Xerographica Air Plant Care and Propagation Guide

The Xerographica air plant is a unique and beautiful species of epiphytic Tillandsia native to Central America, where it grows in tropical and warm subtropical climates. It prefers humid environments with lots of air circulation and bright filtered light. Commonly called the king of air plants, Xerographica is prized for its large rosette shape, gracefully arching leaves and long-lasting blooms. Its scientific name is Tillandsia Xerographica, and it’s also known as the teddy bear cactus, old man beard, and silver air plant.

This majestic air plant can reach up to 35 cm in diameter when mature and has a distinct architectural style. Its curved, leathery leaves are silver-gray in color with delicate white tips. Its ability to survive and thrive without soil has made it a popular houseplant, with its ability to tolerate drought and low light. This guide will discuss Xerographica air plant care and its propagation.

xerographica air plant care

Xerographica Air Plant Care Guide

The key to healthy Xerographica air plants is proper care. Though they are relatively low-maintenance, they will benefit from basic maintenance. Here are some tips for keeping your air plant in top shape:


As an epiphyte, the Xerographica air plant does not need soil to survive. It obtains its nutrition from the atmosphere through tiny scales on its leaves called trichomes.


Light is an essential component of the growth of the Xerographica air plant. They prefer bright, indirect light from the sun or fluorescent lighting. Avoid direct sunlight, or your air plant will burn. If you don’t have enough light, the leaves may turn brown, and the plant might become stunted. Moreover, if your air plant is in a too-dark area, it will not bloom.


Xerographica air plants require regular watering. Water them at least once a week or more often if the environment is particularly hot or dry. You can water them by submerging the plant in a bowl of lukewarm water for 15 minutes, then allowing it to drain before returning it to its pot or terrarium. Alternatively, you can mist the plant every few days. Be sure not to over-water, as it can cause the leaves to turn brown and rot.


To keep your Xerographica air plant thriving, fertilizing is a must. Fertilizers help replenish depleted nutrients in the soil, providing essential nourishment for your air plant. Use a balanced fertilizer every two to four weeks for the best results. Apply the fertilizer at half the recommended strength and always dilute it with water before applying it to your plant. Be sure not to over-fertilize, as this can damage the plant.

Temperature and Humidity

Xerographica air plants prefer warm temperatures, ranging from 65 to 90 °F (18-32°C). Avoid extreme temperatures and keep your air plant away from cold drafts, heating vents, and windows. Humidity is also important for Xerographica air plants to thrive. They require humidity levels of 50-90 percent, and if the air is too dry, you can mist the plant or set it on a tray of moist pebbles.

Pests and Diseases

Xerographica air plants are relatively pest-free, but they may occasionally be affected by mealybugs and scale insects. If you spot any of these pests on your plant, use an insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat them. These plants can also be affected by root rot and fungal diseases if they are overwatered. To prevent this, make sure to provide the right amount of water and keep the area around your plant clean and dry.

xerographica air plant care

Propagating Xerographica Air Plant

Although there are several techniques to propagate air plants, dividing pups is likely the simplest, most efficient, and most popular method. Propagating Xerographica air plants is quite easy, as they can be propagated from offsets or pups, which develop around the base of the parent plant. Separating air plants through this technique is simple and does not require much effort. Basic tools such as sharp knives or razor blades, as well as plenty of light and suitable growing space, are necessary for successful propagation.

Once the mother Tillandsia Xerographica has completed its blooming cycle, it may produce pups. However, due to the slow growth rate of this species, these can take years to appear. After the pups have grown a fourth of the size of their parent plant, you should use a clean and sharp blade to separate them carefully from their mother. To remove pups from the mother plant, carefully pull up the leaves and cut them at the base. Ensure not to damage the pup or take away too much from the mother. In some cases, you may even be able to snap off the offset without using a cutting object.

After that, treat it as any other air plant for the best results. You can root it in water or potting mix, but the main focus should be keeping it fully hydrated by placing it in a bowl of water. It’s really that straightforward! Placing pups in a well-draining pot with soil or sand will allow you to replant the pup and nurture it into maturity. It is best to divide pups from the mother plant in the morning or early afternoon for optimal results.

You can choose to mount the offset on a growing plank using crafting wire and place it in a well-lit indoor location. If this isn’t possible, you may prefer to set your pup outdoors in an area that isn’t overly exposed to the sun. During cold weather months, it is usually best to keep offsets inside, so they are not subject to frost. Be sure to provide adequate light and water, as you would for any other air plant. Once rooted and established, your new Xerographica air plant can be transferred to an aerated container.

Xerographica air plants are one of the most popular and low-maintenance houseplants. By following the basic tips, you can enjoy the long-lasting beauty of this unique species for many years. With the proper care, your air plant can survive and even bloom in its new environment. By providing adequate light, water, fertilizer with balanced nutrients, and proper humidity levels, you can ensure that your Xerographica air plant stays healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Related Post:
How To Grow Air Plants From Seed (Step-by-Step Guide)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

xerographica air plant care

How long does it take Xerographica to bloom?

Xerographica air plants typically bloom within 1-2 years but can take up to 3-4 years to reach full maturity. During the blooming process, the plant will form a tall center stalk with clusters of white or pink flowers along the length of it. Some plants may even produce multiple flower stalks during their lifetime. After blooming, the plant will produce offsets, which can be separated and replanted to form a new plant. The blooming process is slow, but with proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy the beautiful flowers of your Xerographica air plant for years to come.

How long does Tillandsia Xerographica live?

Tillandsia Xerographica can live for many years with proper care and maintenance. With the right amount of light, water, humidity, and fertilization, an air plant can survive for up to 15-20 years. To ensure a long lifespan for your Xerographica air plant, it is important to provide adequate light every day, mist the leaves regularly to maintain a humid environment, and fertilize it with balanced nutrients every two weeks. Additionally, you should also avoid overwatering or underwatering your plant, as these can cause root rot or other diseases if not managed properly. With proper care and monitoring, your Xerographica air plant can provide you with years of beauty and enjoyment.


Xerographica air plants are a unique and beautiful species of Tillandsia that can be enjoyed for many years. With the right care, light, water, humidity levels, and fertilization, you can ensure your Xerographica air plant stays healthy and full of life. By following the basic tips outlined above, you can enjoy the long-lasting beauty of this unique species in your home or garden. With the proper care, your Xerographica air plant will reward you with years of beauty and enjoyment. Happy growing!