Air plants are one of nature’s many wonders and by far one of the most unusual plant species. We will discuss what they are, how to best care for them, how to display them, and our top three favorites in this journal.
A Brief Overview
Tillandsia, the Latin word for air plants, are indigenous to South and Central America’s mountains, deserts, and woods, and certain varieties can even be found in the southern United States. Air plants grow on and around trees because they are epiphytic, but they are not parasitic. Instead, they absorb nutrients from the air and sporadic rainfall through their leaves. Their leaves have layers of trichomes, which are small, hair-like structures that are silver in color and help the plants easily absorb water. Unexpectedly, the tiny roots that air plants have serve to hold the plant to a surface rather than to absorb nutrition. It’s normal practice to trim the roots off of plants before bringing them indoors for a cleaner appearance.
Air plants have a predictable life cycle, in contrast to many other tropical indoor plants. Years after reaching maturity, the air plant will blossom, with the majority of the blooms featuring extremely strong violets, pinks, reds, and oranges. After they have blossomed, the mother air plant will gradually start to generate offshoots known as “pups.” You can carefully remove these pups, which will grow into new, healthy air plants once they are roughly one-third the size of the mother plant. Following this stage, the mother plant will gradually start to die, leaving behind a sizable number of baby air plants, and the cycle will then begin again.
You can be sure that air plants don’t require (or even particularly appreciate) that kind of harsh, direct sunlight, despite the fact that some of them may resemble succulents, cacti, and other light-loving plants in appearance. Since air plants typically grow around the shady canopies of trees in their natural habitat, they enjoy bright indirect light when housed indoors [find out more about lighting here].
Contrary to popular belief, air plants do need water to survive and can’t thrive on air alone.
Once a week, immerse your air plant in water for about an hour. After giving the air plant its weekly wash, gently shake it out to get rid of any extra water that may have gotten between its leaves. Before returning your air plant to its normal position, turn it upside down for a couple of hours to let any remaining water drain from the plant. By doing this, your air plant’s risk of developing rot is significantly reduced. Your air plant will have a longer, happier life if you follow these maintenance advice.
Ways to Display
Because air plants don’t require soil (i.e., a container) to survive, one of its most intriguing characteristics is that they may be placed almost anyplace. They can be displayed in a transparent glass container with pea gravel to support them or left alone on a desk or countertop to give off a more natural appearance. There are countless options.
This tiny T. tectorum specimen resembles a fuzzy snowball. Because of the abundance of its silvery trichomes, it can tolerate extreme heat and drought.
T. xerogrpahica: These air plants, sometimes known as the queen of the air plants, can grow to be quite large. They form a rosette and have long, silvery-green leaves that spiral around one another.
T. streptophylla: This air plant, which is bulbous and has ringlet-like leaves, curls more tightly the longer it goes without water.
I hope this post has helped you learn a little bit more about air plants. They are wonderful plants that everyone ought to use. Please feel free to ask any more questions regarding them in the section below.
Which air plants are the best?
Most Popular Air Plants in the Top 10
- Xerographica. This huge, slowly growing plant, which also grows naturally in Guatemala, Mexico, and El Salvador, is a favorite among gardeners.
- Ionantha. The T. rex is one of the most well-liked air plants for terrarium design.
- Bulbosa (Belize and Guatemala)
- Mediocre Medusa.
What air plant has the fastest rate of growth?
They come in a huge range of color combinations in addition to different sizes. You can find pastel green plants and other bright types that feature fiery reds, pinks and purples. There are two primary types of air plants, xeric and mesic, as was already mentioned. Fuzzy texture and subdued silver and green color tones define xeric air plants. The texture and color of mesic air plants are smoother and more vibrant. Discover some of the most well-liked air plant varieties by reading on.
Tillandsia cyanea (Pink Quill)
The distinctive bright pink feather-like flower that gives the pink quill air plant its name. The pink quill plant’s ability to grow in soil and perform as well when grown in soil or in the air is another element that sets it apart from other plants. Flowers will periodically blossom on the gorgeous pink quill, but they will only survive a few days, and the quill can only hold two flowers at once.
Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish Moss)
Spanish moss has a lengthy, stringy texture that makes it stand out from the other types of air plant variations. The plant creates a beautiful ethereal image when draped over tree branches in its natural habitat. Spanish moss is not really Spanish. French explorers gave it the moniker because they felt it resembled the beard of a Spanish Conquistador.
