Air Plant Tillandsia Setacea, Southern Needle Leaf Air Plant Care
|12 Hours direct or filtered light. Direct sun will result in a reddish color in the leaves. Pups will come out a contrasting brilliant lime green. Here in south FL, we keep our specimen setacea on the south east facing porch in direct sun and in the front growing area in all day shade. Shade grown plants tend to have larger leaves that are deep green to brown.|
|In humid conditions, mist every other or even every third day. In dry conditions, mist daily. In any condition, allow the plant to completely dry between watering. Soak once or twice monthly for a few minutes (say 10), but plant must dry out within three hours or so. An oscillating fan could help. While setacea are fairly tolerant and hardy in just about any condition, TOO MUCH WATER WILL KILL YOUR PLANT.|
|Fertilize sparingly once or twice monthly, usually during the soak. Use a good tilandsia fertilizer. We use Grow More 17-8-22, and have samples available for free. You pay for the jar and shipping only. TOO MUCH FERTILIZER WILL BURN YOUR PLANT.|
Tillandsia Setacea prefer sub tropic environments with warm and humid forests. It is widly distributed and found native in southwestern United States (Florida, Georgia), northwestern and southern Mexico (Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Campeche), Guatemala, the West Indies (Cayman Islands, Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico) and the State of Pará in northeastern Brazil. It will grow in abundance on just about anything it can attach to. At Morningwood Farms, it especially favors oak bark but readily grows on wild grape vine, slash pine, and even on the ground from fallen branches.
Tillandsia setacea are easily cared for in just about any environment. These plants prefer warm to hot temperatures, humidity, and air circulation. In zones 8 +, these plants can survive outdoors, and can even survive mild frosts. In other zones, they may be grown in artificial environments, provided they are misted regularly, provided 12 hours of filtered or artificial sunlight, and moving air. They do not require soil and only require occasional fertilization.
Like all tillandsia, these plants will die after blooming. But, before they do they will produce "pups". These pups will match the parent plant and can be left to grow on the mount or can be broken off when mature and mounted somewhere else. If your air plant appears sick after blooming, it's NORMAL. DO NOT THROW IT OUT, but continue to care for it as you usually do. Watch for pups to emerge.
Your air plant is only fully exhausted if you can pluck the leaves out of the central plant without effort. Usually this is the result of over watering and rot. Plants that die naturally will tend to still be tough and simply dry out and wither.