Ask a Question forum: Sick tillandsia

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Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
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Draconiusultamius
Jan 12, 2018 1:23 AM CST
I'm pretty bad with plants since I don't really have a green thumb, but I really like having plants and trying to grow them. Recently, one of my succulents died due to me overwatering it and the other probably narrowly avoided root rot. I purchased a tillandsia from the store (it was on sale since it was leftover stock from Halloween). The last time I kept a tillandsia, it also died due to overwatering, but the one I just purchased appears to have been neglected. I have already been misting it twice daily and it looks much better than when I first got it, however I'm not sure wether I should soak it again as I'm very concerned about overwatering it.
Is it still dehydrated enough to justify me soaking it overnight or should I just do it for an hour? Also, should I attempt to remove the plant from it's pot to soak it? It's hot glued to the pot and I'm nervous that I could damage it if I try.
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Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Judge
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BigBill
Jan 12, 2018 4:29 AM CST
A tillandsia is a type of Bromeliad. They do not have much of a root system at all. Down here in South Florida, they sprout naturally all over. On palm tree trunks, citrus tree branches, on live oak branches, never in a flower bed with soil!
I would suggest that with your penchant for overwatering your plants, you don't water this much at all. Tillandsias do just fine with seasonal showers and even fog and humidity. You overwatered a cactus. That too is not a plant that requires a lot of water.
You seem to evaluate succulents as being dehydrated yet that is how they like to grow! That is a big no no. Cacti grow in a desert, hardly any rain at all. Their internal structure helps them to capture and conserve moisture.
I suggest that if you can't refrain from watering or misting succulents, you avoid acquiring them. Grow more suitable plants like impatiens, petunias and the like or houseplants in soil. But even they like only so much water.
In today's world, I suggest that you read information available on line about how to grow particular plants and follow the instructions.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
[Last edited by BigBill - Jan 12, 2018 4:32 AM (+)]
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Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
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Faridat
Jan 12, 2018 9:36 AM CST
Have you ever soaked it from the time you bought it, or did you just spray it?
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Jan 12, 2018 10:28 AM CST
I feel your pain. When something has been overwatered by me and I finally get it, and patiently just wait, the plant does not take all that long to show signs of life, unless I killed it. I think you are stuck in that place. Good luck. I have done the exact same thing.

I struggled with succulents, because of being in denial just how little water they want. I stopped trying for a while, but finally picked it up again. because I really love these plants. I killed way too many plants as I learned, and to be honest; it was just awful realizing I killed another one. he he. That said, now that I am a skosh more successful with them, they are my just about my favorite things to grow.

Keep up the fight!!
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Leftwood
Jan 12, 2018 12:34 PM CST
More important is that you are giving it pure water, not from the tap, certainly not softened water. Well water is better, but has lots of minerals that can accumulate and become toxic, too. Best is rain water, or distilled water (no dissolved minerals or salts). That's what they get in nature. And remember, melted snow is rain water, too! (Just be sure to let it warm up to room temperature first.)

An initial soak in distilled water or rain water for an hour or two will likely perk it up. In the pic, it doesn't look so terrible, yet. But it does look like it's suffering from a diet too high in dissolved salts and minerals (from the wrong kinds of water). Be sure to hold it upside down for 5 seconds or so after the soak to let excess water drain away. If water sits in enclosed pockets of the plant, then you are inviting rot.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 12, 2018 12:36 PM CST
Dragon : that's my guess of your name. Lol
Succulents 1st. Some use more water, some very little. Inside or outside matters. I'll tell you what to do. Torcher succulents. Mark calender when you water her. When she needs water, she will talk to you. By, her leaves will start to shrivel. And ! Bingo ! Look at last time you watered her. Now you have a gauge of how often to water.
Say, she takes 7 weeks to start to shrivel. Give her a watering every 6 weeks. You see what I mean.

This one of mine, in East facing window of house, I only give her water every 6 weeks.

Thumb of 2018-01-12/Philipwonel/12c0e6

Now, your air plant ! You have a gauge for her already. You know what she looks like being neglected. So it is really a good thing, you got her in bad shape. Seeee 🕵️.
She is getting better. So, I believe, you just need to give her some more time to recover.
Meanwhile, Google, to learn the best care for her.
Plus, I believe ! The hot glue is not helpful, just a loose twine to hold her in place.
👍👍👍
Good luck
😎😎😎


Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
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Draconiusultamius
Jan 13, 2018 1:55 AM CST
Leftwood said: More important is that you are giving it pure water, not from the tap, certainly not softened water. Well water is better, but has lots of minerals that can accumulate and become toxic, too. Best is rain water, or distilled water (no dissolved minerals or salts). That's what they get in nature. And remember, melted snow is rain water, too! (Just be sure to let it warm up to room temperature first.)

