their diverse array of arrangements and versatility in displaying can be a fabulous addition to a modern office for a more personalized touch. Also, it can transform a household into a gorgeous yet serene personal space.

Pruning Requirement

Tillandsia is evolving from the status of only being an outdoor plant to an indoor plant as well. And an occasional pruning of the inflorescence will make it appear healthier, giving the ambiance a more radiant appearance. It will also be easier to notice the pups (baby plant of Tillandsia). For the growth of pups, it’s absolutely essential to trim and prune the plant. Any dull or dry leaf that impedes the growth of the offset or the pup must be removed to make room for the offset to grow. Since the mother plant typically dies after blooming, giving way to pups.

Air Purification

All living organisms require air for survival and growth. In this era, where all sorts of pollutions are at their peak and every second, harmful gases are emitted into the atmosphere. So much so that some of these gases are responsible for the depletion of the precious ozone layer of our planet. Whereas, others cause reparatory discomfort or disorders. Nature has put into place air purifiers in the form of a Tillandsia plant to tackle this situation and maintain the balance of our ecosystem.

Tillandsia Juncea Propagation

Tillandsia juncea air plant seeds are easy to germinate as oppose to something such as orchid seeds. Just like any other plant, Tillandsia can also be grown from seeds. It will take two to four years to grow into a decent sized plant. Which gives way to propagation by division as the method preferred to grow air plants. Once a Tillandsia plant blooms, this marks the end of its life cycle. It then produces little babies called ‘pups’ or offsets. These pups usually grow at the base of the mother plant or near the roots.

An air plant can create around two to three pups after the blooming process. The next step is to separate the pup from the mother plant. This can be done once the pup is about one third the size of the withering mother plant. In order to do this one must gently tug on the base. Or soak the plant on a bowl of water till the pup and mother loosen or simply detach. An offset that is ready to begin its own cycle separates easily without causing any damage to the pup or the mother. If a pup is left attached to the mother plant will continue to grow. Just in a wild formation which would look clumpy. If taken care of, and extended in the air it would take more of a spherical formation and would look even more exotic.

Tillandsia Juncea Growth Timeline

An estimated timeline is provided to decipher the process of growth with reference to the time it takes to show different stages. Keeping in mind the climate and other prerequisites the plant needs to grow.

  • Day 1: After separating the offset from the mother plant, it is fixed on its medium which may be a pot or even a piece of wood. Making sure that the medium is placed strategically keeping the needs of the plant in mind.
  • Day 2- Day 30: Mist the pup two to three times and week by soaking it in a bowl of water once every week. Keep it in a way that it gets sufficient air to dry in a few hours after watering. This can also be ensured by turning the plant upside down after a considerable duration of the period has gone by. It must be kept in warm temperatures ranging from 50°F to 80°F.
  • Day 30 – Day 60: around this time the pup is well settled into its medium. Continue to mist. And regulate the temperatures.
  • Day 60 onwards: By now the plant will adapt to its environment and would show signs of growth. This is the time when the plant can be repotted into a fancier pot or shifted indoors or even hung upside down to bring more aesthetic and dimension to your space.

The process of growth is slow and hence it is suggested that you may take regular pictures throughout to notice it.

Conclusion

Tillandsia is a spiky plant from the pineapple family that can easily grow for a considerable amount of time and requires low maintenance. With its slender, green leaves the air plant is native to Mexico, America and West Indies. It can practically grow anywhere with a warm temperature. It can be planted indoors and outdoors. Tillandsia Juncea may seem like a parasitic plant. However, it only holds on to other trees and does not drain the life out of them. It has the most unique and unconventional roots, whose function is to help it latch on to any surface and that’s about it.

The absorption of the nutrients is done by its luscious green leaves from the air during which it also purifies it. Its gorgeous flower and ease of propagating, along with its many benefits namely medicinal make it a desirable plant. Plus it can be used for decoration, especially upside down which gives it an edge over other decorative plants.  

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1 comment

Sumera March 15, 2020 - 7:17 pm

Thanks

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