1. Home
  2. Agripedia

How to Grow Octopus Plants in a Garden?

Tillandsia caput-medusae or octopus plant is a species of flowering plant in the bromelia family, Bromeliaceae. It is also known as medusa’s head and is native to Central America and Mexico.

Aarushi Chadha
Garden Octopus
The octopus plant is usually kept as an indoor plant

Tillandsia caput-medusa is a carnivorous plant that is popularly known as the octopus plant. Also known as medusa’s head, the octopus plant is known for trapping and slowly digesting small insects to obtain nutrients. These plants are easy to care for and can be grown as indoor plants.

The octopus plant is a one-of-a-kind plant that grows long thin leaves that have red bristles or tendrils at the end. The tendrils produce a sticky substance that lures insects to the plant and traps them. Once an insect lands on them, the tendrils will fold on themselves to digest the bug. When in bloom, this plant produces flower spikes that are covered in clusters of blooms.

Sunlight Requirements:

The octopus plant is usually kept as an indoor plant. It is recommended to keep the plant near a windowsill that receives moderate to bright direct and indirect sunlight. During summer, avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight by keeping the plant in a place that receives scattered sunlight. During winter and monsoon, supplement sunlight with fluorescent lamps.

The ideal temperature for proper growth ranges between 12 to 30 degrees celsius. Also, make sure that the plant is in a well-ventilated spot. While choosing a location for your octopus plant, choose a spot that is not accessible to curious cats, dogs, or children as this plant is toxic.

Watering Requirements:

Octopus plants are native to the tropics. Therefore, they thrive in wet and damp conditions. It is important that you do not allow the soil to dry out and keep it constantly moist whilst not allowing waterlogging. During the summer, it is recommended to mist the plant at least once every day. Make sure that the plant has dried out before misting it again. Plus, this plant doesn’t thrive in artificial heat. Therefore, you must mist the plant regularly during the winter and make sure to put the plant in a well-ventilated area when you bump up your heating.


Do not apply fertilizer to this plant immediately after buying it. It is important that you let your octopus plant acclimate to the new surroundings before applying fertilizer. Unlike most plants, carnivorous plants get their nutrients from insects. Therefore, they do not need to be fed fertilizer regularly.

We recommend applying a little all-purpose fertilizer to the base of your plant, right before the growth period starts. You are also advised to not feed your octopus plant extra insects if they are able to catch them themselves. However, if they are unable to attract insects, you can feed them some freeze-dried or freshly procured insects, once every 10 to 14 days.

How to Repot Octopus Plant?

Repot your octopus plant once every 2 to 3 years. It is necessary when the plant starts to outgrow its original container. While choosing a new pot, choose a pot that is wider and taller to provide enough space for the root system to expand. Repotting is also necessary when your plant is suffering from fungal diseases caused by overwatering, has been infested by pests, or when the potting medium is no longer nutritious.

While removing your octopus plant, gently brush off the old potting medium without disturbing the root system. Place the plant in the new container, fill the base of the plant with moist peat, and water your new potting medium to ensure that the roots are properly secure.

International No Diet Day 2024 Quiz Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters