Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish Moss)

Scientific Name

Tillandsia usneoides (L.) L.

Common Names

Spanish Moss, Grandpas Beard


Dendropogon usneoides, Renealmia usneoides, Strepsia usneoides, Tillandsia crinita, Tillandsia filiformis, Tillandsia trichoides

Scientific Classification

Family: Bromeliaceae
Subfamily: Tillandsioideae
Genus: Tillandsia


Color: Green, yellow, or grey
Bloom Time: Spring through fall


Tillandsia usneoides is an epiphytic flowering plant with one or more slender stems that bear alternate, thin, curved, or curly, heavily scaled, up to 2.5 inches (6.2 cm) long leaves. The leaves grow vegetatively in a chain-like fashion, forming hanging structures up to 20 feet (6 m) long. The plant has no aerial roots, and its brown, green, yellow, or grey flowers are tiny and inconspicuous. The flowers open in succession over up to 4 months, from spring through fall.

Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish Moss)
Photo via travaldo.blogspot.com


USDA hardiness zone 7a to 11b: from 0 °F (−17.8 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Like with most plants, the first step in learning how to grow an Air Plant is learning about its natural habitats. These plants are native to forests and mountains in Central and South America and the southern United States.

From late-summer to mid-spring, water your Air Plants by misting them daily. Unlike potted houseplants, you can't really over-water an Air Plant.

Keep in mind that these plants primarily come from warm and humid environments. If you live in a dry climate or have forced air, you will need to provide adequate humidity by regularly misting your Air Plants.

A bright, sunny window, alcove, or porch where the Air Plant gets some protection from the full sun is ideal for these plants. Remember, they grow in tree canopies and mountains where they get dabbled light and some shade. Too much direct sunlight will lead to your plant drying out or the leaves burning. Yes, plants can get sunburns just like we do. See more at How to Grow and Care for Air Plants.


Tillandsia usneoides is native to much of Mexico, Bermuda, Bahamas, Central America, South America, southern United States, French Polynesia, and West Indies. It is also naturalized in Queensland (Australia).


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