Air plants sound as low maintenance as any plant can get. These don’t need soil to thrive and can be displayed in several creative ways. That (and other factors) make these delicate plants favourites for people who don’t have a green thumb.
What Are Air Plants?
Air plants, or Tillandsia, are popular houseplants because of their delicate appearance and the fact that they require little care. The plant is related to Spanish moss and has over 500 species, each with its own leaf colour, flowers, and textures.
They can be found growing wild in the West Indies, South, and Central America, but make sure you only get the nurser-propagated ones. Some native air plant species are going extinct.
Why Are Air Plants Popular?
More and more people are choosing air plants because they:
- Are non-toxic for pets and children
- Increase productivity
- Clean the air
- Are easy to propagate
- Reduce stress levels
- Reduce irritants
- Require no soil to grow
How to Grow an Air Plant
You can get one from your local garden centre or nursery, but if you want to grow an air plant yourself, follow these tips:
Air plants need direct and bright sunlight to flourish, so place them on east or west-facing windows. Relocate them to windows facing south during the winter and spring and protect them during harsh summer months. The plant will die if it doesn’t get direct sunlight. It also needs humid or warm temperatures to remain healthy and produce more foliage. If the temperature drops or it doesn’t get sufficient light, your air plant will start to rot.
Incorrect watering is the main reason being rotting air plants. The plant takes water and nutrients through its delicate leaves, so it should be watered frequently. If the leaves curl up, it is going dry, and if the tips turn brown, it is rotting and needs more water.
You don’t need to add much water. Just mist the leaves with a spray bottle every second day if you have an air plant from an arid region. Species that come from the rainforest require more water. If the mist doesn’t work to replenish the leaves, rinse it with tepid water a few times a week or soak it for 10 to 20 minutes. This treatment works best for air plants with dark green and silvery green leaves.
11 Interesting Facts about Air Plants You Should Know
- Since air plants get their nutrients from the air and humidity, they don’t need soil to grow.
- Air plants grow offsets after bloom, making them easy to propagate.
- The plant is closely related to the pineapple via the bromeliad family.
- Air plants can change colour depending on the type of environment they are in. This includes orange, pink, and even light yellow.
- When it is about to die, the plant blossoms. You can give it another life by propagating the offsets or moving the container to a shadier place in your home or office.
- Air plants have tiny reservoirs called trichomes that grab nutrients and water from the air.
- The plant doesn’t need repotting – ever!
- If multiple air plants flower together, they can pollinate one another
- Air plants make great terrarium plants. These are living works of art and a great way to display plants if you are short on space.
- The plants can be placed indoors and outdoors as per your convenience. You can pot them in shells, glass globes, and even pots. Just make sure you care for them as per their needs. Different species require different care.
- These plants are extremely low maintenance. Just mist them regularly using a spray bottle and ensure they get plenty of sunlight, and the leaves will remain healthy.
Air plants can become your go-to favourites the next time you want to introduce nature into your home or office space. Use the care tips to ensure they last for a long time. Buy plenty of them as attractive elements for your home.