The bulbous roots of the bulbosa stand in stark contrast to its spindly bracts. This plant creates a symbiotic relationship with ants when growing outside. The plant consumes the ant waste while the ants find refuge in the bulbs. An added benefit is that this type thrives in dim lighting. The disadvantage of Tillandsia bulbosoa is that if it is not properly dried after watering, water can easily become trapped in the base and cause root rot.
Tillandsia aeranthos bergeri
Every spring, this cultivar blooms, displaying lovely pink and purple flowers. When compared to other types, Tillandsia aeranthos bergeri produces pups far more quickly, making it a fantastic choice for someone who enjoys plant propagation. In comparison to other Tillandsia houseplant kinds, it is also a larger variety of air plant; they can reach heights of roughly six to nine inches.
How can I tell whether the air plant I have is real?
Unique and hassle-free indoor plants, air plants (Tillandsia) add significant visual charm to your home. These unique plants come in a variety of sizes, have health benefits for your home during the photosynthesis process, and need very little upkeep from you, which appeals to busy professionals. How can you know whether your air plant is healthy considering that they require less maintenance than other plants?
Hydration of the plant is essential to avoid underwatering and determine the health of your air plant. To determine whether the plant is getting too much or not enough moisture, regularly look for discolored leaves or dry or wet rot. An air plant is in good health if it blooms and produces fluff.
There are numerous techniques to determine whether your air plant is healthy, and the majority of them only require a visual examination. They could quickly get ill by doing some unexpected activities. Continue reading to learn more about 11 quick ways to assess the general health of your air plant.
How long does an air plant live?
Perennial plants are tillandsias, also referred to as air plants. According to the source, they have a lifespan of between two and five years, which indicates that they normally survive longer than two years.
The type of air plant and the growing conditions have an impact on how long they live, though. They reside in deserts, on various surfaces, and on tree branches in their natural habitat (other surfaces they can grow on).
Air plants only experience one flowering during their existence, which marks the culmination of their development and maturity.
Depending on the species, the flowers might remain in bloom for a number of months. However, the air plant will begin to die when the blossoms start to wilt and fade. Air plants develop pups or offsets before they die to carry on the same growth cycle.
Despite the mother plant dying, you can take the pups out and raise them separately. Separating the pups from the mother is referred to as “division is a method of air plant propagation.
Alternatively, you can leave those puppies together, so they form a cluster or clump (also known as “tillandsia balls) (also known as “tillandsia balls).
Which air plant is the most beautiful?
You must already be aware that because air plants are epiphytes, they may grow without soil. And if that wasn’t intriguing enough, these plants are even more remarkable because their roots are hidden! But hold on, read about some of the greatest Types of Air Plants on this list before you buy some of them.
One of the most well-known types of air plants, it is also referred to as the sky plant. During its final days of life, it produces vivid blossoms, and the glossy, greenish-silver leaves adds to its beauty. It thrives in a tropical climate and has short stems because it is a bromeliad.
What kind of air plant is the simplest to grow?
- Harris’s Tillandsia
- Caput-Medusa Tillandsia
- The Tillandsia ionantha
- fuchsii Tillandsia
- Tectorum-type Tillandsia
- Streptophylla Tillandsia
- Tillandsia aerophylla
- Capital Tillandsia
- Tillandsia spp.
- Byzantium butzii
- Twig-leaved Tillandsia
#1: Tillandsia harrisii
The air plant Tillandsia harrisii has rosette-shaped leaves that are soft and fuzzy and have a silvery color. You shouldn’t have any trouble locating them for sale, like here, as they are generally accessible. This fuzzy air plant is a member of the xeric group, which originates from hotter regions of the earth.
This would imply that T. harrisii doesn’t require a lot of watering and can survive if you neglect it occasionally. For newcomers and busy individuals, that is excellent news. Your plant needs watering if you notice that it’s less fuzzy and seems dry.
Additionally, because T. harrisii prefers bright light, you can place it close to a window or ledge where it will receive indirect light the majority of the day and bright, unfiltered light in the morning and afternoon. Use fluorescent lights similar to these in a workplace or throughout the winter (that applies for all air plants).
Can I water my air plants with tap water?
