T. ionantha is probably one of the most popular forms of tillandsia, there are a huge variety of forms and cultivars. Ionanthas usually grow epiphytically at a range of altitude from 450-1700m and can grow in full sun and dry conditions. They are stemless with tight rosettes of leaves covered with trichomes. When happy in their position they produce lots of roots which makes them a great subject for mounting on wood, stone or in more creative ways.
Most people are drawn to ionanthas due to the bright red colour many forms get when grown in bright light and before flowering. They are pollinated by hummingbirds in their natural habitat and the red colour draws in the pollinators. After flowering they produce several pups and form very pretty clumps of plants.
Tillandsia ionantha are also often used in indoor displays, their tolerance of dry conditions makes them a good indoor subject, just ensure that when they are watered they dry out afterwards and don’t sit in water in a bowl or display. We have experimented with them inside in glass balls and they can be left for several weeks and still be content. Of course a bit of extra attention will ensure that they thrive.