Tillandsia Cyanea [til-LAND-see-uh, sy-AN-ee-uh] is a low-maintenance, easy to cultivate house plant native to the rainforests of Ecuador, commonly called the fan flower or pink quill.
It belongs to the bromeliad family of flowering plants, most of which come from the South American region.
The common name, “the fan flower,” comes from the inflorescence the plant produces once in it’s life.
It’s also referred to as air plants since the bromeliads don’t need pots and can simply grow on a chunk of wood.
Tillandsia Cyanea Care
Size and Growth
The fan flower isn’t a very big plant. It will only achieve a spread of a couple of about 12″ – 16″ inches. The plant produces long, thin leaves forming a rosette.
The rosette slowly curves upward and outward. The funnel helps the plant collect a reservoir, allowing it to go longer without water.
Flowering and Fragrance
Tillandsia Cyanea produces a large, fan-shaped inflorescence covered in bright purple-blue flowers.
The flowers remain on the plant for a long time, lasting up to two months.
Unfortunately, the fan flower only blooms once. After the inflorescence dies, the plant starts to wither.
The inflorescence arrives after the plant matures, which normally takes about two to three years.
Light and Temperature
The fan flower is winter hardy in USDA zones 11 and above.
It requires temperatures of at least 59° degrees Fahrenheit (15° C) during the colder months.
For best results, keep it in a spot with temperatures between 65° – 75° degrees Fahrenheit (18° – 24° C).
Ensure it gets as much light as possible, but shield it from direct afternoon sunlight.
The bright UV rays may scorch the leaves. In most homes, an east or west-facing window works best.
Watering and Feeding
Avoid watering the plant too frequently.
Remember the funnel shape of the rosette helps the plant store extra water.
When watering the plant, pour a slow trickle into the funnel of the leaves.
Regular misting also helps keep the plant healthy without providing too much water.
TIP: To avoid overwatering, simply mist the plant once or twice per week and entirely stop using a watering can.
When misting or watering the plant, use lukewarm water instead of room temperature water, as it holds more humidity.
These plants don’t typically need fertilizer, but a weak plant may benefit from the extra nutrients.
To help save a struggling plant, add plant food about once per month until healthy.
More on –> Bromeliad Watering
Soil and Transplanting
Due to the small root system, these plants don’t need large pots. The plant can even grow without a pot or soil.
People often fasten Tillandsia to other objects, such as branches or blocks of wood.
Glue or string can secure the plant in place. If using a pot and soil, add porous soil with peat moss.
Another option is to use orchid bark or a mixture of orchid bark and coco coir.
No matter the type of growing medium, it should offer good drainage.
When the plant needs to move to a new pot, repot in early spring.
Tillandsia Cyanea does not need grooming.
Related Reading on Tillandsia:
How to Propagate Pink Quill
Propagate with offsets growing near the base of the mother plant.
This is the best option for keeping the plant year after year, as the mother plant eventually dies after flowering.
To achieve healthy new plants, wait for the offsets to grow large and robust before cutting.
When the offsets are large enough, carefully cut them away from the mother plant.
When collecting offsets from potted plants, remove the mother plant from the pot.
Use caution to avoid damaging the base of the mother plant, unless it’s at the end of its life.
The Fan Flower Main Pests or Disease Problems
Tillandsia Cyanea isn’t toxic or invasive, but cats and other small pets may experience digestive distress after chewing on the leaves.
Other potential issues include too much water or too cool temperatures.
If the plant receives too much water, it may start to die off early.
Common signs of overwatering include leaves starting to droop or flowers starting to fall off the inflorescence.
To save the plant, stop watering, and move it to a sunny windowsill.
This may also save a plant suffering from low temperatures.
If the temperatures stay below 59° degrees Fahrenheit (15° C), the fan flower may start to die.
Keep it in a bright spot and keep an eye on it.
If the plant dies due to one of these issues, propagate the fan flower using the offsets.
Suggested Tillandsia Cyanea Uses
The beautiful fan flower adds character to any room when given ample sunlight.
Fasten the plant to a piece of cork or a mossy branch and mount it on a wall near a window.