Growing Tillandsia seeds is one of the most rewarding experiences in this hobby. It is not difficult to understand the needs of seedlings, and not difficult to provide them. However, seedlings typically require constant care, adjustments, and careful observation. This is because Tillandsia seedlings must remain wet enough to germinate and then stay alive, but dry enough to avoid fungi, bacteria, and other pathogens. Also, Tillandsia seedlings grow pretty slow- it might be five years for a seed to become a Retail Tillandsia!
If Tillandsia seedlings required less direct, hands-on care, it would be much easier for anyone in almost any climate to propagate them.
Plant Tissue Culture is the growth of plant tissue or cells in an artificial medium. This process basically grows plants from test tubes and has been around for over 100 years. Usually, this process requires special plant hormones and scientific equipment providing a sterile environment. We can adopt some of the processes and theories from plant tissue culture to grow Tillandsia seed in jars with extremely low maintenance.
Our seeds will grow in small sterile jars, in a gelatinous medium of agar, sugar, and fertilizer, and they shouldn't need any direct care at all besides light for up to perhaps one year. Follow along to try it yourself!
The seedlings will continue to grow in the medium for up to a year before they will need to be removed. The single biggest risk is contamination by fungus, bacteria, or other pathogens. In our experience, contamination manifests quickly, within a few days of closing the jars. If this happens, fuzzy or abnormal growths will appear, and the best bet is to abort process on such jars.