How To Make A Hanging Air Plant Terrarium

I recently visited the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Ft. Myers, Florida, where I was given a tour of their residences, gardens, research facilities, and museum. Particularly all the rubber trees they investigated as potential sources for tire materials, the plant collections there are amazing.

I took advantage of the fact that Edison is most well-known for creating the light bulb by buying a tiny hanging planter in the shape of a lightbulb. An air plant is within, resting on sphagnum moss. I enjoy looking at it every day because it hangs above my kitchen window.

Tillandsia, or air plants, are fascinating members of the Bromeliad family. Since all bromeliads are epiphytes, they depend on another object for support. Because of this, plants in nature use their root systems to grow safely on rocks and trees. They obtain water and nutrients from the air and rain through their leaves as opposed to using their roots to draw them from the earth.

Only three things are necessary to maintain air plants healthy and content: sunlight, water, and air movement.

First, you need light—filtered light, not direct light—coming through a window facing south, east, or west. You can hang them outside in a tree or other safe place during the summer.

Second, appropriate irrigation is essential for growing Tillandsia. I prefer to mist mine once or twice a week to keep the sphagnum moss substrate damp while allowing the plant to somewhat dry out in between waterings. The leaves are too dry if they curl or roll. Place the plant in water overnight to resuscitate it, then shake off any extra water before putting it back on display.

Third, proper air flow promotes disease prevention and allows the plant to dry out a little between waterings.

Terrariums, which are transparent glass or plastic containers filled with miniature plants, are ideal for growing and displaying air plants. Unlike other terrariums, which are securely closed, my light-bulb-shaped container includes an entire side that is open to promote air flow.

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What does an air plant terrarium require?

Terrariums are a wonderful way to add some greenery to any area, and you can really make your terrarium stand out by using several types of bases! We frequently receive inquiries regarding how to exhibit air plants in terrariums, including what types of bases to use and whether they require soil. The bases and decorations you should pick to create a stunning air plant terrarium are discussed below.

You can use small pebbles, seashells, bark, marbles, preserved reindeer moss, beautiful sand, etc. for the base. Have fun with it! There are countless options for the colors and textures of the sand and rock used in terrariums.

There is no need to provide soil because air plants can survive without it. Most air plants, in fact, shouldn’t be planted in soil. Layering moss, sand, or rock is a simple way to add variety and texture to your terrarium.

Make sure the base you use is entirely dry. You don’t want your air plants to be resting against any moisture in their terrariums or containers.

You should also consider the type and size of the terrarium you are creating. This terrarium will be presented where? Will it hang or rest on a table? You can choose the substrate for your terrarium by responding to these questions. Since moss is lighter than sand and won’t shift as much if the terrarium sways, using it as a base layer may be preferable for hanging terrariums.

Small bits of bark or driftwood can give your terrarium a charmingly rustic appearance as a base or accent, but make sure the wood you pick is pest-free. We like to use orchid bark, which is available at Home Depot or Lowe’s. Use caution when utilizing logs or bark that you may find outside because they could contain insects or pests that could harm your plant.

Watering Terrariums and Plants:

  • If you water your plants while they are in your terrarium, too much moisture may become trapped amid the moss, rock, etc., leading to the rot of your plants.
  • Before putting the plants back in your terrarium, remove them, soak or mist them, and then make sure they are totally dry.
  • No water or moisture should be present in your terrarium or next to the Tillandsia.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer a kit that includes everything you need, look no further—we also carry those!

Check out these DIY terrarium kits, which include everything you need to build one.

Can air plants be housed in glass jars?

We frequently consider terrariums when we think of glass and air plants. And with good reason, too. Terrariums resemble enchanted miniature realms. Terrariums are not the healthiest setting for air plants, though. It’s possible for your plants to die in an environment with too much heat and condensation. The plants in your terrarium will eventually need to be changed, but I’m not saying you shouldn’t make one. Your plants will have a greater chance of survival the more air is allowed to circulate inside the terrarium.

Lush Terrarium

The first step in making a terrarium is to put some form of dry material in the bottom of the container. I have utilized preserved moss in this instance. Another popular option is sand or pebbles.

Next, create the atmosphere for your terrarium using branches, seashells, rocks, or other things.

Desert Terrarium

Another illustration is this mason jar, to which I’ve added monto clay and tilted it at an angle.

The red rock I’ve tucked into the mud next is a necessary component for creating the image of the southern Utah desert.

You are given the concept for building your own terrarium. Here are a couple more instances to spark your imagination.

Beyond the Terrarium

The kitchen is an excellent location to start when displaying air plants in glass. When it comes to showcasing air plants, anything from a glass cookie jar to a mason jar is fair game. Although transparent glass is excellent, don’t forget about colorful glass.

This melanocrater tricolor’s green foliage and the green glass of the dipping bowl go together beautifully. The plant receives support from river rock so that it won’t hide in the bowl. (Can you make out the budding leaf?)

