How NOT to kill your Tillandsia xerographica airplant

View More: had sixteen T. xerographica that were left over from my wedding – they were beautiful and cost-effective centerpieces.  I really considered them my “plant babies.”  When I first got them, I’d give them a “bath” about once a week and let them dry outside in the sun.  Eventually, those baths dwindled to about 2-3 weeks apart, which is still fine.   Then life got busy and it was too cold to leave them outside, so I kept them in a bin in the guest room.  However, one busy night I realized I hadn’t watered my plants in a month and so proceeded to dunk them all in the bathtub.  After watering, I always invert them so that the plant isn’t holding water, because a tillandsia with water remaining in its base will rot in the middle.  I allowed them to dry off and the plants had returned to their silvery green state and felt dry to the touch.   I thought it was safe to corral them in my plastic bin (to save space).

Was I ever wrong…

Killing one of these plants that can live 50+ years isn’t the same as killing the basil that lives about 6 months.     When I went to water them next (another month later), I realized all the plants in the bottom of the bin were dead.  They didn’t exactly look dead at first, but once I pulled them out of the tub they fell apart from the center.  I had decapitated my plant babies!   There were two layers of plants in the bin – the ones on top of the bin were fine, since they dried fully…but all the ones on the bottom died since they were just damp enough for mildew to form.  The mildew was barely noticeable, but definitely the culprit.  The culprit, besides me, murderer of plants =(.  I now have 9 plants, down from 16.

So that you can avoid my heartache and unwitting cruelty to plant babies, here are the following tips:

1. ALWAYS allow your xerographica to dry fully, ideally in the sun for several hours.  (Prior to this incident, I had successfully stored the plants in the bin with no problems, because they were fully dry)

2. Water once every 2-3 weeks by soaking.  Shake off excess water by inverting the plant.

3. Bromeliad fertilizer can be used occasionally – I recommend a very dilute concentration, at most 1/4 of the recommended amount.  Over-fertilizing can be lethal.

4. Keep plant in moderate temperatures (50-80 deg F).

5. Indirect or direct sunlight are both fine – other than the mildew susceptibility, this plant is extremely low-maintenance

Because you may not trust a person who has killed her supposedly low-maintenance plants, here are some other sources for T. xerographica care.  Keep in mind that some instructions are contradictory, which I think just attests to the easygoing nature of the plant.

Care tips from
Hard to read, but informative

Alt Summit business card inspiration

Here’s a pinboard  of business cards that Marie of Food Nouveau put together.  My little card is embarrassed to be on there, but will have to rely on its friendliness to get by in such great company.  (hmm, I may anthropomorphizing a bit much).  I ended up not getting washi tape for the grey part and instead laser printed a grey background with text to glue onto the card.  Below is the final result:

All photos from Marie

Update 2/1/12: more business card love

Alt Summit Recap (part one)

I had so much fun meeting talented people at Alt Summit!  I also learned quite a bit from the seminars held by some of my favorite bloggers.  Since I know not all of you could go, I tried to take some good photos and notes.

The hotel was quite beautiful, but my favorite was the courtyard.  It looked simply magical in the evenings.  It rained for the first few days of the conference, but then snowed huge fat flakes on Saturday.

The first night we had dinner at the Market Street Broiler, sponsored by our hosts from DailyBuzzLuxe.  I had never heard of them before – I guess they are kind of like DailyCandy, except they get their content from independent bloggers instead of freelance writers.  Our hosts were so nice and even dressed up the place settings with a little game and provided goody bags full of skincare products – very helpful for the dry weather.

Some of the lovely people I met were:

Marie Asselin – Food Nouveau
Diana Taylor – may june and july
Jacey Duprie – Damsel in Dior
Kate King – Heart full of Dasies
Whitney Noziskova
Brittany Sage – Lipstick and Leopard print
Mara Kofoed – A Blog About Love
Marie LeBaron – Make and Takes
Sara Larsen – For the love of blog therapy
Kait Kucy – Yuppie Love
Megan Reardon – Not Martha

Graphic Designers
Kelli Ronci –
Shannon Darrough
Jennifer Owen – Owen Design Company

Interior Designers
Brittany Stiles
Regan Baker

Laure Joliet
Rima Baroudi
Regina Boone

Shop Owners
Karina Bania – Cluster Art
Wendy Wyne of Fete Studio
Lexi Soukoreff – Daub + Design

Apologies for the overwhelming number of links, but maybe you’ll find a blog you love to read.  As for me, at least I’ll have everyone’s websites in one place if I lose the business cards >_<

Business cards for Alt Summit

As of last week, I still had no business cards for Alt Summit.  Oh crap.  Apparently, cute business cards are a big deal at this conference.  And of course, I couldn’t have digitally printed cards since it would be dumb to say, “Hi, I’m Phoebe, here are my non-letterpress business cards.  By the way, letterpress is my hobby.”  This is the design I settled on, taking cues from the blog template.