How to Grow and Care for Tillandsia Stricta

A hardy and popular air plant


The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

In This Article

Tillandsia stricta is a common species in the air plant family, but this doesn’t make them any less special. Their versatility makes them a popular choice, and their vibrant blooms make them a beautiful addition to your home.

This air plant comes in many different varieties, meaning there are a plethora of looks to choose from. Some varieties have soft leaves while others have stiff leaves. In addition to foliage structure, Tillandsia stricta plants also vary in color. Many are different tones of green, but there is also a variety with foliage so dark it is almost black.

Their flowers may be red, pink, blue, or purple. Interestingly, the actual flower only lasts one day when the plant blooms. However, the beautiful flower bracts remain colorful and attractive for weeks.

Botanical Name Tillandsia stricta
Common Name Air plant
Plant Type Houseplant or annual
Mature Size 6 to 12 inches
Sun Exposure Bright, indirect light 
Soil Type Not applicable
Soil pH Not applicable
Bloom Time Once, when fully matured
Flower Color Red, pink, blue, or purple
Hardiness Zones 9 to 11
Native Area South America

Tillandsia Stricta Care

The Tillandsia stricta is a hardy, low-maintenance specimen to add to your houseplant collection. They don't need soil and the key to their care if getting watering and airflow right.

Eventually, your plant may reward you with its beautiful, vibrant blooms. This only happens a single time in the plant's life cycle when it reaches maturity, which may take years.

Occasionally, pests like mealybugs and scale may infect these plants.


Most air plants thrive in bright, indirect light and the Tillandsia stricta is no exception. Place them in an area that receives bright sunlight from a window, but avoid positioning them directly on the windowsill. Too much direct sun can burn its foliage.


The fun thing about air plants is that they need air, not soil. Steer away from the temptation to place it in soil or moss just for looks. This can lead to rot and can kill your air plant.

Instead, embrace this soil-less plant and place it just about anywhere with good airflow. This could be sitting on a table or desk, hanging from the wall or ceiling, in a seashell, attached to a picture frame; the possibilities are endless.

If you want to put it in a spot where it needs a little extra support, try fishing line, wire, or even a dab of glue. Just stay clear of copper wire and superglue, because these will kill your plant.


Since your Tillandsia stricta has no soil, these plants should be soaked to get all the hydration they need. To do this, submerge your air plant in a bowl of clean water for 10 to 30 minutes.

If your Tillandsia stricta is sporting a flower at the time, be sure to keep the delicate flower out of the water to prevent damage. When finished soaking, remove your plant from the water and shake out any excess water in the leaves. Check your plant after a couple of hours to ensure that it is completely dry. If water sits too long on the leaves and core of the plant, it can cause rot.

Springwater, filtered water, or rainwater are best when watering air plants. Steer away from tap water if you can, but if you must, let it sit for 24 hours before using it. This allows the chlorine commonly found in tap water to dissipate.

If you live in an area where Tillandsia stricta grows outside, placing it where it can receive natural rain is a great option. This will water your plant naturally and may eliminate the need to soak them as often.

Temperature and Humidity

Between these larger soaks, your Tillandsia stricta will benefit from regular misting. This gives it the humidity and moisture it likes without overwhelming it or causing rot.

In hotter or drier climates, you can mist your air plant every day. If you live in a more humid climate, you may only need to mist every three days or so.

As for temperature, most air plants do well in hot climates. However, they can handle anywhere from 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit just fine. Though they are hardy, keep your Tillandsia stricta away from AC or heating units. The intense heat or cold from these units can damage or kill your plant.


Fertilizer can help create a healthy, happy air plant and may encourage blooming, growth, and pup production. However, your Tillandsia stricta does not require fertilizer and will grow just fine without any.

If given too much fertilizer, your plant can be burned or even die. If you would like to encourage more growth, fertilize once a month using a Bromeliad or Tillandsia fertilizer. These are designed to be absorbed through the leaves. Common fertilizer is meant to be absorbed through the roots of a plant, which is not how air plants receive their nutrients. Fertilizer is especially helpful when your Tillandsia stricta is blooming.

tillandsia stricta

The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

tillandsia stricta in a wall planter

The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

tillandsia stricta

The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

Propagating Tillandsia Stricta

Propagating your Tillandsia stricta is simple and an exciting way to take your plant cultivation hobby to the next level. When it is mature, the plant will produce pups at its base. These baby air plants are easily removed. Here is how:

  1. Wait until your pup is at least a third the size of the mother plant.
  2. Identify where the pup is attached to the plant.
  3. Carefully pop the pup off the mother plant with a gentle twist. To avoid damaging the new plant, grip the pup at the base and not from the top. If the pup does not easily pop off, a sharp knife or pair of snips may be needed to trim it from the mother.
  4. Once the pup is detached, place in a well ventilated, bright spot of its own.

Air plants can take years to bloom and produce pups, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see any. With proper care, your Tillandsia stricta will reward you with bright blooms and pups in time.