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 no 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 With 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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