Air plants (also called Tillandsia) are one of the cutest and easiest plants to maintain indoors. These unique little beauties do not require soil to grow (which is the reason for their name), and they will thrive in a variety of conditions. Unlike most plants which absorb nutrients from the soil with their roots, air plants obtain their nutrition through tiny scales on their leaves called trichomes. In their natural tropical habitat, air plants are epiphytes, which means that they grow on the surfaces of rocks or trees and capture their moisture and nutrients from their surrounding environment, such as the air, water, and/or substrate on which they grow.
Air plants are available in many different sizes, colors, and textures. They will thrive in a variety of settings, including homes and offices, and are great little houseplants for beginners and professionals alike! They are not difficult to care for, and you will enjoy guaranteed success with growing your air plants by following these little tips for their care:
Light: Air plants will thrive in bright, filtered indirect sunlight. Those which have larger, silver-colored scales can tolerate more sunlight, whereas smaller, greener air plants may need more shade. Air plants in general will appreciate some protection from direct sunlight to prevent burning and drying out.
Air: The air is a very important consideration when caring for your air plants! Place your plants in a location where they will receive plenty of good air circulation. When displaying your plants, avoid completely enclosed containers, as these will promote excess humidity and your little plants may rot. Containers with openings, such as a dish, terrarium, or hanging globe provide excellent homes so long as your plants have adequate exposure to clean airflow. Be sure to allow your air plants to dry out completely after watering before placing them back in their homes!
Water: Air plants respond well to weekly watering in most cases. To water your air plants, soak them upside down in a bowl of lukewarm water for 10-20 minutes. Do not allow them to soak for prolonged periods of time, and make sure that they dry out thoroughly within several hours of watering to prevent rotting. After soaking, hold your air plants upside down and gently tap them with a finger to shed excess water droplets before laying them out to dry. Plants in drier environments (such as near a heating or cooling vent) may require more frequent watering to keep them happy and healthy. If your air plants’ leaves begin to curl inward and feel crispy to the touch, they need more water. Thriving air plants feature leaves which curl upward and out.
Temperature: Air plants are tropical plants and cannot survive in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They will thrive in household temperatures year-round within the 50-90 degree range!
Fertilizer: Add a very small amount of bromeliad fertilizer in the water about once a month when you soak your air plants. They will thank you for the extra nutrients!
You may see small roots at the bases of some air plants. These serve to anchor the plants in their environment, but they do not absorb moisture or nutrients. Feel free to trim them from your air plants if you desire.
Air plants are often displayed hanging from wires, twine, or ribbon, or set out in pretty dishes among pebbles and rocks. Hanging glass globes are also popular homes. The options are truly endless with these unique and easy little houseplants! Stop by Village Green to choose an air plant from our large variety!