There are some gorgeous red colours appearing in the nursery from T brachycaulos and ionantha. Why are these leaves changing from green to red and is it bad for the plant? The answer is a very clever process which helps to attract pollinators to the plant. The colour change occurs as the plant begins to bloom and is causes by a pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin pigments absorb UV light strongly, which attracts insects using wavelengths that are not seen by the human eye. Both T brachycaulos and T ionantha have relatively small flowers that don’t protrude far from the leaves. This dramatic colour change encourages pollinators to visit their flowers.The change will only occur when the plants are exposed to plenty of bright light. Anthocyanins also protect the plants DNA from sun damage. Anthocyanin production can be induced by high light levels, particularly blue and UV light; temperature; water stress and carbohydrates. For Tillandsias in particular, when grown in strong light, anthocyanin production increases and causes leaf colour to change.