Tillandsia, like most other bromeliad species, can reproduce in two ways:
1. Seed formation
As you know it from many other plants, tillandsias form flowers and seeds . Fertilization occurs through pollination whereby the pollen must come from another plant of the same species. So air plants are not self-fruiting (self-fertile).
It takes many years for a tillandsia to flower. After flowering and seed formation, the individual plant has reached the end of its life and dies.
But something else also happens:
2. Child education
Especially after flowering, other small new plants, the so-called Kindel , sprout from the base of the dying mother plant. These continue to grow as individual plants and go through the same life cycle as the mother plant. Over the years, large coherent " clumps " can form from a plant.
When the children have reached about a third of the size of the original plant, they can be carefully separated and cared for as a new plant.