An initial soak in distilled water or rain water for an hour or two will likely perk it up. In the pic, it doesn't look so terrible, yet. But it does look like it's suffering from a diet too high in dissolved salts and minerals (from the wrong kinds of water). Be sure to hold it upside down for 5 seconds or so after the soak to let excess water drain away. If water sits in enclosed pockets of the plant, then you are inviting rot.


I live in a city where all our water, minus rainwater, is hard water. Its the first major city near some mountains, where all of our water comes from, so there are a lot of minerals in it. Unfortunately, its also pretty cold and we have no rain at the moment, only snow. Would melting it and using this to water my plant be ok?
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
Image
Draconiusultamius
Jan 13, 2018 1:57 AM CST
Faridat said:Have you ever soaked it from the time you bought it, or did you just spray it?


I did an hour soak today. It's leaves have opened up a bit more and I think it helped. Other than that, just misting.
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
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Draconiusultamius
Jan 13, 2018 2:05 AM CST
BigBill said:A tillandsia is a type of Bromeliad. They do not have much of a root system at all. Down here in South Florida, they sprout naturally all over. On palm tree trunks, citrus tree branches, on live oak branches, never in a flower bed with soil!
I would suggest that with your penchant for overwatering your plants, you don't water this much at all. Tillandsias do just fine with seasonal showers and even fog and humidity. You overwatered a cactus. That too is not a plant that requires a lot of water.
You seem to evaluate succulents as being dehydrated yet that is how they like to grow! That is a big no no. Cacti grow in a desert, hardly any rain at all. Their internal structure helps them to capture and conserve moisture.
I suggest that if you can't refrain from watering or misting succulents, you avoid acquiring them. Grow more suitable plants like impatiens, petunias and the like or houseplants in soil. But even they like only so much water.
In today's world, I suggest that you read information available on line about how to grow particular plants and follow the instructions.


Unfortunately, most plants grown in soil aren't allowed by my parents as my mom doesn't want soil everywhere. I am growing three Christmas cactus cuttings, however, I may have dehydrated one due to taking a 21 day vacation. I've learned my lesson with succulents (the one I currently own was actually a gift from someone), but as my house tends to be insanely dry, I overestimated the amount of water I required for them at first. I think my problem, as one of y teachers stated, is that I worry too much about my plants and read all the information I can regarding each specific plant's care,which just confuses me more as sometimes these articles are sometimes contradictory in nature. There's just so many different ways to go about it, but often there are no scientific documents regarding the best way to keep, water, and care for _____ under a certain set of conditions, which would probably help me a lot.
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
Image
Draconiusultamius
Jan 13, 2018 3:54 AM CST
Philipwonel said:Dragon : that's my guess of your name. Lol
Succulents 1st. Some use more water, some very little. Inside or outside matters. I'll tell you what to do. Torcher succulents. Mark calender when you water her. When she needs water, she will talk to you. By, her leaves will start to shrivel. And ! Bingo ! Look at last time you watered her. Now you have a gauge of how often to water.
Say, she takes 7 weeks to start to shrivel. Give her a watering every 6 weeks. You see what I mean.

This one of mine, in East facing window of house, I only give her water every 6 weeks.

Thumb of 2018-01-12/Philipwonel/12c0e6

Now, your air plant ! You have a gauge for her already. You know what she looks like being neglected. So it is really a good thing, you got her in bad shape. Seeee 🕵️.
She is getting better. So, I believe, you just need to give her some more time to recover.
Meanwhile, Google, to learn the best care for her.
Plus, I believe ! The hot glue is not helpful, just a loose twine to hold her in place.
👍👍👍
Good luck
😎😎😎




I'll try you method of cactus watering. Thanks for the tips! (ps. my name does mean something along the lines of dragon Smiling )
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
Image
Draconiusultamius
Jan 13, 2018 4:00 AM CST
lauriebasler said:I feel your pain. When something has been overwatered by me and I finally get it, and patiently just wait, the plant does not take all that long to show signs of life, unless I killed it. I think you are stuck in that place. Good luck. I have done the exact same thing.

