This Tillandsia is one of the most popular for its small size that is perfect for fairy gardens, small terrariums and clear globes. The rubra starts life with various shades of green, yellow, and red that deepen as the plant matures and enters its bloom period. Over time, it will create "pups" and eventually form a clump, giving you more plants!
These members of the Bromeliad family can be found growing wild all over the southern USA and they are more popular than ever as easy-care houseplants. You are only limited by your imagination in the ways you can use them in the home or office. They do need just a bit more than "air" to survive as a houseplant. But there are so many creative ways to use them and they seem to be more popular than ever. Inside the home, give an air plant bright, but filtered sunlight, like that found near an east or south facing window. Avoid placing an air plant in a bathroom, having adequate sunlight is more important than humidity. Outdoors, a screened porch, covered deck or pool enclosure usually gives air plants the filtered sunlight they need.
This is probably the trickiest part of growing these unusual plants. Inside the house, air plants often die from under-watering because their owners mistakenly assume the plants absorb moisture from the air. In a rainforest, that scenario works. In the dry air of a heated or air-conditioned room, air plants need water. Daily misting doesn’t provide sufficient moisture for air plants. It can help raise humidity around plants, but it won’t be enough plus it can cause water to collect where leaves emerge, killing the plant. The best way to water an air plant is to submerge it in a dish of water for 1 hour. Air plants only take up as much water as they need, so you won’t overwater by doing this.
Use rain water or bottled drinking water.
When you remove plants from the water, gently shake them upside down a few times to dislodge water from the center of the plant. In a typical indoor setting, an air plant watered in this method shouldn’t need watering for 10 to 14 days. Monitor your plant’s appearance to learn when to water. Take note of how the plant looks the day after watering. Note leaf color and appearance. Leaves on a drought-stressed air plant may curl under, color may seem flatter, and leaf tips may turn brown.