Tillandsia prefer indirect/filtered sunlight & air flow. We’ve selected plants that are hardy & will grow indoors or outdoors with broad spectrum light sources &/or natural light. Tillys are fairly tough, but don't do well with primary shade locations. The more light they get, the better growth you'll see.
While growing indoors, an East or West facing wall or near a bathroom window are great areas for them to thrive. Some growers suggest placement within 3 feet from a window, but out of direct sun. Generally, Tillandsia with trichomes (white furry coating) can handle full sun. To prevent burning, keep your tilly hydrated well between the growing season from April to October. From November to March they can handle more sun. Early morning or direct light is generally ok in coastal or mild climates.
The regime that works well for us on the coast is a 6-12 hour spring or reverse osmosis water bath 1-2 times per month. Tap water is ok.
Growing indoors is generally more dry and they could benefit from a dunk under water or thorough misting 2-3 times per week.
Outdoors within a tree or filtered light location is a good spot as well. Be sure that they get enough water and humidity.
Just keep an eye on your tilly and you'll learn to optimize its growing. If the leaf form is exaggeratedly concave and feels dry to touch, it definitely needs water. Healthy, hydrated plants have leaves that feel malleable and slightly rigid, like fresh cabbage.
If you can, feed during the warm months, place a table spoon of worm castings in with their bath. After watering, turn the tilly upside down and gently shake the water out—like you shake water from your fingers.
When comparing a bromeliad fertilizer to our worm casting, we observed that the tillys fed with castings appeared larger and had much longer new root growth than they did when fed with a processed fertilizer.
Feeding, good humidity, and sun will stimulate good growth and flowering.
All tillys flower and produce offsets. Look for offsets between leaf pockets. Some tillys produce seed. Seeds can be hydrated well and will produce plants, but do so very slowly.
Generally, your tilly will flower once in its life, but will produce offsets which will grow up and flower as well.
The first US importer of Tillandsia, Rainforest Flora, has said that some species can be stimulated to flower by placing it in a bag with apple slices.
We tend to rely on offsets to keep enjoying the plant. If cared for well, your tilly can live for legacies of use!
If you break pups off when they are about 1/3 the size of the parent they will be in a good position to mature on their own. They can grow if pulled away from the parent sooner, but will take longer to mature. Pulling pups will usually stimulate the parent to produce more offsets.