The genus includes 500 species of herbaceous plants, terrestrial or epiphytic, always green perennials, mostly originating from the southern United States to South America.
The plants are covered with scaly silver hair, which absorbs and retains moisture.
Tillandsia argentea is cultivated in pots or on a tree branch.
T. have small, well-spaced leaves. Some species have thin pendulous stems, but most form rosettes.
The plants of this type have small flowers with three petals inside colored bracts; often solitary but more often gathered in spikes or cobs.
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The rosette species are propagated by the shoots that the plant emits in the summer, the pendulous ones by division. It multiplies by removing the buds that form around the base of the plant, possibly provided with a bit of roots, they are fixed on a new support and they hang in a shady place after having sprayed them with water.
Watering of the Tillandsia argentea must be frequent in spring - summer, limited to as much water to keep the soil moist in winter, if the plant is in a poorly heated environment.
In summer, limestone-free water must be sprayed frequently, even twice a day. It is important to fill the hollow that forms in the center of the rosette of leaves with non-calcareous water, as this represents the water reserve for the Tillandsia argentea.
Every three or four weeks a little liquid fertilizer is administered, dissolved in the irrigation water.
The Tillandsia argentea plant must be sheltered from the rays of the sun, especially in spring and summer; in winter it should be kept in a bright position but not exposed to direct sunlight.
Temperature: it does not tolerate changes in temperature and air currents. In winter the temperature should not fall below thirteen degrees. While for summer temperatures the Tillandsia argentea can also withstand temperatures close to 30 degrees without problems.
Pests and diseases
Aphids and cochineals are the most frequent parasites. The rot of the collar is due to mushrooms of the genus Fusarium, favored by stagnant water. To eliminate scale insects, if they are present in modest quantities, a good method is to use a cloth with alcohol to pass over the leaves. To combat aphids, the so-called lice, it is possible to intervene with specific products, or with the use of nettle-based macerates, to be sprayed on the affected plants without the use of chemicals.
Tillandsia argentea: Variety
Tillandsia argentea: forms a small compact rosette of ten to fifteen centimeters in height, formed by numerous thin silvery gray, scaly leaves. In summer, a twisted spike inflorescence emerges from the center of the rosette, formed by red scaly bracts and purple flowers.
T. usneoides: suitable for hanging pots and baskets, it produces thin and branched pendulous stems, of silvery green color due to the bloom that covers the scaly leaves. The flowers, one centimeter long, range from yellow-green to blue.