The Tillandsia Air PLant: Care tips

By: Christina Timm

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When air plants first started trending they looked fake having no root system at all. I thought to myself, is that thing even real. Some looked soft and hairy, others were different colors, some were small, and others were very large. Some even had a bright flower growing from the center, which had the appearance of looking fake. Little did I know at the time, a few years back, that these are most definitely real, living creatures.

With every new trend it can take some time to appreciate the beauty of something new and upcoming. All the qualities listed above that once I thought strange, are the very things that make air plants so unique and interesting. Let's be honest, a plant that survives with not soil whatsoever is very mysterious indeed! However, air plants have more depth than I first realized! Here is what I gathered being a parent to an air plant for some time.


About

Air plants are fascinating in many different ways. The most fascinating would have to be they can survive without soil. Being native to places like southern United States, Mexico, Central and South America they instead attach their roots to other surfaces like rocks, trees, and the ground to stabilize. There are more than 650 different types of Tillandsias, but here at Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery we carry about 5-6 different kinds. So, knowing that air plants survive without soil, how do we take care of them? You've come to the right place! Water, light, and air seem to be the most important elements to a healthy air plant. 

Water

 
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It is recommended that your air plant should be soaked once a week for 5-10 minutes in room temperature tap water. After soaking always let them air dry before placing them back in their home. They prefer to fully dry between soakings. If you have a drier climate it is recommended they be soaked 2-3 times a week.

Tip: If you find yourself having a busy week and there isn’t enough time to soak, at the very least mist your air plant using a spray bottle.


 

Light

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Place in a bright, filtered or indirect sunlit area.  Morning sun is ok, but they do not like a full sun window. Too much sun can cause the leaves to burn and turn brown.

Food

Just like any other plant, air plants get hungry too! For optimal plant care fertilize once a month by adding a bromeliad mix to the water during one of your regular soakings.


Air

Air plants do prefer air circulation, hence the name air plant. Being in an enclosed area increases moisture that the air plant does not prefer. Much like the succulent, it prefers to dry out between regular soakings.

Grooming

It is normal as your air plant grows and acclimates to its new environment that the lower leaves may dry out. Gently pull them right off. If you notice the tips drying out, you can snip them right off.

Tip: Trimming at an angle will help keep a more natural-looking appearance.

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 Tillandsia Capitata - Native to Mexico, Honduras, and Cuba.

Tillandsia Capitata - Native to Mexico, Honduras, and Cuba.

Varieties

At Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery we sell a variety of different Tillandsia species. These are the most common ones that grow on our shelves.

The Capitata (Top Left) is a beautiful color-changing air plant with striking red foliage.

The Juncea (Top Right) is one of the taller air plants that stretches its long, thin leaves upward.

 Tillandsia Juncea - Native to northern South America, Central America, and Mexico.

Tillandsia Juncea - Native to northern South America, Central America, and Mexico.

 Tillandsia Bulbosa - Native to Central America, the West Indies, and southern Mexico.

Tillandsia Bulbosa - Native to Central America, the West Indies, and southern Mexico.

The Bulbosa (Bottom Left) is a very curly variety that is the easiest to care for and does not require any soakings; only 2-3 mistings a week.

The Pseudobaileyi (Bottom Right) is another larger air plant with hues of dark green colors and soft leaves.

Overall Tip: Don't worry about harming your air plant... they will regrow!!

 Tillandsia Pseudobaileyi- Native to Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Tillandsia Pseudobaileyi- Native to Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Ways to Decorate your Home a New Air Plant

So, now we know how to take care of an air plant, but how do we incorporate them into our living space? Here are a few unique and simple ways to decorate any home. There are a few ways to create an air plant holder that are fun and makes it easy to access the plant. 

One Item: Two Holders

Hitting the local craft store I was able to find a jar and lid that fit my needs all in one to create two simple air plant holders. Using the lid I was able to glue a piece of fun-printed plastic to hold colored-glass and moss to support the air plant.  For the jar portion I used some natural cord creating a macrame holder, tying knots to support the glass. On the inside I layered sand, rocks, and moss to create a soft bed for the air plant. 

