How to Grow Tillandsia Bulbosa, Beginner’s Air Plant Care Guide

Tillandsia, or air plants, have seen a boom in popularity in recent years.

This is due to the ease with which they grow, the distinctive and artistic displays they provide, and their propensity to grow in unorthodox settings.

Their irresistible allure can infuse homes, offices, and other indoor spaces with a beautiful appearance and personality. These low-maintenance plants are ideal for gardeners who are short on time. They are also beneficial for those who enjoy displaying living plants in their surroundings.

Tillandsia Bulbosa Air Plant is a stunning “architectural” plant that can transform any area. From its origins to proper maintenance, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Tillandsia Bulbosa here.

Tillandsia Bulbosa

Tillandsia Bulbosa – What is it?

Tillandsia Bulbosa is a species of air plant native to Mexico, the United States, and Brazil. It is found along the coast, in hammocks, and on strands.

Tillandsia bulbosa is found growing across Central and South America, including Colombia, southern Mexico, Venezuela, and the West Indies. From sea level to a height of 1400 meters, it grows densely on trees in open woodlands, deep forests, mangrove thickets along the coast, and on lianas along river banks.

This species thrives in areas with abundant filtered light, warm temperatures, and high humidity. They tolerate regular watering and lower light levels better than Xeric air plant types.

It is a tiny epiphyte, reaching a maximum length of 25-30 cm.

The bulbosa leaves are thin and curved at the edges, forming a tubular, straw-like shape. These become twisted and distorted, giving them the appearance of tentacles.

Before the plant blooms, the leaves develop and turn a deep purple and crimson.

Their bulbous bottoms, which are usually hollow, frequently serve as homes for ant colonies; as a result, it is not uncommon to discover ants in these plants if left outside.

This connection helps the plant since the ants give fertilizer in the form of their detritus and excrement.

Scientific Name and Classification

Tillandsia Bulbosa is one of the Tillandsia genus’s 650 species.

Originating in Central America and South America, the West Indies, southern Mexico, Venezuela, and eastern Brazil, it is a native species. Its brilliant green leaves curl out from its bulbous base in a waving fashion.

Tillandsia bulbosa f. alba, is a species of air plant in the genus Tillandsia and a member of the Bromeliaceae family. This species was described by William Jackson Hooker as early as 1825.

Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, naturalist, and physician, invented the term ‘Tillandsia.’ Dr. Elias Tillandz, another Swedish-born physician, served as his inspiration. Tillandsia Bulbosa is the scientific name for this bulbous Tillandsia species.

Sub Species

There are two bulbosa species: T. bulbosa guatemala, which is a smaller, darker green plant, and T. bulbosa belize, which is a bigger, brighter green plant.

Both bulbosa species are more mesic in nature, which means they have smoother, greener leaves with less trichomes and so require more indirect light and water than other xeric types.

Tillandsia Bulbosa are also known as:

  • Tillandsia Pumila
  • Tillandsia Erythraea
  • Platystachys bulbosa
  • Tillandsia bulbosa var. brasiliensis
  • Tillandsia bulbosa var. picta, Tillandsia erythraea
  • Tillandsia pumila
  • Platystachys erythraea.


Tillandsia Bulbosa blooms from simple green or red spikes that grow into inflorescences with two to eight flowers. Scarlet or cherry red tones occur on the highest leaves, and a small flower scape or spike shoots out.

The flower spike subsequently bears tubular violet-petaled tubular blooms.

This air plant blooms in a variety of forms, from simple to sub-digitate, distichous, red or green; spikes are spreading, lanceolate, sharp, or flattened, and measure 2-5 cm in length with a 2-8-flowered inflorescence.

When the topmost leaves blossom, they become vividly colored in scarlet tones, and the upright flower scape is red and extremely short; the tubular flowers have bright violet petals.

After flowering, the Bulbosa produces plant pups. Puppies should not be removed from the mother plant until they reach a size of half to two-thirds that of their mother.

You can either leave them to grow into a super plant or remove them and re-mount them. Before you break them off, ensure that they are at least half to two-thirds the size of the parent plant.


