Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Giant Air Plant, Spreading Airplant, Giant Wild-Pine
Tillandsia utriculata

Family: Bromeliaceae (bro-mee-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tillandsia (til-LAND-see-uh) (Info)
Species: utriculata (ur-trik-yoo-LAT-uh) (Info)

5 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By TamiMcNally
Thumbnail #1 of Tillandsia utriculata by TamiMcNally

By Floridian
Thumbnail #2 of Tillandsia utriculata by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #3 of Tillandsia utriculata by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #4 of Tillandsia utriculata by Floridian

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By mickstr
Thumbnail #7 of Tillandsia utriculata by mickstr

There are a total of 8 photos.
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4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive dennisraybrooks On Dec 26, 2012, dennisraybrooks from Deltona, FL wrote:

I was fortunate to rescue this plant on Ebay. The type I have was reported to be named:
X-Large Tillandsia Utriculata Silver Air Plant

The plant is about 1 foot wide. It resides in a plastic bucket with drain holes. Unlike the previous posting, this plant has developed a seed stalk which is only about 8 inches long. It is white, not green, in color. The plant stalk is getting thicker but not taller.

I am in Central Florida (Deltona). It lives next to my pool which is screened in.

I don't know much about growing this type of plant. I am disabled and don't have interest in gathering seeds but I do want the plant to stay alive for a very very long time.

If I cut the stalk before it fully develops seeds, will it preserve this plants life? I believe that this plant is monocarpic. I have read that "Often monocarpic plants can be kept alive after flowering if the flowers are removed as soon as they are done blooming, before seed formation begins, or if the flower buds are removed before they begin blooming."

My second question is: is there a "Silver" variety as was reported at the sale?

Thank you for your time and effort...Dennis

Positive EastFortMyers On Jul 31, 2007, EastFortMyers from Fort Myers, FL wrote:

I have no new information on this plant. At least I know the name thanks to this site. I have one on a branch that was cut down by FPL. I suspended it from a small chain and the plant did quite well. Around March it began to grow a stalk. It grew literally inches per day! The stalk grew to about 4' by june. Unfortuatly my Giant Pine appears to be dieing off. I read that the plant dies after blooming? Frogs like it and also saw a black snake wrapped around it before.

Positive NativePlantFan9 On Jan 25, 2005, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

The Giant Airplant or Giant Wildpine (Tillandsia utriculata) is native to the cypress swamps, hammocks, pinelands, tree islands, sloughs, scrub, mangrove swamps, and many other similar natural habitats, both wet and dry, throughout central and southern Florida and the Keys (zones 9a through 11), from north-central Florida southward throughout the central and southern counties. It is one of the largest species of bromeliads in Florida and can get quite large in the wild as a mature specimen, sometimes reaching as wide as 2 or 3 feet. Usually it is less than 1 foot wide or 1 to 2 feet wide. The green flower spike is tall and large, but may seem inconspicuous against a natural background in the wild where this plant is found growing, such as one the trunks and branches of trees. Because of this, the mature flowering spike is often overlooked by naturalists. The small yellow flowers, which are found on several greenish, thin spikes branching out from the main spike when the mature plant is flowering, are small and inconspicuous. This species grows on tree trunks, branches, large twigs that can support the plant's weight (this airplant can often grow even on rather small sticks and twigs because the plant is really not as heavy as it seems, although if compared with the other bromeliads of Florida and due to it's size, the plant is still the heaviest), and on stumps in the wild. This species is found in many varied natural habitats in Florida, both wet and dry, from wet swamps, sloughs and cypress forests to pine flatwoods, pinelands, upland sandhills and scrubs and oak hammocks and hammocks (both moist and drier hammocks). However, sadly, this impressive species is being threatened by habitat destruction, overcollecting, and in southern Florida, by the Mexican Bromeliad Weevil Attack. Although it is still widespread and common in many areas, it is rapidly declining as a result of habitat destruction due to development in central and southern Florida's natural habitats. Also, overcollecting is still a major threat. And, of course, there is the Mexican Bromeliad Weevil, which is sadly destroying many native species of bromeliads in central and southern Florida. The Giant Airplant, due to those threats, like many species of native bromeliads in Florida, is listed as endangered by the state of Florida. Property owners and all other people should not remove this plant from it's natural habitat in central and southern Florida if they see it. It, along with the habitats it is found in, should be protected.

MORE FACTS - A good place to see this species is the Big Cypress/Fakahatchee Swamp Region in the western Florida Everglades in southwest Florida. This species grows well in zones 9a through 11 and is found throughout the central and southern counties of Florida, including the Keys.

Positive TamiMcNally On Jun 5, 2004, TamiMcNally from Lake Placid, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Endangered as a result of the Mexican bromeliad weevil attack. These Tillandsias were common before the attack.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida (2 reports)
Daytona Beach, Florida
Fort Pierce, Florida
Jupiter, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Kurtistown, Hawaii

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