I feel so lucky that this wonderful Rubra Air Plant surprised me this Easter with an amazing explosion of its seed bomb!
So now what to do with it?!
First of all it took almost a year to get here. The Rubra bloomed for a couple of months first [image on the right], changed her leave colour from this lovely pink back to green and a dark brown hard 'cone', the seed pod, formed in the centre.
I got a sheet of clean paper and used tweezers to empty the seed pod. I tried to gather as many seeds as I could.
I put the plant aside and got my container which is lined with soft tissue paper.
The seeds are usually carried by the wind and have this white silky soft fluff around them. I used it to pull them gently apart from each other to place them on a sheet of soft tissue.
My seed covered soft tissue sheet is in a dairy container. I read that others used cotton for the first watering as well as experimenting with a straight away planting into moss. I think the latter will work fine in green houses but sadly I don't have one - well not yet anyway!
Step 4 [below]:
Soaking the seeds in filtered water. [My paper is proper wet, some seeds even float in the water, so I would say the water level in the container is at about 2cm.] From here I am moving on to step 5 ...
Step 5 [right]:
Covering my dairy container to simulate the green house conditions. I know it's not ideal but it was the only container on hand and it is only for the first month. After that I will have a clear container and move them onto a moss bark base. For their first year of growth in a warm light filled spot on my window sill.
In regards to the 'mother' plant I am not sure what will happen with her. I read that it will die but I am not sure about that yet. Even though it looked very stressed after that stunning seed explosion it took on water and is still going strong.
Well altogether - they are called Air Plants as they get their nutrients from water and the air and as you can see you can propagate tillandsia from seeds, but it takes two to four years to grow the plant to a suitable size for enjoyment. The best way and the way I am used to is to propagate Tillandsia through the division of the offsets, or pups.
Want to learn more about pups check out my blog post about the Air Plant Life Cycle!
Let's just see how things go, it's my first time to do this as well so wish me luck!