There are so many reasons why plant collectors love growing air plants (Tillandsia) so much. They don’t require soil which makes them fun to display and they also have very interesting growth cycles. Did you know that shortly after flowering, a mother air plant can produce one or more offsets aka “pups”? The number of pups produced will vary depending on the species. Certain species are even capable of producing pups before flowering! We get a lot of questions surrounding air plant pups so we will address all those questions in this article and we will also demonstrate how you can separate your air plant pups.
When will my air plant produce pups?
This is dependent on many factors. It depends on the species of air plant, how old/mature the plant is and what kind of care it is being given. Every plant has its own unique growth and life cycle. For more information, be sure to check out our article “The Life Cycle of Air Plants”.
Should I separate my air plant pups?
This depends on your preference. Many growers love to keep their air plants growing in clumps to mimic their natural growth habits. But some others prefer keeping single plants or would like to separate their pups. In this case, we recommend that you keep the pup attached to the mother plant until the pup is at least one third to half the size of the mother plant. This will ensure that they are mature and strong enough to grow without receiving energy from the mother plant and will also help them grow bigger more quickly.
How can I separate my air plant pups?
Separating air plant pups is actually really easy! Here are two easy ways to separate your air plant pups from the mother plant:
They can be separated by gently pulling the pup from the mother plant by hand.
Or, they can be separated with a sharp and sterile knife.
What do I do with the mother plant after separating the pups?
If the plant has not flowered yet: You can continue to care for the mother plant as you have. It will continue to grow and will one day flower and possibly even produce more pups!
If the plant has already flowered: It’s true that flowering marks the beginning of the end of an air plants life cycle. But it may take a long time before the mother plant perishes. You can continue to care for the mother plant as you have, as there is a possibility it may produce another pup.
Is there anything I can do to help my air plant produce pups?
The best thing you can do to help your air plants grow strong and healthy is to ensure that you are providing them with the correct care. Care requirements will vary slightly depending on the species. If you are new to growing air plants or just need a little refresher, be sure to check out our blog article “How to Care for Air Plants” for more information.
Seeing your air plants produce pups is always both exciting and rewarding. When given plenty of love and good care, you can continue the air plant growth cycle for years to come and even share some air plant babies with your friends and family. Happy growing!
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