Where To Buy Air Plants In Florida

Strange little plants are the tillandsia. They don’t have stalks, roots, or even leaves that even remotely resemble leaves. Oh, and they don’t live in the earth and don’t need any soil at all. Additionally, they are connected to pineapples.

The southern US, the Caribbean, and South and Central America are home to more than 500 distinct species of Tillandsia. In the Tampa Bay region, five species are present, but only two are frequently encountered. Botanists refer to Tillandsia recurvata as “Ball Moss” and Tillandsia usneoides as “Spanish Moss” respectively. The familiar Spanish moss forms loose, dangling clumps that drape over tree branches like a greenish waterfall, whereas Ball moss (more commonly known by its common name, Ball moss) forms tight, dangling clumps that drape over tree branches like a greenish waterfall “(Air plants) often grow along twigs and small branches like beads on a necklace and take the shape of loose globular balls ranging in size from golf ball to softball.

The air plants don’t grow in the earth, as their name suggests. Instead, they develop perched on the twigs and branches of other plants, growing suspended in the air. However, in the South, they can be seen on almost any elevated surface where they can locate the microhabitat they prefer—shaded places with humid air. They are most frequently observed on the shaded inner branches of the common live oak tree. Tillandsia aren’t parasites; their scientific name is “Epiphytes only need their host plant as a support to keep them in place off the ground; they do not consume any nutrients or water from it (which can easily be verified by the fact that air plants often grow on long-dead wood like fences or telephone poles, or even on inorganic supports like utility wires or barbed-wire fences). The Tillandsia prefer to colonize shady bare branches that are already dead or dying, contrary to the popular misconception that air plants will harm the tree branches on which they get established. They cause absolutely no damage to their host plants.

The Tillandsia, despite their botanical name “Ball mosses are perennial flowering plants in the Bromeliad family, which are closely related to pineapples. They are not true mosses. The leaves are formed something like long conical tentacles, and are usually a silvery-grey tint and look as though they are coated with powdered scales (these scales are called as “trichomes, and they help the plant collect water and nutrients from the air) (these scales are known as “trichomes, and they help the plant absorb water and nutrients from the air). The blooms, which resemble tiny blue spikes at the end of a projecting stalk, can bloom all year long. They are followed by club-shaped greenish-brown seed capsules. The wind disperses the ripe seeds, each carried away on a tuft of fibers that resemble hair, until it lands on a suitable tree branch and starts to grow. It uses minute tendrils that resemble roots to anchor itself to the tree until the long tubes of leaves can wrap around and hold it in place. Each fragment of a ball that is ripped apart will develop into a new air plant.

As with all green plants, the leaves perform photosynthesis, which provides the plant with food. They are also designed to quickly absorb any moisture, whether it comes in the form of rain, fog, dew, or runoff. The plants become dormant and store water inside their leaves during the dry season. Tillandsia are accustomed to very low levels of nutrients due to the lack of roots and soil; they obtain all the minerals they require from rainwater and the organic dust and dirt that accumulates onto the leaves. However, a sudden big dosage of nutrients can actually poison the plant and cause it to die. They are hence very slow growth. Additionally, tillandsia employ bacteria found in their trichome scales to draw nitrogen from the air and convert it into nitrates, which can be used as fertilizer by plants (something very few plants can do). As a result, the decaying remains of dead Tillandsia that eventually fall to the ground and feed other plants by adding nitrogen to the soil.

The commercial houseplant trade uses air plants frequently, and they are frequently used as decorative accents on pieces of driftwood or rock since they are small, aesthetically pleasing, hardy, and little maintenance. They are frequently used as ornamental, slow-growing plants for terrestrial terrariums. They only require a little bit of light and a sprinkle of rain every few days.

Are air plants present in Florida?

Tillandsia plants are epiphytes, which means they cling to other plants or structures, and are members of the bromeliad family. Unfamiliar people occasionally worry that epiphytes harm the plants they grow on. Contrary to mistletoe, a plant parasite, epiphytes do cling to plants but do not harm them. Since they only receive nutrients from the atmosphere, “air” plants derive their popular name.

The majority of Tillandsia species have thin, rigid, scale-covered leaves that frequently have a fuzzy, gray-green look. They often have little flowers that are under two inches in size.

Air plants can grow on or in a number of fascinating and inventive surfaces because they tie themselves to something other than dirt. In glass globes that are strung from ribbon or fishing lines, some individuals enjoy to grow air plants. Additionally, you can affix air plants to shells, bits of cork, bark, or lay them in a shallow dish on a bed of dry pebbles. Your imagination is your only constraint.

Since the care for various species will be similar, choosing the ideal Tillandsia plant for your indoor environment is more about choosing one that has the appearance you like. Make sure the Tillandsia species you choose is appropriate for your USDA hardiness zone if you intend to grow them outside. One of the natural species is a good place to start, but exercise caution when buying.

The spread of the invasive Mexican bromeliad weevil as well as human development and collection pose threats to Florida’s bromeliads, particularly Tillandsia. You may assist by becoming more knowledgeable about the bromeliad weevil and by avoiding ever collecting wild air plants.

There are still many air plants to be found in the wild. Both ball moss (Tillandsia recurvate) and Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) are extremely abundant. Other typical Florida species are Bartram’s air plant, broad needleleaf (T. simulata), and southern needleleaf (T. setacea) (T. bartramii).

The area provides habitat for eight species of protected plants and 15 species of protected animals.

