To Split or not to Split!

One of the many fabulous things about Tillandsias is that they produce pups, baby plants that offset from the mother, often after flowering, that increase in size rapidly compared to seedlings.  After flowering the parent plant will gradually dis back and the pups will take over, some plants only produce 1 or 1 pups, others more.  These pups will flower and then produce their own pups and over a few seasons a clump of plants will form.

If you don’t want to make a clump but rather to split the plants and grow them on separately you cab gently pull the pups away from the parent once they are around a third the size of the parent.  You need to feel where they will separate naturally and gently pull, trying to get some root fibres with each plant.  Keep them somewhere dry for 24-48 hours to allow the base to dry out and callous.  Sometimes removal of pups will stimulate the parent to produce another bonus pup. 

Clumps of plants, whether mounted on wood or hanging to form a ball certainly look spectacular.  It is a good idea though to monitor and maintain them.  As parent plants die back you will get pockets of dead plant matter in the clump, these provide areas for pests to hide and pockets of moisture that can lead to rot.  Sometimes you may not realise there is a problem until the clump collapses.  It is a good idea to maintain your clumps by teasing out dead sections. This also allows more space for new pups to grow. Just look carefully for any newly forming pups so as not to damage them. It is also a good job to do sitting in the shade, while it is so hot at the moment!

T Califano before Cleaning
Removing dead plant
New pups visible after cleaning

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