Tillandsia xiphioides is an attractive, evergreen perennial, herbaceous, epiphytic scented flowering plant that grows up to 30 cm tall with a short branching stem. This small rigid herb covered with grey silvery tomentum and the thick grey channeled leaves grow in a contorted fashion to form a stiff, sometimes turned to one side that forms a rosette. It produces a tall flower spike up to 10 cm long with numerous, wavy large white citrus-scented flowers. The strongly scented flowers are utilized in the preparation of a medicine for treating ailments of the chest.
Species: T. xiphioides
Scientific Name: Tillandsia xiphioides Ker-Gawler
Synonyms: Anoplophytum xiphioides, Tillandsia suaveolens, Tillandsia macrocnemis, Tillandsia sericea, Tillandsia xiphioides var. lutea.
Common Name: Air Plant, Tillandsia.
How to grow and maintain Tillandsia xiphioides (Air plant):
It thrives well in bright light, but not direct sunlight. The south, east, or west window is perfect. They can also be grown under fluorescent tubes.
Tillandsia xiphioides 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 the leaves are 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 plant. Soft water contains too much salt and some tap water contains chlorine and fluoride that can leave water spots on foliage.
Tillandsia xiphioides thrives well in average room temperatures 60 degrees Fahrenheit – 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 16 degrees Celsius – 24 degrees Celsius.
Fertilize once every month with a low-copper liquid fertilizer, diluted to 1/4 strength.
It can be easily propagated by detaching 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. Tillandsia xiphioides can also be grown from seed, but this is a slow process that might take months.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems. Sometimes susceptible to aphids & mealybugs.