Air plants are aesthetically pleasing, and many people love them because they are affable. Moreover, air plants are easy to maintain since you do not have to water them regularly. In addition, these plants do not need replanting or repotting every two years. This article brings out the different air plants and highlights the ideal air plants for beginners.
What are Air Plants?
Air plants, also known as Tillandsia, grow in the air, living and flourishing without soil. These plants soak nutrients and moisture using their leaves rather than their roots. Air plants’ roots are used only for attaching plants to other plants or objects. There are over 600 air plant species most suitable for home decoration.
Where are Air Plants Native?
Many air plants are indigenous to the West Indies, South America, Mexico, and Central America. Some air plants wildly grow in the southern part of the United States and California. Spanish moss drips from centuries-old live oaks and bald cypress trees in Louisiana, attracting visitors. Spanish moss is a type of Bromeliad known as Spanish beard and tree hair.
How Do Air Plants Grow?
The misconception that air plants acquire all the nourishment and water they need from the air is not true. Air plants require water and light to grow like all other plants. They can die from less watering or over-watering. You must therefore consider the native environment of the plants and check that it offers the right humidity for growth.
Unlike other plants that grow in soil, air plants use their leaves to absorb nutrients and moisture. The plants have tiny hair-like scales on the leaves known as trichomes, which function as reservoirs, absorbing water and nutrients from the atmosphere.
- Light – Most air plants flourish in bright and indirect light, while some do well in direct sunlight.
- Water – Some watering options for air plants include misting them every couple of days, bathing them each week, or drenching the plants until they are dripping wet.
Soak the air plants in a bowl containing room temperature water for six to twelve hours to bathe. You should use tap water or filtered water that has been sitting for 24 hours, thus allowing chlorine to dissipate. You must not use distilled water because it will kill the plant!
After watering the plants, turn them upside down and shake the excess water off lightly. Then, to help the leaves dry, place them on a towel in an area with enough air and light circulation. Leave the plants to dry for four hours before returning them to their displays. Please avoid touching the plant’s leaves, as skin oils can clog their delicate little trichomes.
How Big/Small Can Air Plants Get?
Air plants have unique characteristics whereby they only bloom once in their lifetime, signaling the end of their life cycle. Around the bloom time, the plants produce offsets or offspring. The offsets or pups are identical to the parent plant, starting at the bottom of the plant as tiny nodes.
Before separating the offsets from the mother plant, you should allow them to reach at least 1/4-in, as they are very delicate when young. After separation, offer utmost care to the new plant.
Ideal Climate for Air Plants to Survive
Air plants do well in temperatures between 50 – 90 degrees because they are tropical plants. If you have the plants indoors, ensure they receive enough light and water to flourish. Always stay alert during cooler months when there is a consistent use of heaters, as it causes a lack of humidity, which can affect the plants. Some of the best air plants for beginners include:
- Tillandsia aeranthos
- Tillandsia butzii
- Tillandsia capitata
- Tillandsia caput-medusae
- Tillandsia fuchsii
How Do You Care for Air Plants at Home?
Here are some of the ways to display and care for air plants at home:
- Display air plants alone or together with lichen, mosses, or stones.
- They can be hung or placed on walls, tables, or shelves.
- Air plants of different colors, sizes, and textures can be framed to create lush vertical gardens and living paintings.
- You can place them in vessels such as glass globes, bowls, classic pots, novelty pots, and more.
Get the Best Air Plants in Aurora
As a beginner, it might take a lot of work to know the best air plants and how to care for them. Fortunately, Nick’s Garden Center can help you through our gardening services and farm market. Contact us for the best air plants and guidance on how to purchase and care for air plants.