Live oaks and sabal palms soar in the sky. The trails are lined with wild coffee, wax myrtle, and saw palmetto. Various fern species, the snowy orchid, and enormous air plants are among the flora that are protected.

The royal fern, cinnamon fern, and huge leather fern are common in the hydric hammock. These three protected plants were all used for profit.

In the interior of the hydric hammock, along oxbows and solitary wetlands, the giant leather fern can be found growing along the banks of the South Fork of the St. Lucie River.

Cinnamon and royal ferns are frequently found in dense stands beneath a closed canopy in certain regions of the hydric hammock.

The preserve’s moist flatwoods and other wet habitats are home to the snowy orchid, a terrestrial species. The snowy orchid has an endangered status according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The most prevalent bromeliads in the hydric hammock are common wild pine and enormous air plants. Due to the overexploitation of these two air plants by collectors and others, state lands now safeguard them.

Gopher tortoises live in habitats on uplands and consume a variety of plants. They create deep holes to hide in. They coexist in this burrow with more than 350 other species as a keystone species.

The gopher tortoise is considered endangered in Florida. State legislation protects both the tortoise and its burrow.

The South Fork of the St. Lucie River and the major canals in the preserve, most notably the Seawind Canal, are where you can find American alligators most frequently. During times of typical rain, alligators can also be seen in adjacent marshes within the preserve.

Due to the low boat traffic in the winter, the endangered Florida manatee can find safety here.

Atlantic Ridge Preserve is home to a number of protected birds. Be on the lookout for sandhill cranes hunting for food or bald eagles swooping overhead. Also keep an eye out for wood storks, white ibis, herons, and egrets. Swallow-tailed kites soar over the forest canopy in the summer.

Are the air plants in Florida in danger?

I recently saw an air plant growing in my Florida holly. The Spanish moss appears to be where it all originated. What do you think this plant is? It currently has a sizable shoot that is moving toward the holly’s top. Is that a stem of a flower? Do you want to keep it?

A: Bob’s air plant, like the majority of so-called air plants, is a bromeliad. This one is a native species known as spreading airplant, gigantic airplant, or giant wild pine. It is Tillandsia utriculata, and to the gardener and scientist, it is absolutely worth retaining.

Native to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, this lovely bromeliad’s distribution extends from southern Georgia through Florida. It is the biggest bromeliad found in Florida, and because the invasive Mexican bromeliad weevil feeds on it, it is considered endangered.

How old are air plants on average?

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 grow them separately. Separating the pups from the mother is referred to as “division is a method of air plant propagation.

As an alternative, you might leave those puppies grouped together ” (also known as “tillandsia balls).

How should a skeleton air plant from Trader Joe’s be cared for?

For a maximum life span, air plants should be kept in bright, indirect sunshine and be given a good soak in water every two weeks. Due to their modest size and mostly dirt-free nature, these plants are also suitable for compact spaces.

How should a Trader Joe’s skeleton plant be cared for?

A tiny green plant that is very simple to maintain is perched on the yogi’s head. According to Friend-Daniel, the plant is known as Tillandsia ionantha and just needs a little maintenance, making it the ideal ornament for people of all ages.

Simply spritz the plant once a week, or immerse it in water for an hour every two weeks. Additionally, Trader Joe’s advises keeping your yogi away from air conditioners and heater vents and placing it in an area that will receive at least eight hours of artificial light per day or in medium to brilliant indirect sunshine.

How should air plants be chosen?

Choosing a healthy Tillandsia, sometimes referred to as an air plant, is quite similar to choosing any other type of plant.

Air plants don’t use their roots to obtain nutrients or water, contrary to the general rule that you should choose a plant with a strong root system. It doesn’t matter if an air plant has roots or not; you shouldn’t be concerned.


You can typically get a sense of the overall health of the plants when you visit a nursery. There shouldn’t be any weeds, the area should look green, and each plant should have few imperfections.


There are many distinct kinds of foliage seen on air plants. Some are bright and smooth while others may have a velvety texture. Some are green while others are more silvery green.

a few illustrations of sound air plants showing the variations between them.

Avoid any plants with yellowing or browning leaves, as well as those whose edges appear dry.

When you give the leaves a small squeeze, do they feel flexible but firm, or do they crunch? The plants should look bushy and uniform, with well-filled-out leaves that are spaced fairly evenly.

Dyes and Paints:

In an effort to increase their appeal to consumers, some people add paint and/or dye to the leaves of air plants.

We would advise you to stay away from artificially colored plants because we don’t know how hazardous these dyes and paints are.

Additionally, the paints and dyes have the potential to obstruct sunlight from reaching the leaves, which would stop photosynthesis.

Asking the shopkeeper whether the plants have been “artificially boosted” may or may not reveal the truth. The plant below is a good illustration of what not to purchase; we noticed it at a garden center operated by a major store. The following arrangement is tragic and not even close to being worth $24.98.

Before you visit the nursery, it’s a wonderful idea to become familiar with the plant you want so that you are aware of its actual color, shape, and size.

The use of a smartphone to look it up while examining the plant is quite beneficial.

Where can air plants thrive?

All air plants are native to tropical regions where freezing temperatures never occur. It’s crucial to keep them at a reasonable temperature without a sweater, right? typically from the 1960s or earlier. Keep them away from windows that are cold in the winter and air conditioner vents.

At least a few hours of bright, indirect sun each day are necessary for air plants to thrive. The optimal placement is between one and three feet from an east or west-facing window, or around two feet from a source of artificial light. They can be exposed to hotter, more direct sun for longer periods of time if you maintain them well-hydrated. Avoid areas that are poorly lit.