I wanted to go into more detail about this because our Facebook Page gets a lot of questions about how to water air plants. Although tillandsia, often known as air plants, are simpler to maintain than many other plant species, they still need some care and attention, and water is crucial to their general well-being. Here are some frequently asked questions about watering air plants along with our suggestions:
This mostly relies on your climate, where you’re keeping the air plants, the Tillandsia species itself, and the environment in which it naturally grows (learn more about mesic vs. xeric air plants here). Since most of the year is humid where we live in Tampa, Florida, we don’t run the heat in our home as often as our friends in the north do (I’m not trying to pick on them, I swear!). We typically water our plants twice a week, but drier climates require more frequent watering. Depending on the season, you may discover that you need to water your plants less. Additionally, it depends on where you put them at your house or office. The plants will stay more wet in a humid bathroom, but you’ll probably need to water them more frequently if they’re close to an air vent or a heat source. (Note: We don’t advise keeping your plants close to heat sources.)
It should be noted that while humidity might slow down drying, it in and of itself is insufficient for watering.
Again, you should modify your watering practices according to your climate and the species of your air plants, but for the majority of air plants and surroundings, we advise that you immerse your plants in water at least once a week. Use something that allows you to totally submerge the air plants, like a bowl, bucket, or your sink. Give them a lengthier bath for an hour or more every other week if you live in a dry area. Soak for 30 to 60 minutes at least once a week. You might wish to shorten the soaks if you reside in a location with higher humidity or if your air plant is more xeric in nature.
You should allow the air plants to completely dry after soaking. They can either be let to dry with their leaves facing down or turned over and gently shaken. If water is allowed to sit in the leaves, the plants risk rotting. The plants should be placed in an area with sufficient airflow, and they should be able to dry entirely in less than four hours. Before bringing your plants back home, ensure sure they are entirely dry if they are in a globe or terrarium.
You will observe how open and wide the leaves are after soaking your plants, as well as how much more “happy” they seem. A well hydrated air plant should appear like this! You’ll learn over time that if the color starts to look a little dull and the leaves start to close or curl, your tillandsia are thirsty and you should give them another nice wash. Try soaking your air plant for several hours or even overnight if it is really struggling to see if you can rehydrate the plant. Always allow them to totally dry off before soaking or spraying them once more.
Between waterings, you can spray the plants. If you live in a dry region, this might be a terrific method to keep plants healthy and offer them some additional care. However, unless you have one of the few species of air plants that appreciate low moisture, such as T. tectorum (for which we only advocate misting) or T. xerographica, misting is not a replacement for a thorough soak (which we recommend dunking instead of soaking).
When it comes to water, air plants aren’t particularly finicky; most tap water is suitable, although it depends on the water quality in your location. The most nutrient-rich types of water to utilize are rainwater, aquarium water, or pond water. If utilizing one of these types of water, don’t add any more fertilizer. Allow the water to rest for several hours to allow the chlorine to dissolve if you’re using tap water (maybe 24 hours in some areas.)
Use water that is not distilled since it is too “pure” and will deprive the plants of the nutrients they require. Additionally, artificially softened water should not be used since Tillandsia cannot tolerate its high salt concentration.
We advise soaking your air plants in the morning so that they can dry completely over the day. Additionally, air plants utilize the nighttime hours to breathe carbon dioxide, so if they are wet in the evenings, they won’t be able to do so effectively. This method is known as CAM; to learn more about CAM, read our page on how air plants breathe. You can check on them before you go to night and place them back in their terrariums or displays. Some indirect sunlight will help them dry more rapidly.
These are the queries about watering air plants that we encounter the most frequently. Did we respond to yours? If not, just inquire! Need advice on caring for air plants? Visit our page on air plant care.
Regarding watering the plants with blooms, I have a query. How do you water them if, as I understand it, you don’t moisten the bottoms or the blooms? Do you bring all of your indoor air plants inside during the winter? Although it doesn’t get very cold very often where I reside in Largo, Florida, it does occasionally. Since we don’t have snow, I believe the wind to be the main issue with the cold. Please lend me any assistance you can.
I recently purchased an aquarium, and in order to ensure that my three air plants receive continuous moisture in the office, I planned to tie them to a branch and let them sit on top of the tank. Do I still need to sprinkle and soak them as usual if the water that has evaporated from the tank should be plenty for them to receive?
Our well water passes through a water softener, which I should have mentioned in my previous query. They would be set up here if they could only survive on smoke.
Since we live in north-eastern Washington, rain has not been an option for us. Instead, we use well water, which I won’t even drink. I use spring water to water my air plants because I purchase it and drink it. I haven’t had them long, but they seem to be doing fine. Is using spring water for irrigation problematic?
Due to hydration issues, I do not advise attaching air plants to driftwood. In retrospect, it sounds apparent, but I was new to air plants and lost five of my six because the wood kept too much water when I first gave them a soak.