Spanish Moss (Tillandsia Usneoides) Plant Care Guide

Difficulty Level: Modest

What is Spanish Moss

Tillandsia usneoides, commonly called Spanish Moss and less commonly known as Grandpa’s Beard, Moss Tillandsia, and Spanish Beard is an epiphytic Bromeliad. It is closely related to other Tillandsia and is a very unique member of the genus with its dramatic hanging tufts of moss like foliage. Spanish Moss is native to forested sub tropical areas of the Americas and enjoys high humidity, often growing over bodies of water. Spanish Moss is classically known to grow on Oak trees in the Louisiana Bayou.

Spanish Moss can be grown indoors in most areas and outdoors in sub tropical areas that have high humidity and do not experience frost. Spanish Moss grows well mounted onto a natural substrate such as a branch or on a moss covered mount in a location where it has ample room to drape its long drooping stems.

Light CareLight Care

Because Spanish Moss has a pale silvery appearance it may be difficult to tell if the proper conditions for it are being met. Spanish Moss is sensitive to direct lighting and prefers moderate indirect light. Too bright of a setting will dry out leaves and too little light will cause Spanish Moss to stagnate and no longer grow. Avoid direct sunlight and place Spanish Moss only in settings where the sun will not directly hit the plant. Spanish Moss can be mounted above a window and allowed to drape down into the light, this will also help to allow the growth to continue into long strands without them draping into an unlit space.

Water CareWater Care

Spanish Moss enjoys frequent watering and high relative humidity. One of the best ways to water Spanish Moss is to take the entire plant and its mount and dip it into water. This can be done once or twice weekly allowing it to lightly dry out between waterings.

Spanish Moss also enjoys frequent misting and its healthy strands will turn a green color while wet. This can be used as an indicator for which stems are alive and healthy, as the leaves are a pale silvery color when dry.

Food GuideFood Guide

In the wild Spanish Moss only receives extra nutrients from those that leach out of the trees it grows on, with oaks and cypress trees providing the most nutrients and being the preferred species that Spanish Moss grows on. To fertilize Spanish Moss it is recommended that you soak the stems and leaves in water that has diluted fertilizer in it. Diluting the fertilizer to 1/8th the recommended amount will help prevent any kind of leaf burns that can result from excess fertilizer drying on the leaves. A diluted fertilizer solution can be stored in a plastic container and reused to fertilize your Spanish Moss every two weeks.

Staff Holy Grail Tip:

Take advantage of the willowy nature of Spanish Moss and allow it to produce long and dramatic waterfalls of leaves. Remember Spanish Moss will only grow downward from where you mount it so mounting it high is the best choice to accentuate the long and dramatic growth.

You can easily propagate Spanish Moss by carefully separating the strands and mounting them on new branches where it will continue to grow into a new clump over time.