Octopus Plant (Tillandsia caput-medusae) is an epiphytic perennial, flowering houseplant. It has thick, channeled, tapering, and twisting leaves that are up to 9.8 inches long and are covered in fine gray hairs. The rosette of leaves arises from an inflated pseudobulb. Pups are produced after blooming, as is usual with most Tillandsia species. The Octopus plants can bloom from spring to early summer. The red inflorescences are usually unbranched or digitate. Bright violet flowers are about 1.3-inch long with the stamens exerted.
Subgenus: Tillandsia subg. Tillandsia
Species: T. caput-medusae
Scientific Name: Tillandsia caput-medusae
Common Name: Medusa’s head, Large Medusa’s head, Air Plant, Octopus Plant.
How to grow and maintain the Octopus Plant (Tillandsia caput-medusae):
It thrives well in bright light, but not direct sunlight. South, east, or west window is perfect. They can also be grown under fluorescent tubes.
Tillandsia refers to be mounted on a solid substrate that does not retain water. You can glue the plant directly to the surface with a strong adhesive or you can wire the plant to the base. Don’t cover the base of the plant with moss or it may rot. It can be grown on almost any imaginable decorative mount, including shells, rocks, slate, driftwood, etc.
Water two to four times a week with a mister. If your environment is dry, mist daily. Water until leaves is thoroughly wet. The water that runs off should be enough to wet the roots. Do not soak the base of a plant. Use rainwater or filtered tap water for misting your tillandsia. Soft water contains too much salt and some tap water contains chlorine and fluoride that can leave water spots on foliage.
It thrives well in temperature between 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit / 13 degrees Celsius to 27 degrees Celsius. High humidity is a bonus.
Fertilize once every month with a low-copper liquid fertilizer, diluted to 1/4 strength.
It can be easily propagated by putting out offsets, or pups, from the base of the mother plant. When the pups are half the size of the mother, they can be divided and mounted on their own. Tillandsias can also be grown from seed, but this is a slow process that might take years.