Tillandsia usneoides • Spanish Moss

Tillandsia usneoides • Spanish Moss

Tillandsia usneoides is known by many different names: Spanish Moss, Pele’s Beard, tree hair, Grandpa’s beard, Old Man’s Whiskers and more.

Whatever you call it, it is a beautiful way to add a bit of greenery and life to your home.

The types of leaves vary, based on the variety. From soft a feathery to hard and curly.


This particular variety likes a lot of indirect sunlight. It can handle morning light as well as afternoon/evening light as well, so East and West facing windows are great.

It loves being dunked or soaked every two days for about 15 minutes in the summer, and once a week in the winter time to ensure the inner leaves all get dampened. Let it dry completely to prevent rotting, so air circulation is key. It should ideally dry in less than 4 hours.

If you do keep your moss outdoors, it enjoys planting zones 7a-10.

It loves to sway in the breeze, picture giant Oak and Cypress trees in the Southern US, covered in Spanish Moss, swaying in the breeze.


Low humidity, and strong sun. It also dislikes sitting in water. After a soaking or a heavy misting, make sure you shake the excess water free. You can place it near a fan to dry off faster.


The Tillandsia usneoides is native to the Southern US, South & Central America, Mexico, Bermuda, Australia, and French Polynesia.

MEASUREMENTS // approximate

Bunches can vary in size, but average 12-30” tall can grow up to 25’ tall!


The flowers on usneoides are very small, light green, and have a very deep fragrance when in bloom. The usneoides rarely bloom when kept indoors though, but if they do, it will be in the summertime.


If kept outside, don’t be surprised if it starts to get smaller! Birds love to use Spanish Moss in their nests.

In the past, Spanish Moss has been used for bedding, clothing and pillows. And when you snip off the ends, it can cause off shoots to form!


Do you have any other questions about this incredibly interesting air plant or any other air plants? Feel free to view my Introduction to Air Plant Care or my Air Plant Care Series.