How To Grow Pink Quill Plant (Tillandsia cyanea) In Your Garden

Tillandsia cyanea, also known as Pink Quill Plant due to its striking pink bract that resembles an ink quill, is a Bromeliad native to Ecuador.

This air plant boasts narrow, pointed, green leaves, and produces a plume of violet-blue flowers from the pink bract during its blooming period.

Pink Quill typically reaches a compact height and spread of about ten to twelve inches (25 to 30 cm).

Tillandsia cyanea bract
Tillandsia cyanea photograph by Anne and David; CC.

Gardeners love Tillandsia cyanea for its spectacular bract and unique air plant nature, making it an excellent conversation piece.

This plant thrives as a Houseplant or in a terrarium, and performs well in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 11 and RHS zone H1C. It grows in a rosette pattern and does not spread invasively.

How to grow Tillandsia cyanea in the garden

As an air plant, Pink Quill Plant doesn't require traditional soil and instead absorbs nutrients through its leaves. If using a pot, an orchid mix is a suitable choice.

Pink Quill prefers a bright, indirect light location. While it can tolerate lower light conditions, brighter light will encourage blooming.

You can plant Tillandsia cyanea at any time, but it is usually done in the spring or summer. Propagation is typically achieved through offsets or pups, that the plant produces after blooming.

Pink Quill Plant close-up
Pink Quill Plant close-up, image by Jonathan Kriz; CC.

Watering Tillandsia cyanea is unique. Instead of traditional watering, it prefers to be misted two to three times a week, or you can submerge it in water for an hour every week or two.

This plant is relatively free from serious pests or diseases, but it can sometimes be affected by scale or root rot if overwatered. Regular monitoring and ensuring the plant dries out between waterings can help keep it healthy.

With its vibrant pink bract and violet-blue flowers, the Pink Quill Plant is a fascinating and visually striking choice for any indoor plant collection.

How to grow Tillandsia cyanea as a Houseplant

Tillandsia cyanea, is a delightful epiphytic bromeliad perfect for growing indoors as an houseplant. Here's a straightforward guide to cultivating it at home.

Start by choosing a bright, well-ventilated location, as Tillandsia cyanea requires good light, but not direct sunlight. The ideal temperature range is between 60 to 75°F (15 to 24°C).

For planting, place your Pink Quill in a well-draining mix such as orchid bark or perlite. Despite being an air plant, Tillandsia cyanea does best with its roots in a medium.

A pot with drainage holes is essential to prevent water-logging, as it dislikes soggy conditions.

Watering should be moderate, approximately once a week in summer and less frequently in winter. Mist the plant occasionally to replicate its natural humid environment. Avoid watering the flower spike as it may cause rot.

Feeding is important for its overall health. Use a diluted, low-nitrogen bromeliad or orchid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.

Refrain from repotting unless necessary. This plant prefers to be root-bound and repotting can disturb its growth.

Finally, propagating Pink Quill is done by removing and replanting the offsets, or pups, that appear at the base after flowering. Be patient, as these may take several years until they flower themselves. Following these steps should lead to successful cultivation of your Tillandsia cyanea, and bring a tropical touch to your home.

Quick Tillandsia cyanea Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Tillandsia cyanea

Common Name(s): Pink Quill Plant

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 10-11 RHS Hardiness Rating: H1c (10-15°C, heated glasshouse – warm temperate)

Best Used For / Garden Location: Indoor gardening, tropical greenhouses, and container gardening in warmer climates.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Epiphytic perennial

Plant Height: 1-2 feet (30-60 centimeters)

Plant Spread: 1-2 feet (30-60 centimeters)

Blooms: Anytime, peak in spring

Flower Details: Blue flowers emerging from a large, pink, feather-like bract

Leaf Foliage: Strap-like, arching, green leaves

Fruit: N/A

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Bright indirect light

Suitable Soil Types: Fast-draining, epiphytic potting mix, or grown on bark

Sowing / planting: Pot young plants in spring.

Germination time: N/A, propagated from offsets.

Propagation: By separating offsets after flowering.

Plant Care: High humidity, mist regularly, water sparingly.

Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for containers; ensure good drainage.

Growing as a House plant: Grows well as a houseplant, but requires high humidity.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Can be grown mounted on bark or driftwood. Prefers warm, humid conditions.

Pests and diseases: Generally pest-free, but watch for scale insects and root rot.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: No specific cultivars.

Family: Bromeliaceae, the Bromeliad family.

Native: Ecuador.

References and Further Reading: Royal Horticultural Society – Pink Quill Plant; MSU – Bromeliads; University of Florida IFAS Extension – Tillandsia

Common Questions

Does Tillandsia cyanea make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Tillandsia cyanea is typically grown as an indoor or greenhouse plant due to its tropical nature. Its striking pink bract and blue flowers make it an attractive addition to indoor displays.

Is Tillandsia cyanea a fragrant plant?

Tillandsia cyanea does not have a strong fragrance. Its main appeal is in its stunning pink bract and the beautiful blue flowers that emerge from it.

What is the perfect location to grow Pink Quill Plant?

Pink Quill Plant thrives in a location with bright, indirect light and high humidity. As an epiphyte (a plant that grows on another plant, but is not itself parasitic), it can be grown on a variety of substrates, and does not require traditional soil.

Is Tillandsia cyanea invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Tillandsia cyanea is not considered invasive in the USA. It's typically grown as an indoor or greenhouse plant and does not spread aggressively.

How do I remove Tillandsia cyanea from my garden?

To remove Tillandsia cyanea, simply remove the plant from its substrate. As an epiphytic plant, it does not have a traditional root system to worry about.


Pink Quill is an epiphytic bromeliad with pink bracts and purple flowers. Grow in bright, indirect light and provide high humidity. Mist or soak the plant regularly, allowing it to dry completely between watering.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Tillandsia cyanea. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Aechmea fasciata, Flossflower, and Gilia plants in the garden.

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