Air Plant Species | Streptophylla

An evergreen, frost-tender bromeliad from southern Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, twisted air plant is an epiphyte (tree grower) with silvery white or green leaves that twist downwards. It grows anchored on tree trunks and branches where it receives bright light and flushes of rainfall.

The plump rosette of leaves are ghostly gray-white during the cool, dry season and light green during the rainy growing season. They are comprised of twisty leaf blades that are wide at the base and taper to a sharp, or acute, tips. In late spring and early summer, mature rosettes produce a flower stem. The branched stems are blushed with red and have clusters of bracts (modified, petal-like leaves) at the branch tips. Slender, three-petaled flowers peek out from the bracts. There are hummingbird pollinated and are followed by inconspicuous fruits. Rosettes dies after flowering and setting fruit, but they produce plantlets at the base, called pups, that will replace them.

Grow the twisted airplant in partial sun to partial shade upon the branches or trunks in tropical gardens. Ensure air circulation is good and water can quickly drain from the plant. Regular water is needed in the warmth of summer, but less is needed in wintertime. It is frost tender, so refrain from growing it where winters are cold. This pretty air plant looks great planted alongside orchids and also makes a super terrarium specimen.

Air Plant: Streptophylla

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