Tillandsia, commonly referred to as air plants, is the largest genus in the bromeliad family. They are found from jungle to rain forest to arid desert environments and from sea level to high mountain regions. Air plants are a hot trend right now for people who want a plant to enjoy in their indoor space, or office – and they also make great gifts. Not only are the plants themselves unusual and interesting, but you can use your imagination to mount these plants creatively, or place in a container.
Air plants can be found naturally in many different regions and climates, but they also make a great indoor plant because they grow without soil and do not require a lot of maintenance. However, while these are generally low-maintenance plants, there are certain rules to follow in order for your air plant to survive.
Tip 1: Ensuring your air plant receives adequate watering is the number one priority. When you notice the plant’s foliage begins to curl, it’s time to water. Typically, you’ll need to water your air plant once or twice a week which means submerging the plant in a bowl of water for a up to 15 minutes – the plant will only absorb the water it needs to survive. After watering, gently shake the plant to remove excess water and avoid rotting. *Pro tip: avoid using softened water due to the high salt level; instead use collected rain water or bottled water. Do not mist air plants as it does not provide enough moisture for the plant to survive and can actually kill the plant if water collects where the leaves emerge.
Tip 2: These plants also require a good amount of filtered sunlight, so place them near an east-, south-, or west-facing window. And while they can withstand near freezing temperatures, they prefer temperatures in the 70’s F. While many gardeners like to place these plants in a bathroom to take advantage of the humidity, it is more important that the plants get the appropriate amount of sunlight on a regular basis.
Tip 3: You can also fertilize air plants using a good liquid or water-soluble fertilizer for epiphytes, bromeliads or specifically for air plants. The fertilizers are rich in nitrogen and deliver it in a form that can be absorbed by the plant. Avoid fertilizers that have high amounts of copper, as it is toxic to bromeliads and only use the directed amount as too much fertilizer can burn air plants. Fertilization is not absolutely necessary for survival, but will increase growth and vigor of your plants and their blooms.
Tip 4: The possibilities of mounting medias for your air plants are nearly endless. Some suggestions that tend to work well are grapewood, driftwood, tree limbs, Manzanita burl, cork, clay pottery, rock or stones of any kind. Make sure the media you select does not hold water. If your media does hold water, you may be able to drill a hole through the bottom, but make sure you go all the way through and provide proper drainage. There are several different adhesives that can be used to secure your plant to the media such as Liquid Nails, low temp hot glue or E6000 glue. We recommend E6000 because it is colorless, extremely strong, water-proof and, most importantly, non-toxic to plants.