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It's time to Wash Away Winter!

By: Christina Timm

It may not feel like Spring outside, but living in Minnesota we must make do with what the weather throws at us. Just because we have snow on the ground and it’s mid-April doesn’t mean we must give in to winter holding on. There are still ways to add color to the inside of your home. Incorporating different elements like texture, height, and color can add a little spring color into your home.


Adding Texture

"Draw people in to get a closer Look!"

Texture is a fun element to play with, and when it comes to plants it seems like the options are endless, but knowing how to compose a balance between container and plant can sometimes be a challenge. The human eye is drawn to color, so it’s only human nature to want to match the container color with the flower color. However, instead of making the impact you thought it would it only washes out the beauty of the flower itself. Instead, try pulling from the color in the plant’s foliage. The Cyclamen is a very easy to care for plant with a unique marble-like design on its foliage. Pairing the silver tones in the foliage with a metal, soft-textured container we can highlight the unfitness of the plant without overshadowing it.

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Increasing Height

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"Reach for the sky when space is limited!"

It can be tricky to incorporate plants into small confined areas, but this doesn’t mean you must give up your dream of adding some greenery. Finding a plant with great vertical height might be all you need. The Calla Lily is great for an area with little space. This tall, slender plant adds a pop of color in red, orange, or pink, against bright green dagger-like foliage. Paired with an industrial-shaped container to complement its linear form, it’s ready to add some height for an indoor area with limited space. Add a blanket of moss to tie the look together, adding a soft finishing touch to an overall rigid composition.


Keeping it Modern

"Sleek and sophisticated with a pop of color!"

When we think of a modern living space we generally think geometric shapes, uniformity, and simple colors. So how do we combine this environment with mother nature’s greatest gift? Keep it simple, play with color, and find a pattern. The Asiatic Lily is a great plant to play with because of its stunning color and what better way to add a pop of color. The round shape and the pattern of the container screams contemporary, which will work well with any room tones. Playing with the linear lines of the plants stalks and the pattern on the container we create a balance between plant and container.

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Pop of Color

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"Let the container do the showing and the plant do the growing!"

Sometimes it can be challenging coming up with ways to add color to a living space without overwhelming the eyes. However, it can be done!  Take this container for instance: bold in orange color and stretching tall, it may seem intimidating. When paired with a solid green plant like this Schefflera, its shiny green, rounded edges softens the loud container complementing it well. Its long, beautiful leaves stretch over to completely conceal the container, hence its nickname, the Umbrella Tree.

How to make a Kokedama String Garden

By: Christina Timm

Materials Needed:

  • Peat Moss
  • Lynde Soil
  • Water
  • Sheet Moss
  • Wax-Coated String
  • Scissors
  • And of course, the plant of your choice

10 Easy Steps on how to create a Kokedama String Garden

Step 1: Pre-soak the moss and set aside. We’ll come back to it later

Step 2: Loosen and remove the soil from your plant of choice. 

Helpful Tip: Only remove what the roots will allow. You don’t need to remove all of the soil.

Step 3: Mix equal parts of peat moss, Lynde soil, and about a cup of water.

Step 4: Mix until soil is damp, but not muddy.

Step 5: Press soil into a ball form to create your garden, making sure it’s about the same size at the plant’s roots.

Step 6: Split the ball form in half, place the plant in the middle, and press soil around the root system. 

Helpful Tip: Make sure the soil covers all the roots. Be mindful that the soil rests at the base of the plant stem.

Step 7: Lay your moss out flat. 

Helpful Tip: Make sure the moss is not dripping wet. It helps to squeeze out the excess water before laying it out flat.

Step 8: Place your plant and ball form in the center of the moss. Start pressing the moss to the soil to create your garden. 

Helpful Tip: Continue to squeeze the shape to hold the moss to the soil.

Step 9: Wrap the wax-coated string around your garden and tie off the end. Continue to wrap the string until you think all the moss is secure. Cut the end with scissors and tie off the end.