Tillandsia Bulbosa is hardy in USDA zones 9-10. This means they can survive in temperatures ranging from 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.6 to 4.4 degrees Celsius).

Check What Hardiness Zone You Are In Here.

tillandsia bulbosa care

Tillandsia Bulbosa plants require little maintenance. Their growth and well-being are determined by their geographical location and care routine. Consider the following when caring for Tillandsia Bulbosa.


While Tillandsia Bulbosa prefers frequent watering, they do not require soaking.

They just require light mistings 2-3 times a week, depending on the humidity level in your home. You can even lower the frequency to once or twice a week during the winter.

Each time you sprinkle the plant, dry it upside down to prevent water from accumulating between the leaves. This can result in mold or decay.

Additionally, you can soak them in a tub of water. However, remember to gently shake the plant to eliminate any extra water. Indeed, it is best to place them in a drier spot to allow for water evaporation.


The plant requires sufficient illumination but not direct sunshine. It thrives in bright, filtered sunlight or in full-spectrum fluorescent light provided artificially.

While a setting near a window is preferable, artificial light is also beneficial to the plant. They should be placed around one foot away from a florescent light.

During the winter, you can supplement light with a grow light bulb placed near the plant.

Not sure of the difference between direct and indirect light?

If you place your hand between your plant and the light and feel the sun’s heat on your skin, or if the shadow your hand casts has sharp, hard edges, your plant is in indirect light, which is too extreme for most indoor house plants.

If the shadow is soft, that placement has indirect light, and your houseplants will likely be happy there.

How much light do my plants need?


Tillandsia Bulbosa thrives in warmer climates. Their best growing temperature range is between 10 and 32 degrees Celsius.

You should maintain a comfortable temperature during the day and a colder temperature at night. Plants that are solely exposed to ambient temperature may grow more slowly.

If you intend to grow it outside, purchase it early enough in the fall to avoid temperatures below 4 °C at night.

Apart from warmer temperatures, the plant prefers high humidity. However, proper air movement in the atmosphere is necessary to avoid fungus growth.


Fertilize Tillandsia Bulbosa once or twice a month, according to most gardeners. A general-purpose fertilizer with a nutrient ratio of 10/10/10 or 20/20/20 should be diluted to roughly 1/4 the prescribed strength with water.

The plant can then be soaked in the fertilizer solution.

 Tillandsia Bulbosa

Identification of Tillandsia Bulbosa

Tillandsia bulbosa is a unique Tillandsia species that has no similarity to the other Tillandsia species. It is a little epiphyte, reaching a maximum length of 25-30 cm, with narrow, wavy leaves that curve inward at the edges. The leaves resemble straw-like tubes that twist in an ad hoc manner.

The magnificent leaves are a gorgeous shade of deep green that fades to crimson near the plant’s top when it flowers. This plant’s blossoms are an appealing violet color. It is a monocarpic species, meaning that each rosette dies after flowering.

Displaying Tillandsia Bulbosa

Tillandsia Bulbosa is adaptable in terms of display. There are countless ways to display them in your home or business, from glass containers to colorful rocks.

  • Terrariums
    • You can display your Tillandsia Bulbosa in open or sealed glass containers. Arrange them on top of a bed of seashells, moss, or small rocks to enhance the beauty. Terrariums can be placed on tables, shelves, or even hanging from the ceiling.
  • Aeriums
    • Aeriums are an excellent dirt-free substitute for terrariums. They lend your rooms and lounges a basic yet elegant appearance. Suspend them in the air and fill them with tiny bulbs to create the appearance of lanterns.
  • Mounting
    • Puppies can be mounted on a variety of things, including driftwood, rocks, and barks. Additionally, you can attach them to your walls or set them on your tables.

Our best air plant terrariums and aeriums may be found here.


Tillandsia Bulbosa makes an excellent indoor plant. Its waxy, long, and thin leaves are sometimes linked to mythological sea animals, making it a striking addition to your home decor.

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