Spanish Moss

Tillandsia usneoides

Old Mans Beard, Air Plant, Airplant

profile iconStarr 080326-3794 Tillandsia usneoides
by Forest & Kim Starr (CC BY 3.0)
1 of 11
profile iconStarr 080326-3794 Tillandsia usneoides
by Forest & Kim Starr (CC BY 3.0)
1 of 11
Tillandsia usneoides is also commonly known as Spanish Moss, however it has no relation to the moss family. In fact, this species lies in the Bromeliaceae family. It is a tiny epiphyte, gaining moisture from the surrounding air. This flowering "air" plant grows in the upper reaches of tall trees or other structures and uses the scales on the leaves and its curving structure to anchor itself. Produces small, 3-petalled yellow-green flowers and narrow, linear foliage coloured silver-white.
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Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Summer, Spring

Fruiting time

Autumn

Harvesting

Simply divide strands for use in arrangements.

Propagation

Seed

The plant in nature self-seeds. It is tricky to propagate from seed and it is easier to take a part of the plant and attach it to a piece of bark. Spray with a mister for humidity.

Division

The easiest propagation method is simply dividing the strands.

Special features

Attracts birds

Birds use Spanish moss as nest making material. Serves as habitats for frogs, bats, snakes and spiders.

Wet sites

Grows well near the outside of air-condition vents, dripping fluids unto the plant.

Hedge plant

Arrange these on a hedge to grow into a screen.

Attractive leaves

Special features

Origin

South Eastern United States, Mexico, Bermuda, West Indies, Central America

Natural climate

Temperate

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Air, Loam

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Ornamental

Grown for the unusual foliage, it has become popular with floral designers.

Personality

Family

Bromeliaceae

Flower colour

Green, Yellow

Scent

Mild

Problems

Red bugs (also known as harvest mites), and mealy bug might effect this plant.

Related Problems

Companion plants

Generally grown in solitary or on trees.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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