Step 10: If you want to make a hanging Kokedama simply cut three equal length strings and tie off evenly around the garden.

A Kokedama String Garden is a Japanese method of gardening. It means a ball of soil that is covered in moss from which an ornamental plant can grow from.
 2. Loosen and remove soil

2. Loosen and remove soil

 4. Mix peat moss, Lynde soil, and water

4. Mix peat moss, Lynde soil, and water

 6. Split the ball form in half

6. Split the ball form in half

 7. Lay moss out flat

7. Lay moss out flat

 8. Press moss to the soil

8. Press moss to the soil

 9. Wrap the wax-coated string

9. Wrap the wax-coated string


And there you have it. A Kokedama String Garden made easy in 10 simple steps!

Think you might need help creating your very own Kokedama String Garden. Register for our class Friday, April 27th. Click here to register!

 Hanging Kokedama

Hanging Kokedama

 Standing Kokedama

Standing Kokedama

Six Ways to Make Your Backyard Garden a Wonderful Place for Bees

By: Clara Beaufort

Bees are one of the many - if not the greatest - gifts Mother Nature has given to humans. Scientists say that bees play a role in the pollination of up to 80% of the foods we eat every years. Without bees, the world would be a much different place. If you want to do your part to help protect your local bee populations, here's how to make your backyard garden a haven for bees.


Go Native

Most pollinators (bees included) are best adapted to love plants that are native to the area in which they live. Bees will still grab pollen and nectar from non-native species, but if you really want to attract the masses, be sure to lean heavily on the natives - especially wildflowers.  Before planting, do some research to find out which flowers are native to your particular area.

 Bee Balm

Bee Balm

 

Plant A Variety

As The Spruce points out, North America’s more than 4,000 bee species are quite different. These bees are different sizes, attracted to different plants, and have different tongue shapes (affecting how they draw nectar). So if you want to cater to as many bees possible, you’ll plant a variety of flowers. Most bees are more likely to prefer single-layer flowers as opposed to double-layer, however, as they are easier to access for nearly all species.

 

 Joe-Pye Weed

Joe-Pye Weed

Stagger Your Blooms

If you plant flowers that all bloom at the exact same time, you’re only going to attract bees during that short window. That’s why it’s important to know exactly when the plants in your garden bloom and how long they bloom so you can be sure to have at least some flowers in full-bloom from spring through fall. Here’s a handy “blooms when” calendar to utilize.

 

 Gaillardia

Gaillardia

Don't Forget About Habitat

While worrying about attracting bees with flowers and planting things they’ll love, you may forget that your backyard garden should not only be a stopover place for nectar and pollen collection, but also a place where bees can live. The majority of bees are in fact nesting varieties, and many like to burrow into the ground. By leaving some garden space unplanted and avoiding using ground coverings, you can give these species of bees a place to live. Others prefer wood and brush, so leaving a portion of your garden unkempt can also help.

 

Cluster Plants of the Same Type

 Echinacea 'Lemon Drop'

Echinacea 'Lemon Drop'

If you want to create a place where it’s easy for bees to extract their goods, you should plant clusters of the same plants instead of spreading them out across your whole garden. If you don’t have a lot of space to work with anyway, this can actually be of benefit, as tightly-grouped plants provide a more welcoming habitat for bees.

 

Give the Bees Easy Access to Water

Don’t forget about the water! Like birds, bees will be attracted to a water bath placed in your yard. Your birdbath cannot double for a bee bath, however, as the two animals need different things in a water source. Bees prefer shallow, wide water sources that contain rocks, pebbles, and sticks that make it easier to land and drink (bees aren’t really “hover drinkers”). Here’s a good resource on building a bee bath.

 Gaillardia

Gaillardia

By helping out local bee populations, you’re not only helping your own community and helping to pollinate your own garden, you’re also doing your part to help fight a global bee depopulation crisis. Not all gardens are created equal - at least when bees are concerned. There are proven ways to make yours more attractive if you take the time to cater to their specific needs.