The tillandsia usneiform plant is a typical inhabitant of the humid forests of South America. Its popular name is Spanish moss. It is worth explaining separately why it is moss and why it is Spanish.
- Botanical characteristics of the plant
- Spanish moss in the home interior
- Basic care requirements
Botanical characteristics of the plant
Tillandsia usneiform is a flowering plant of the Bromeliad family. The roots of the plant are fixed on the bark of trees, but they do not feed on its juices, like parasites, but receive water from the surrounding humid tropical air. The plant has thin stems, gray - green or gray - blue, 20-30 cm high. Dying stems can exceed the length of three to four meters, they hang down with a fancy "beard".
The indigenous people of South America, the Indians, when they first saw the bearded faces of Spanish sailors, compared their beards with this plant. And they began to call it moss because of the external resemblance to the moss of sleeping. Tillandsia - in honor of the botanist E. Tillands, who described the plant in the 17th century. This is how the flowering plant Tillandsia usneiform or Spanish moss began to be called. And the hair of the angel and the beard of the old man are also Spanish moss. The plant blooms with small flowers, the fruit has a capsule, the seeds are very small.
The plant is perfectly adapted to getting moisture from the air, not from the soil. The entire stem has peculiar outgrowths - scales that catch both dew and rain moisture.
Tillandsia usneiform reproduces both by seeds and vegetatively.
Stem pieces and seeds are captured by wind and rainwater and carried from tree to tree. Spanish moss especially likes oaks and cypresses, but it can even settle on an electric pole. Many species are listed in the Red Book.
For its bizarre view, Tillandsia is loved by lovers of indoor floriculture.
Spanish moss in the home interior
With the help of indoor flowers, you can create original design compositions in which a variety of plants will be used. Currently popular:
- epiphytic stems
Tillandsia is indispensable in all these compositions. For an epiphytic trunk, a part of the real trunk of the following trees is suitable:
- and you
By planting special plants on the trunk, you can get a corner of exotic tropics in your home interior. The base of the trunk with the help of a cement mixture must be fixed in a sufficiently solid container.
In the same container, they put pots with plants - vines, which grow intensively upward and curl around the trunk. Between the vines, you can put bowls with Tradescantia, which will act as a ground cover plant. Spanish moss can be "settled" on the branches of the trunk. To do this, the roots of the plant must be wrapped in pieces of moss, carefully secured with a thin wire and the whole plant must be placed on the branches.
Tillandsia with gray-blue leaves will look most impressive on the epiphytic trunk:
- Tillandsia "Medusa's Head" - the leaves of the plant bizarrely bend, the ends twist. All this resembles the head of a fabulous medusa - the Gorgon. The leaves are gray, the flowers are blue.
- Tillandsia is airy-flowered (aeranthos), leaves are triangular, gray. With moisture deficiencies, they begin to curl. It blooms once a year, the flowers are red.
- Tillandsia blue can be placed on the north window. When all other species require intense and prolonged sunlight, it can handle shade quite well.
It should be said that when grown on a trunk, Spanish moss requires constant moistening and spraying, you can even remove and bathe it once a week. For dry indoor air in winter or hot summer weather, increase the number of sprays. Under no circumstances should the air be excessively dry.
In the summer, Spanish moss can be taken out to the loggia or to the greenhouse in the summer cottage.
Showcases are another of the interior decoration techniques with indoor flowers. It consists in placing flowers inside a glass container built into the window. A pallet with decorative stones or pebbles is inserted into it. The size of the showcase can be either in the entire window or rather modest.
Tillandsia usneiform and erect are ideal for window dressing. Tillandsia erect has very large, up to 5 cm, bright blue flowers, in addition, it is the most unpretentious to care for, after it fades, it will give "children" who will quickly fill the volume of the showcase.
Spanish moss screens can be obtained by placing them on flower trellises.
Basic care requirements
For the successful cultivation of tillandsia at home, it is necessary to create conditions similar to those of a tropical forest. In winter, reduce the number of watering, since the plant's homeland at this time is dry in winter. The plant is removed from the state of winter dormancy by abundant watering and spraying, which will imitate a tropical summer rainfall. It is also desirable to provide shade in the summer, since it is at this time that all plants grow in the tropics.
Spanish moss can be propagated by planting new side shoots or by sowing ripe seeds into the substrate. As a rule, there are no problems with growing this plant, but it is important to monitor the health of Spanish moss, as it is susceptible to fungal diseases and damage by aphids. In all other respects, this is a wonderful home decoration.
How tillandsia looks like, see the video: