Bulbous Air Plant

How to Grow the Bulbous Air Plant: Easy & Complete Guide

If you want to know how to grow the bulbous air plant, then you can at the right place. In this post, we will tell you some interesting things and how you can grow bulbous air plants. So, let’s get started!

What’s green, has strange tentacle-like leaves, and doesn’t require soil? Of course, Tillandsia bulbosa!

Air plants like the bulbosa are all the rage now, and their popularity shows no signs of waning. This variety is simple to grow and will brighten up any home with its almost alien-like appearance.

Continue reading to learn everything you need about Tillandsia bulbosa care and growing this air plant at home!

What Is Tillandsia bulbosa?

Tillandsia bulbosa, also known as Tilly bulbosa, Tillandsia pumila, Tillandsia erythraea, and the bulbous air plant, is a herbaceous perennial with tendril-like leaves and the ability to live outside the soil.

This Bromeliad plant has tubular and straw-like green foliage that sprouts from the bulb’s centre. These plants have large bulbous bases, which give rise to the plant’s name.

This species is distinguished by its small, cylindric leaves, brilliant red bracts, and lavender corollas. It’s common to see them dangling upside down in their natural environment, either alone or in groups.

Quick Facts About Bulbous Air Plant

Botanical NameTillandsia bulbosa
Common NameBulbous Air Plant
Plant TypePerennial herbaceous
Mature Size4–7 inches
Sun ExposureBright, indirect light or part shade
Soil TypeNone
Soil pHNone
Bloom TimeOnce per lifetime
Flower ColorViolet
Hardiness Zones9–11
Native AreaMexico, Central, and South America

Bulbous Air Plant Treatment

It’s a good idea to look at how Tillandsia bulbosa grows naturally to figure out what it requires to thrive. This air plant can be found in the wild throughout the Caribbean Basin, Central America, and South America. These locations are warm and humid.

So, how do they grow in the absence of soil? Tillandsias are Bromeliad epiphytes, which means they attach themselves to any suitable surface using their tiny roots (in a non-parasitic way).

Tillandsia bulbosa is commonly found growing on trees, where it receives plenty of light but is usually shaded from direct sunlight.

1. Light

Tillandsia bulbosa thrives in light and partial shade. It does not like direct sunlight and prefers indirect light and partial shade, but it is a versatile plant.

2. Soil 

Placing the plant in the soil will harm it by allowing moisture to remain in its hollow bulb, allowing rot to occur.

3. Water

It is simple to water a bulbosa. Air plants differ from other plants in that they do not use their root system to absorb water. Their roots primarily serve to anchor them to other plants or rocks. Instead, tiny hair-like structures called trichomes are found along the leaves of tillandsias, which is how they absorb moisture.

Because the Bulbosa’s relatively wet habitat, the leaves do not have an abundance of trichomes and appear smooth. The number of trichomes is abundant in air plants that live in drier climates, giving the air plants their famous silver or white appearance.

Bulbosa usually only requires two or three light mistings per week with a spray bottle. Avoid soaking the leaves.

4. Humidity and temperature

Tillandsia bulbosa is native to South and Central America’s humid climates. It prefers a moist environment, which can be achieved through regular, light mistings. The temperature can be adjusted as long as it is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. 

5. Fertiliser

Fertilizing is not required, but if you must, look for a specially formulated tillandsia variety.

Varieties of Bulbous Air Plant

Tillandsia bulbosa in its natural state is both beautiful and long-lasting. However, one of the best aspects of the Bulbous air plant is the variety of hybrids and cultivars that are commercially available. They come in a variety of colours, shapes, and sizes and require no additional care.

The cultivars range in size from the tiny Tillandsia bulbosa ‘Baby’ to the enormous Tillandsia bulbosa ‘Gigante.’

Tillandsia bulbosa x ionantha ‘Joel’ to Tillandsia Lucille x bulbosa ‘The Perfect Blend’ are hybrids that change not only the form but also the colour of the plant.

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Bulbous Air Plant Propagation

Unfortunately, unlike many other houseplants, it is not possible to propagate an air plant such as Tillandsia bulbosa by stem cutting. Fortunately, it is not impossible to multiply your bulbosa for free.

Tillandsia bulbosa does occasionally flower in the home, and these plants can be grown from seed. You would need to pollinate the flower and then wait for the seeds to form. Air plant seeds resemble dandelion fluff, like little parachutes ready to be carried away by wind or rain.

After collecting your air plant seeds, soak them in water for a week or two. After that, spread them out like a layer of spaghnum moss on a moist surface. Keep the seedlings lightly moist (but never wet) and patient, as baby air plants are extremely tiny and slow growers.

That all sounds like a lot of work for a couple of air plants, and you’d be right. Growing Tillandsia bulbosa from seed is a project for the serious air plant enthusiast. You can take advantage of the fact that Tillandsia bulbosa is a clumping plant if you want to propagate it more easily. Puppies that develop on the mother plant can be separated and displayed on their own!


If you’re looking for a unique air plant, the Tillandsia bulbosa is a great choice for gardeners of all abilities. When you see its tendril-like leaves and beautiful red bloom, your efforts will be rewarded.

I hope now you know how to grow Bulbous Air Plant. Well this is it for today thanks for reading this post. 


Q1. Bulbous Air Plant Pests and Diseases

Because Tillandsias do not require soil, they are less susceptible to diseases and pests than soil-living plants. As a result, bulbosa is regarded as a disease and pest-resistant plant. However, there are a few common issues to mention.

Q2. Is Bulbous Air Plant Dangerous to Cats and Dogs?

Tillandsias, such as Tillandsia bulbosa, are not toxic to cats and dogs. They, like all plants, cause stomach upset.

Keep your air plants away from your pets because they make an excellent chewing toy!

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