tillandsia neglecta air plant in bloom

The Air Plant Blooming Process: After the Bloom

9 comments by Megan Richards

You’ve taken great care of your air plant and finally got to enjoy the beautiful flowers that a blooming air plant produces. Yay! But what happens next? Will your air plant bloom again? Is there any special care that a plant that has bloomed needs? We’re here to answer all your questions, and if you have one that isn’t answered below, feel free to email us at info@airplantdesignstudio.com

Bulbosa air plant dead flower bloom


First, air plants only bloom once, which may seem like a bummer, but is actually pretty cool; because you get to anticipate what the flowers might look like. Some air plants have blooms called an inflorescence or bloom spike that can last for many months, while others have short lived blooms that only last a couple of days. Some have one delicate flower, while others have multiple flowers that come from one bloom. So no, your plant might not bloom more than once, but they sure are stunning when they do bloom! Next up, they have a very exciting thing that happens; pup formation!

We have a blog post all about the blooming process you can read HERE, so to summarize, pups/offset are formed after a plant blooms. You might notice that after blooming your plant may be a little dry or wilted. During blooming the plant sends most of its energy and nutrients to the bloom, and now it will spend its time sending most of its energy to the pups that it is working hard to grow. The best thing that you can do after an air plant blooms, is to continue watering it and giving it adequate sunlight. Now is also a good time to fertilize as this can help with pup growth. Soon you might notice tiny “pups” under the leaves of the mother plant.  On air plants that have a bloom bract, stem, or inflorescence its advisable to remove the stem to allow the next phase of growth to start and allow the plant to push all its energy to the creation of offset.

dead air plant flower


Once there are a few pups that have formed, you might notice that your air plant is dying off, which is perfectly normal. The pups will continue to grow and the cycle will begin again!

So to answer a few questions:

Can you leave the dried flowers on the air plant plant? Yes absolutely. You can also remove them for cosmetic reasons if you prefer. To do so, you can gently snip a bloom spike off of a plant, or pull the dried flowers from the blooms. Snipping a bloom spike will actually help spark pup formation as the plant will focus its energy on the pups rather than the bloom.

Will the mother plant die? Eventually, yes. With proper care, they can last for a long time though, and if the pups are left to grow, they might even form a clump.  Over time the new offset will take over, and the mother plant will slowly die off as it gives its energy to the pups.

How long does it take for an air plant to bloom? Some plants take longer than others, and can grow for months or even years before they bloom. These larger, slower growing varieties include the xerographica, harrisii, fasciculata, etc. All of these plants will emit a bloom spike that can last months!  Some plants such as the stricta, aeranthos, houston, etc. bloom quicker than others and all have stunning blooms.

xerographica air plant bloom

That being said, with proper care, plants will bloom when they are ready, no need to rush it. You can fertilize to promote blooming, but the wait is part of the fun of collecting air plants.