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Tillandsia Capitata

Tillandsia Capitata

A large air plant with curling silvery-green leaves. Tillandsia Capitata is a favorite amongst collectors as some hybrids, given the right light conditions, can display stunning colored leaves.

Quick Guide

Bright indirect light (grows well indoors)
Soak once a week or Mist regularly
Feed once every 2-4 weeks
Height 20″ (50.8 cm)
Width 24″ (60.9 cm)
Rich purple flowers
Native to Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

How To Care For Tillandsia Capitata

Capitata is a very hardy plant that grows in evergreen and deciduous forests. However, this species can tolerate more light than most air plants and also grows on rocky areas, cliffs, and open river banks.

This species can withstand cooler climates and generally, it’s very hardy, but Capitata does favor a sheltered location. If the leaves on your plant start to turn yellow it’s a good indication something is wrong.

Capitata can tolerate the morning sun, however, direct sunlight, even through a window, can result in dry brown leaf tips.

How To Water Tillandsia Capitata

Capitata is one of the most dry-tolerant species of Tillandsia. Therefore, it’s a good plant for beginners to learn how best to water their air plants. Soaking once a week for about 20-30 minutes should be fine.

However, you do not necessarily need to soak this species. Misting 2-3 times a week instead will also keep your plant in tip-top condition. Use rain or soft tap water it doesn’t really matter.

The symmetrical shape of the rosette and large tubular leaves can lead to rot if you overwater this species, but as long as you leave your plant upside down for a few hours after soaking or dunking the plant should be fine.

Species - Tillandsia Capitata

How To Propagate Tillandsia Capitata

If you have the patients of a saint you can of course grow Captitata from seed, but the usual and lazy method of propagation, the one I prefer, is to remove the pups or offset as they’re often called from the parent plant when ready.

The general rule is to wait until the pup is a third of the size of the parent plant before removal. You can let this species form into a cluster of plants but I prefer to separate the pups from the mother plant as they look better displayed on their own.

Gently pull and remove the pup from the parent plant, and use a sharp sterile knife or pair of scissors if necessary.

Air plant care cheat sheet

Flowers And Expert Tips

This plant can produce stunning foliage, however, the flowers are a real treat too. The inflorescence/flower stalk is quite short, at around 2-3 inches, and supports multiple vibrant purple flowers when in bloom.

The combination of colorful leaves and tubular-like flowers with erect purple petals is hard to beat. Given the right growing conditions, this species can produce 3-5 flower stalks and put on quite a show.

Capitata’s leaves are covered in thousands of tiny scales/trichomes which give the plant a soft velvety appearance throughout the year. This is normal and should not be confused with limescale from watering if you use tap water.

Tillandsia Capitata Varieties And Hybrids

Tillandsia Capitata is native to Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. There is a smaller form that used to be known as Capitata var. Domingensis, and then just Tillandsia Domingensis. However, T. Domingensis is believed to be a Cultivar of T. Capitata as far as taxonomists are concerned.

The smaller cultivar has narrow red leaves and a reddish scape. It also has a more upright appearance and grows more slowly.

  • Tillandsia Capitata var. Domingensis (Not recognized by taxonomists, most likely a Cultivar of Capitata).

As the names below suggest, the following Capitata hybrids have different colored leaves, making them popular with air plant enthusiasts.

  • Tillandsia Capitata ‘Rubra’
  • Tillandsia Capitata ‘Silver Rose’
  • Tillandsia Capitata ‘Red’
  • Tillandsia Capitata ‘Peach’.

Capitata ‘Peach’ is a stunning hybrid with curly silvery green leaves that blushes beautiful shades of peach when the plant is in bloom. Whereas Capitata ‘Red’ blushes a deep vivid red that resembles the color of red wine.

Author - Stephen Little
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