Contrast this caput-medusae and the dried amaranth with the fasciculata above to keep things interesting.

This melanocrater tricolor in a square vase filled with light colored rock is another example of simplicity.

My great-grandmother gave me this pedestal sweets dish. The ionantha’s blush is highlighted by the red-tinted abdita, which matches the candy bowl. White sand is poured into the dish’s base to prevent the plants from becoming lost inside it.

Look Outside the Box

There are essentially no restrictions when it comes to air plant exhibition. These hummingbird feeders have been in my possession for a long. They were lovingly loaned to me by my daughter, who used them to display air plants in her fairy gardens.

This peach capitata, which gets its name from the fact that it takes on a faintly peach hue while in bloom, has a lovely, slender base that fits in the feeder.

Air plant vases made from rogue hummingbird feeders show that you can display them almost anyplace.

Your Turn

Look around your house for glass that you may use to showcase your air plants. Anything that is made of glass is especially fair target. An air plant show exposes everything to the risk of participation.

Does glass have to be used for air plants?

Tillandsia, often known as air plants, have grown more and more popular in recent years. The peculiarity of these tiny epiphytes intrigues us since it contradicts our understanding of the needs of conventional plants. Because of their mystique, air plants are wonderful gifts because producing stunning displays of them is so simple that anyone can do it. Unfortunately, they can also be rather simple to kill if they are not cultivated in the proper conditions. We will go over Tillandsia development patterns, general care instructions, how to create a Tillandsia terrarium, and the tools required for them to thrive in this article.

In order to properly care for Tillandsia, as with all air plants, we must be aware of how they develop. Tillandsia are epiphytes, which means they often coexist parasitically with other plants. They can be divided into two groups: mesic and xeric. In the American tropics, mesic species are frequently found high in the tree canopy, which tells us that they typically like brilliant indirect light, good airflow, regular rainfall, and roots designed for anchoring. Xeric varieties, on the other hand, flourish on rocky outcrops and exposed cliff slopes. These kinds of air plants also have roots designed for anchoring and require much less water, little direct sunlight, and lots of air movement. The trichomes that cover the leaves of the xeric kinds, which suck additional moisture from the air, set them apart from the mesic varieties. In contrast to the mesic air plants’ shinier greenish tint, they almost have the appearance of silver fur.

We may improve the environment for Tillandsia in our homes by being aware of the natural circumstances in which they flourish. I always advise maintaining Tillandsia in an open terrarium because they all thrive in humid environments. The secret is to produce an environment with better airflow and a relative humidity that is higher than that of our ordinary residences. A Tillandsia kept in a confined terrarium or under a cloche is bound to fail. So search for glass containers with large top openings or side holes.

A standard terrarium needs many layers, but an air plant terrarium really only needs one: the drainage layer, as was covered in a previous blog post. The drainage media can be made of nearly anything that won’t decay and has the purpose of preventing the plants from ever sitting in water. For decoration and to raise the humidity, you can also add some moss or lichen.

Finally, and maybe most critically, Tillandsia require the right amount of light. Many individuals attempt to maintain their air plants in too little light. In comparison to their natural surroundings, our dwellings are like caves. Keep them in an east or west facing window if at all possible. They may also be outside of or adjacent to a sunny south-facing window. With a few hours of direct daylight either in the morning or afternoon, the goal is to have bright indirect light throughout the day.

To sum up, the prerequisites for making a suitable habitat for Tillandsia are an open glass vessel, inert drainage media, possibly some attractive moss, and adequate lighting.

Most of the supplies needed to properly feed and water these tiny curiosities can be found around the house. Zenaida Sengo compares air plants to a kitchen sponge in her book Air Plants: The Curious World of Tillandsias to better explain how to hydrate them. You can water the sponge in a variety of ways, including routine drenching, frequent misting, and sporadic soaking. You don’t want the sponge to entirely dry out.

Every day or every other day, misting with a little spray bottle is recommended. You can dip a plant two to three times per week in a bowl of water, in a terrarium with a deep drainage layer, or under the sink in a colander. Once a week, take the plants out of their container and soak them in a bowl of water for 10 to 1 hour. Whatever method you use, make sure to shake off any water that has accumulated in the cup of the leaves to keep the plants from decaying. Keep in mind that xeric cultivars require less frequent watering.

Tillandsia, like all plants, require occasional feedings for optimum growth. I advise mixing a solution of kelp with a well-balanced water-soluble orchid food. Half a dose every couple of weeks or a full dose every month to three months are also acceptable feeding schedules.

You should be able to successfully develop these small wonders now that you have this fundamental understanding!

What is placed within a hanging terrarium?

You might be motivated to create your own hanging terrarium after perusing the ones on our product list! As long as you have the necessary materials and a step-by-step tutorial, putting together your own is rather simple.