I struggled with succulents, because of being in denial just how little water they want. I stopped trying for a while, but finally picked it up again. because I really love these plants. I killed way too many plants as I learned, and to be honest; it was just awful realizing I killed another one. he he. That said, now that I am a skosh more successful with them, they are my just about my favorite things to grow.

Keep up the fight!!


Thanks for sharing you experience and your encouragement, I'll do my best!
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Judge
Region: United States of America Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Orchids Cat Lover Birds Dahlias
BigBill
Jan 13, 2018 5:25 AM CST
If experts were to write articles about growing every type of plant in every possible condition, they would be buried in an avalanche of paper.
Basically articles are written for typical culture of any given plant. It is up to the grower to figure out how to achieve the best environment that he/she can to meet that culture. But most plants can tolerate less than optimal conditions.
They might not grow perfectly but they bloom and survive, they adapt. That is what life has been doing on this planet for thousands of years. Adapting!
Take orchids as an example. When I purchase a new species I research its native habitat and try to get as close to it as possible. The closer I get the better they do. But by reading I know that I can't grow " waterfall Miltonia" like I did on Long Island. These orchids hate daytime temperatures over 70 degrees. Not just a single day but over extended time. They also do poorly with night time temperatures over 60! Both of these are not achieved in S. Florida so I know not to grow them. Instead I grow Catasetums, orchids that love the heat.
Succulents in general like very little water. So by soaking a Tillandsia in water is akin to force feeding it something it doesn't want. Sounds counter productive to me.
If your humidity is poor, try a decorative tray filled with pebbles to catch and hold moisture/humidity. Your plants will like it and you'll be healthier too. If your Mom doesn't want soil around then you have to be responsible enough to keep your room and growing area clean. I just know that since I am growing orchids, the water, the humidity, I rarely get a head cold. Perhaps one a decade if that. Moisture helps the sinuses, a dry environment is unhealthy. But with moisture my sinuses to a better job of keeping germs out of my system.
But if your environment if cool and dry in your room, that describes a higher altitude desert to me. Try researching high desert plants that you could grow. See what type of light you have and determine which of those high desert plants like similar light. You should stay away from one that needs a lot of sun if in your room, your room never sees the sun shine through.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
Image
Draconiusultamius
Jan 14, 2018 2:13 AM CST
BigBill said:If experts were to write articles about growing every type of plant in every possible condition, they would be buried in an avalanche of paper.
Basically articles are written for typical culture of any given plant. It is up to the grower to figure out how to achieve the best environment that he/she can to meet that culture. But most plants can tolerate less than optimal conditions.
They might not grow perfectly but they bloom and survive, they adapt. That is what life has been doing on this planet for thousands of years. Adapting!
Take orchids as an example. When I purchase a new species I research its native habitat and try to get as close to it as possible. The closer I get the better they do. But by reading I know that I can't grow " waterfall Miltonia" like I did on Long Island. These orchids hate daytime temperatures over 70 degrees. Not just a single day but over extended time. They also do poorly with night time temperatures over 60! Both of these are not achieved in S. Florida so I know not to grow them. Instead I grow Catasetums, orchids that love the heat.
Succulents in general like very little water. So by soaking a Tillandsia in water is akin to force feeding it something it doesn't want. Sounds counter productive to me.
If your humidity is poor, try a decorative tray filled with pebbles to catch and hold moisture/humidity. Your plants will like it and you'll be healthier too. If your Mom doesn't want soil around then you have to be responsible enough to keep your room and growing area clean. I just know that since I am growing orchids, the water, the humidity, I rarely get a head cold. Perhaps one a decade if that. Moisture helps the sinuses, a dry environment is unhealthy. But with moisture my sinuses to a better job of keeping germs out of my system.
But if your environment if cool and dry in your room, that describes a higher altitude desert to me. Try researching high desert plants that you could grow. See what type of light you have and determine which of those high desert plants like similar light. You should stay away from one that needs a lot of sun if in your room, your room never sees the sun shine through.


I do live in an area that's a high altitude desert, but its also cold and wintry for half the year. I grow plants in the living room, which is pretty open, but the location where I keep my plants is pretty dim since the windows are too cold for them. I move them closer to the window when its not cold though. It tends to be around 72-74F in the house and its pretty dry, so I think growing cacti and succulents shouldn't be too hard (if I'm not overwatering them).
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Leftwood
Jan 14, 2018 6:25 AM CST
Draconiusultamius said: Unfortunately, its also pretty cold and we have no rain at the moment, only snow. Would melting it and using this to water my plant be ok?


