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Tillandsia Ionantha Fuego

Tillandsia Ionantha Fuego

A quick-growing compact air plant with deep fiery red leaves. Tillandsia Ionantha Fuego is said to be the reddest of all the Ionantha varieties and hybrids.

Quick Guide

Bright indirect light (grows well indoors)
Soak once a week and Mist regularly
Feed once every 2-4 weeks
Height 3″ (7.6 cm)
Width 3″ (7.6 cm)
Vibrant purple/violet flowers
Native to Mexico and Central America.

How To Care For Tillandsia Ionantha Fuego

Ionantha Fuego is a low-maintenance and easy-care air plant. This variety loves bright indirect sunlight, in fact, the brighter the light the more fiery red the leaves will become.

Fuego has short, stiff, upright leaves and overall the foliage looks delicate in appearance. However, this variety is hardy and can tolerate a dry indoor environment.

Having said that, this variety of Ionantha prefers warm and humid conditions so regular misting can help to keep your plants healthy. For specific information about each variety of Ionantha check out my Ionantha guide.

These little firecrackers look great mounted on wine bottle corks or balanced on vortex-shaped aluminum wire holders that are readily available for sale online.

How To Water Tillandsia Ionantha Fuego

Fuego can go several weeks without water, however, I recommend soaking this variety once a week for about 20-30 minutes to keep your firey friend happy.

Misting is optional but can help to maintain a healthy plant as it raises the humidity levels in often dry indoor environments. If you notice the leaf tips are going brown give the plant an extra soak.

I regularly use soft tap or rainwater depending on my supply. Some people use water from their ponds or aquariums which both contain good levels of natural fertilizer.

Hybrid - Tillandsia Ionantha Fuego

How To Propagate Tillandsia Ionantha Fuego

This variety of Ionantha grows quickly and as it matures creates lots of pups. Given time a single plant will eventually form a large clump of multiple plants, often known as an Ionantha ball.

Pups form near the base of the plant and can be removed by gently pulling and twisting the offset away from the mother plant, a pair of scissors may help.

Wait until the pups are a third of the size of the mother plant before you remove them. This enables the pups to store their own nutrients and gives them a much better chance of survival.

Air plant care cheat sheet

Flowers And Expert Tips

Fuego means ‘fire’ in Spanish so the name of the plant is well suited. The vibrant fiery red leaf color lasts for several weeks during blooming and often persists throughout the year.

When in bloom, the entire plant may blush a deep fiery red, and should not be confused with Tillandsia Ionantha Rubra. The blushing is followed by delicate purple tubular flowers, typical of most Ionantha varieties.

Fuegos leaves are silvery-green and the plant is relatively drought-tolerant. However, the leaf tips can dry out quickly and turn brown if the plant doesn’t receive sufficient water.

Tillandsia Ionantha Fuego Hybrids

According to the air plant nursery, Tropiflora, Fuego was originally discovered in Guatemala. However, the specie is also native to Mexico and Central America.

I have listed a few well-known Fuego hybrids below.

  • Tillandsia ‘Elizabethae’
  • Tillandsia ‘Amazing’
  • Tillandsia ‘Andy’s Delight’
  • Tillandsia ‘Oh My Goodness’.

It is of course normal for hybrids to inherit the color, shape, and form of their parental species. However, when it comes to their ‘size’ hybrids are usually larger than both parent species.

Author - Stephen Little
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