Air plants are becoming highly popular because of their easy care and low maintenance nature. As air plants can be displayed in a variety of innovative ways, they find their way into the homes of most plant enthusiasts.
Tillandsia has around 600 distinct species of air plants. Tillandsia air plant varieties include Tillandsia magnusiana which is adored for having a contemporary appearance while being so easy to care for. This blog covers almost all the prominent factors regarding this beginner-friendly plant including its care and propagation guide as well as some creative ways to display it at your place!
About Tillandsia Magnusiana
Commonly known as Poor Man's Tectorum, Tillandsia magnusiana is a thin-leafed air plant with a ball shape that resembles a pincushion. It is one of the most popular species of the genus Tillandsia. This air plant originates from South America and can be found from Southern Mexico to Honduras where it clings to oak trees.
Magnusiana air plant is also referred to as Tillandsia plumosa var. magnusiana. Marx Carl Ludwig Ludewig Wittmack originally described it in 1889. Noted for having soft silvery-green leaves, T. magnusiana produces rich purple-colored flowers with yellow stamens. It prefers good air circulation and plenty of light because of its quantity of trichomes. As a result, unlike other air plants, this stemless Tillandsia variety does not ask for frequent soaks. The long and delicate leaves of this little plant form beautiful rosettes, giving it an enchanting look.
Features of T. Magnusiana
- Flowers - This variety has tubular flowers that add sophisticated vibes to any corner. Tillandsia magnusiana flowers grow from 3 to 4 cm in length and have no fragrance at all. This air plant has a globose inflorescence with a squat spike and no peduncle. The floral bracts, which are big, prominent, and covered with scales, have a brownish-red tint. The blooming stem’s bracts are small and identical to the leaves of T. magnusiana. Interestingly, this air plant turns red or pink before blooming. The petals range from deep purple to light purple, almost white in color. The stamens, on the other hand, are somewhat sticking out. After flowering, this variety develops discards that grow within the parent plant.
- Leaves – It is interesting to know that the air plant Tillandsia magnusiana has a spherical shape due to its flexible and soft leaves. This plant absorbs water from its leaves rather than the roots. The bright-green leaves are quite thin and need little water to stay healthy. Trichomes, which resemble fur and reflect 70% of the light, cover the leaves completely.
Tillandsia Magnusiana Care
Tillandsia magnusiana care is not complex. Here are some key attributes to keep in mind as you begin with the Tillandsia magnusiana planting adventure!
- Light requirements - Tillandsia magnusiana prefers to thrive in bright filtered sunlight. These air plants enjoy a lot of light, and, thanks to trichomes, they may grow in extremely bright and hot environments. Additionally, they require sufficient air movement for better growth. It is important to note that if your T. magnusiana is young or hasn't been exposed to much sunshine, avoid putting it in the afternoon sun as this can cause sunburns. In case the temperature of the area where your air plant is kept increases, it is recommended to place your Magnusiana air plant at a distance from the window so that it can easily get some indirect light. Moreover, you can make use of fluorescent lighting at a distance ranging from 6 to 36 inches. Other excellent artificial lighting suggestions are full-spectrum bulbs and four-tube setups.
- Watering - Air plants, on the whole, require less water than normal plants. With their trichomes, Tillandsia air plants can collect moisture from the surrounding environment. The watering needs of Tillandsia magnusiana can be fulfilled either through the soaking or misting method. If you live in humid regions, merely misting is enough. Misting can be done two to four times a week until all of the leaves are soaked in water. Soaking, on the other hand, is required when the climate is dry and warm. Simply put the plant for half an hour in water once every week if you go for the soaking method. Make sure to turn your Poor Man's Tectorum air plant upside down and give it a good shake after watering. Let it dry completely. Also, remember the ideal time to water these fuzzy guys is in the morning as they take carbon dioxide from their leaves at night and the leaves are unable to breathe when they are moist. Apart from having an effective watering routine, it is critical to double-check the type of water you're using to hydrate your air plants. These Tillandsia air plant types should be watered with filtered tap water that has been left to sit long enough for the chlorine to disperse. Avoid distilled water.
- Fertilizer – Because this is an air plant, no soil is required. Tillandsia magnusiana care includes monthly fertilization. Moderate quantities of fertilizer should be used. During summers, a small amount of Tillandsia air plant fertilizer once or twice a month is beneficial. Once per month in winter is enough.
- Ample Airflow – Sufficient ventilation is required by T. magnusiana plants. It is certainly not a good idea to keep your plants damp all of the time. As a result, expose this air plant to light and air for a couple of hours after each watering. It not only soothes the plant for a while but also keeps it from overheating.
- Temperature - The optimal temperature range for Tillandsia magnusiana good growth is 50 to 89.6 °F (10 to 32 °C). It cannot survive in extremely low temperatures. These air plants can withstand temperatures near 0 °C for a couple of hours. Besides, if you live in areas with temperatures less than 39.2 to 41 °F (4 to 5 °C), it is advised to plant this species indoors. Low to medium humidity works well for these air plants. Ensure to maintain good aeration.
Methods of Propagation
Tillandsia magnusiana is grown through seeds or pup division. Propagating tillandsia air plants from seed is a fascinating yet time-consuming process as it takes a year or two for it to reach 1-2 inches in height. Hence, the division of pups is the favored method of propagation.
1. Propagation from Offsets
- To begin with, take your Magnusiana air plant and soak it in water for a good two to three hours. Keep a pair of sharp scissors and gloves handy.
- Pull the plant from the water and carefully shake off any excess moisture. Once done, put it on a flat surface and search for Tillandsia air plant pups on the parent plant.
- Now, carefully remove a pup that is about one-third of the parent plant using scissors.
- Put the baby plants in a container filled with water. Place your parent plant and spray it properly right away.
2. Propagation from Seeds
- Collect seeds to begin seed germination. Ready-to-germinate seeds are easily available as well. Soak the seeds in water for a few days.
- This step involves separating the seeds by placing them on a flat surface. Using a magnifying lens, you can separate all of the seeds.
- The Tillandsia air plant seeds must be placed on a growing medium after about two weeks.
- Since the activity takes time, you'll see little seedlings after one or two months. Mist the Poor Man's Tectorum plant less frequently as it grows into seedlings, but keep it moist. For the first two years, progress will be slow, but it will pick up after that.
How to Display
Some great ways to display Tillandsia magnusiana are discussed below:
- Mounting – T. magnusiana is a delightful plant to grow because it can be hung from the roof. The process is much more pleasurable than it sounds. You can grow these plants on nearly any decorative surface, such as shells, pebbles, slate, driftwood, and so on. To attach the air plant to the mounting material’s base, you can make use of a robust cable or even a strong adhesive. Keep in mind to not cover the plant’s base in moss as it will cause it to rot.
- Terrariums – A terrarium, which is generally a glass container, is frequently used to showcase plants indoors. To make the plant look prettier, materials like sand, stones, and rocks can be added to it. Terrariums are usually retained as ornamental or decorative pieces.
- Aeriums – Another way of exhibiting air plants is through Aeriums. These are glass containers used for displaying plants and they look adorable when placed on furniture. You can add a layer of sand, moss, or rocks to the Aeriums, just like you do in terrariums.
Tillandsia magnusiana or Poor Man's Tectorum is a beautiful, compact air plant that loves bright light and demands a well-ventilated environment. The deep purple flowers and smooth, supple leaves add to its beauty. With its ease of upkeep, this variety will be a wonderful addition to your air plant collection. Grab the lovely T. magnusiana today!