Tillandsia Ionantha Rubra Air Plant with Pup Attatched at the Base

Starting An Air Plant Family With Pups

 How to Propagate and Cultivate your Plants

How cool is it knowing that your amazing Tillandsia will someday produce their very own baby air plants! And the cutest thing about these ‘baby’ air plants is that they’re affectionately known as pups.

Did you know that the number one way for air plant devotees to propagate their collection of plants is through the production of pups? That’s right, air plant lovers everywhere can cultivate their very own pup nursery. And what’s more, pups will always develop identical characteristics to their mother plant.

Creating Pups

Given the right conditions, all species of Tillandsia will produce pups in a relatively short space of time. It’s simply a case of knowing what features to look out for (nodes at the base of the mother plant) and when/how to make the separation between the pups and the mother plant. It’s also important to ensure that both the mother plant and pups continually receive adequate sunlight and water.

How long until Pups arrive?

You can expect pups to begin developing shortly after your plants first bloom cycle. It will generally take up to six months for your Tillandsia to produce its very first bloom. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are some species of air plant that may take several years to bloom.

After your plants have bloomed, that’s when the magic starts to happen. You’ll notice tiny nodes at the bottom of your plant. This means the baby plants have started to arrive!

During this time, it’s vital that you keep looking after the mother plant as you normally would. But remember to always be gentle with the pups. They can be quite delicate as they embark on their life’s journey.

Separating the Pups

You’ll need to separate the pups once they get to around a quarter size of their mother plant.

Using a sharp kitchen knife or quality pair of garden sheers, carefully lay the mother plant on its side and cut away the pups. After you’ve completed this process, you’re all set to kick-start your very own air plant farm!

Caring for plants after separation

You’ll want to allow the cut-off point on both the mother plant and the pup to harden off for a couple of days.

During this time, your plants will start to recuperate from their separation. While they were growing with their mother, they may have taken on a unique (lopsided) form. In the next couple of months, you pup will start to get a more uniform shape and size. Don't worry about using plant food on pup until they have been separated for at least three months as they are quite sensitive at this time. Keep up your normal watering routine during the period. 

The beauty of Air Plants

One of the best things about air plants is their durability and the ease in which they can be grown. They don’t need soil – just a little sunshine and water every now and then. And as you’ve seen, it’s just as simple to cultivate your air plant pups. With a little TLC, you’ll be soon be seeing a bunch of pups arrive!

Have a look at our selection of air plants to see for yourself how beautiful they (and their pups) can be…

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