Sometimes names of the plants say nothing, but it’s more than eloquent the case of air plants! This type of plant needs air more than anything. They do not need to be planted in the soil as they take all the nutrients and water from the air. However, they are not as simple as they seem: let’s discover all the details worth attention!
What are air plants?
Air plants are also known as Tillandsias. We bet you have seen them on Pinterest or Instagram - they have become such a trend lately. Tillandsias have long and narrow leaves that grow in a rosette pattern. The foliage color can vary from green to red, yellow, delicate pink, and even silver.
This genus is not like other plants: their uniqueness lies in the fact that they don’t need soil to grow. It’s because they are a variety of epiphytes, which have fantastic adaptability and get nutrition from a lot of other sources; for example, they absorb water through scales on their leaves.
There are a lot of varieties, and it’s impossible to identify all of them
It’s hard not to notice a bunch of lists like ‘twenty-something types of the most beautiful air plants,’ and well, they exist because there are more than 550 Tillandsia varieties! And the trickiest part of identifying the type of air plant you have bought is that air plant breeders mix the types so often that it becomes a challenge to find two air plants that look entirely similar!
And that’s not all; the climate is another factor that influences the appearance of these plants as two types of the same variety will look completely different if they grow in different places. Ryan Lesseing, co-owner of ‘Air Plant Design Studio,’ notes that the same plant from California and Florida will look nothing alike.
Not only pretty but easy to care
But don’t get it twisted; they still require some care. Buying these plants solely for aesthetic purposes and treating them as decorative objects is one of the common mistakes. With such ‘care,’ even the least picky plant will die.
For keeping this plant alive and kicking, you shouldn’t forget about watering. First of all, pay attention to humidity in your apartment. If the air is dry water plants more often, but in a more humid space, there is no need to water it more than every ten days. While watering a plant without soil might seem tricky, it’s actually almost effortless. Just bathe Tillandsias in water for several hours. However, be careful: after they soak, the plants need to dry out fully.
From time to time, air plants need something more than just water, air, and sun, and this is fertilizer, which you can add to the water. For air plants, choose low-nitrogen fertilizers because they can encourage offset production and blooming, but don’t overdo it! Use fertilizer once a month; if you do it more often, you can destroy the plant.
Light is another important thing for air plants. Since they are from the Bromeliaceae family, they need sun and warmth because these plants are native to places like South America or West Africa. To be more specific, they prefer bright indirect light, so we recommend you place your plant on the south window.
Where to place?
Air plants can grow literally everywhere! They can be placed on other plants, bushes, rocks, vintage picture frames, pottery, and even seashells. However, avoid copper objects and treated wood because they can harm the plant. Also, it’s important to note that popular glass florariums are not so great for air plants. Of course, they are not as harmful as copper mentioned above; however, even the name of the plant hints that it needs air. Put in glass, Tillandsia might get not enough of it. Choosing a florarium with a wide hole solves this issue: the plant will get normal air circulation, and you will be pleased with the aesthetics of the glass container.