Leftwood said: That's what they get in nature. And remember, melted snow is rain water, too! (Just be sure to let it warm up to room temperature first.)


Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
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Draconiusultamius
Jan 16, 2018 12:06 AM CST
Leftwood said:





Would the snow that's been on the ground for a while be ok to use though? It usually has dirt and other stuff in it, so I'm wondering if the bacteria in that could damage the plant.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Judge
Region: United States of America Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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BigBill
Jan 16, 2018 3:24 AM CST
Bacteria it seems to me are omnipresent, everywhere, all the time. It seems to me like your grasping for straws. Your penchant for overwatering succulents might be your one and only problem.
Plants out in the high desert during the winter are not getting much in the way of water, those same plants don't get much in the way of water in the summer either. That's why their desserts.
So many succulents I have dabbled in over the years never needed repotting. Their very fine and fibrous root systems were very shallow, again designed to stay near the soil surface to capture more easily anyvwater that became available.
Remember I said Tillandsias and some other Bromeliads are sprouting all over down here? Live oak and citrus trees being their favorite host plants. I could probably go through my yard right now and find 50-100 such plants sprouting all over. No soil. Exposed to WARM humid summers and cooler DRY winters and they do remarkably well.
I agree that succulents and cacti might be the perfect plant's for your home but other house plants might do fine too.
One other thought came to mind. Have you thought about a little plant stand with grow lights. You could put the whole setup on a timer. You could create your own micro climate making it easier to grow things.
If all else fails, I suppose you could try silk flowers. Rolling on the floor laughing
But in summary, stick with a few basic plants, match them to your conditions and remember their native habitat conditions. Match those the best you can and hope it's enough.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Jan 16, 2018 2:43 PM CST
Dragon 😀
I water my potted plants with rain water off the roof whenever I can. I'm not concerned about bacteria. Plants love rain water, you ever notice how much they grow after a rain ? I think it's because rain picks up nitrogen and oxygen as it falls from the air. Snow would be no different .
Shoot ! Lol. My cat, has fresh clean bowl of water, but she would rather drink rain water from an open 5 gallon bucket, and it seams, the more aged it is, it gets better !
When the water gets low in bucket.
I can hardly believe, how far down she gets without bucket not turning over on her. That would be a dog-gone-it ! I wish I had my video going minute. Rolling on the floor laughing
😎😎😎






Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Leftwood
Jan 16, 2018 3:43 PM CST
Dirt and stuff in the snow is fine. Once things are melted you can skim off the bulk of what might float on top (if you want), and the rest will rest at the bottom of the water vessel. It's impossible to get pure water in this respect, and it is never a problem. The pure water I initially spoke of means no chemicals and salts, a neutral or slightly acid pH, and hopefully not a high mineral content. All the stuff they treat your water with to make your water drinkable - fluoride, chlorine, pH adjusters, salt from your water softener, etc., that is all not good for your tillandsia.
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
Image
Draconiusultamius
May 10, 2018 12:08 AM CST
Sadly, I unintentionally left my plant in water for 24 hours after a night of really intense studying and it ended up with rot. Crying
I really wish I could have saved it and I feel horrible for failing to do so. All I can do now is wait until the plant dies and its absolutely devastating. All this while knowing that another one of my plants (Peperomia ferryrae) is still going downhill and leaves are beginning to shrivel, despite the fact that I have given it plenty of water and it's stem is swelling, my african violet cuttings all died, the money plant seed I planted has no true leaves, and I have to figure out who to give my primula to who is able and willing to take in a sick plant with fickle tastes in pretty much everything. Sighing!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
May 10, 2018 9:39 AM CST
Hello Draconiussulatamius, just read this thread, and sorry to hear about your tilly's.

Tillandsias comes in several varieties, most love good humidity levels and bright light, and lots of air movement. Some may also be more tolerant of cold temps, down to 40F as long as kept dry, but still it wants good air movement around it. So I also take note of the temperature around the plant. Pretty much the warmer to hotter the temps are, the more it enjoys getting watered. I think of it as helping these plants cool down. I only do dunking of the plant in water when our weather is in the dry and warm period. I have no issues either with hard water. What is important is allowing the plant to dry out and get lots of air around it after it gets watered. Also with tillandsias, if it has already made blooms, the mother plant will eventually die though it will still try to make new pups, so life continues.

I have also lost some tillandsias, and I used to hate it too, but then I readjusted my way of thinking, now I have another reason to get a new one Big Grin Big Grin Win some, lose some, but learn from the experience.

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