You can choose from a variety of hanging terrarium designs, such as globe terrariums, glass terrariums, metal terrariums, and many more. Pick a plant that fits your “thumb” and your sense of style while you’re at it. As a decent “rule of thumb,” we advise succulents for individuals with “greener thumbs” and air plants for those with, well, less green thumbs!

To Make Your Hanging Terrarium, You’ll Need:

You may either purchase one at most craft stores or upcycle an existing glass globe, jar, or bowl to use as the container for your hanging terrarium. Additionally, you can choose from the containers on our list, place an online purchase for it, and have it delivered to your home. Just a thought.

Everything will be fine as long as it is big enough to hold your plants, hangable, and attractive enough to display.

Both are acceptable. The greatest option is always whatever you have lying around and can obtain for nothing. Just make sure to thoroughly rinse and dry it before incorporating.

Your plants will benefit from the water filtering action of activated charcoal when you use it to water your terrarium. Activated charcoal can be purchased online as well as in water or fish tank filters.

Some people omit this step, but we believe it’s quite crucial because it guards against hazardous germs and prevents root rot.

Your decision will depend on the contents of your terrarium. Below, we’ll go through each benefit in more detail.

There will be more information on this, but examples of this could include certain bromeliads, air plants, or other plants that do well in terrariums.

Due to their water needs, mixing succulents with other plants in a terrarium can be challenging. The majority of terrarium aficionados would advise creating a separate succulent terrarium from your other terrariums if you want to grow succulents.

A beautiful coating of moderately moistened sphagnum peat moss is also advised because it helps to limit bacterial growth.

Extras are what truly distinguish a terrarium as being special.

Use materials creatively, such as river rocks, moss, bark, minerals, shells, stones from the forest, flowers, etc. Anything you want to help your terrarium look nice and grow. Please feel free to forage in your yard once more. Unless you want to include something expensive, there’s no need to buy this item.

These are readily available at grocery, big-box, and craft stores. Your mister will be adored by your air plants!

A Step-by-Step Guide to a DIY Terrarium

Add the pebbles or sand.

Consider your vessels and decide how to best get the sand or pebbles inside them if you want to minimize the mess (of course you want!).

If the entrance is broad, use a cup or a little scooper. Use a funnel while navigating a challenging area. (If you don’t have one, making one is simple with poster board or cardboard from around the house.) Sand could be used, but if you do, make sure to thoroughly rinse it. The small plants in your terrarium that you’ll be taking care of don’t like salt.

Depending on the size of your terrarium, you’ll need a different amount, but you only need a thin layer—just enough to allow for adequate drainage.

incorporate charcoal

Keep the coating of charcoal as even as you can. Again, you don’t need a much; instead, distribute it evenly using a funnel or any other equipment that will make this process easier.

Include the soil

You won’t need a lot of soil to keep the roots of your plant secure and rooted because they already have a clump of earth protecting them. Use dirt designed for cacti or succulents if you’d like. According to some terrarium lovers, any well-draining potting soil would work just as well. Once more, it can’t hurt.

Include your focal plants

Plants should be arranged according to how you think they will look the best while also considering where they should be placed in the terrarium to meet their demands.

An air plant, for instance, can be placed wherever you wish since it doesn’t require planting in soil. It only requires air and the occasional misting. However, a bromeliad needs to settle at a location in the terrarium where it will receive the best moisture.

Give your larger plants lots of room; not only do they prefer it, but you’ll also be adding some other cool ornamental items.

In certain cases, it makes more sense to place your focal plants in the terrarium first, then fill the rest of the space with dirt. whichever suits you the most.

Add your further details

Sphagnum moss is a fantastic addition to a terrarium, as we have stated, and the time to introduce it is now. Use chopsticks or tweezers to place the smaller items if your terrarium’s aperture is small. For example, you may use small rocks, bark, twigs, or anything else to make your own private oasis.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Hanging Terrarium

Just make an effort to keep it out of direct sunlight for hanging terrariums, which only need moderate light.

Plants in terrariums only require misting roughly once each week. If you’d like, you can certainly buy a dedicated mister made just for spraying sensitive plants. However, a clean spray bottle will serve the same purpose.

Keep dead leaves and other vegetation off the terrarium floor and add fresh soil as needed to suit your plants’ growth (this won’t be frequently).

It’s time to hang your terrarium once it has been put together! Make sure it is properly hung in your home’s kitchen, sunroom, office, or another space of your choosing (ahem). If you wish to hang it from the ceiling or a wall, you should drill and use a swag hook (particularly if you don’t know where your studs are). On avoid having a terrarium that drops to the ground, be sure to weigh your terrarium and verify the maximum weight on your swag hooks.

Get Your Hands Dirty

Plant care is really therapeutic. You can benefit from the zen-like feelings that creating a hanging terrarium gives even if you have a “black thumb.”

Create some natural elements in your home and enjoy the satisfaction of raising live creatures that make your home more aesthetically pleasing and healthier. Happy gardening!