Tillandsias, also known as air plants, are absolutely amazing! Even if you think that you don't have a green thumb, tillandsias might just be the plant for you!
With more than 650 varieties, there are plenty of these fascinating beauties to choose from. Tillandsias survive (and thrive) without having their "feet" in the dirt.
In their natural environment, tillandsias attach to just about anything stationary - trees and shrubs, rocks and even the ground. Their roots serve as anchors rather than as a means to absorb nutrients. Native to the southern United States and Mexico, as well as Central and South America, these plants prefer warmer temperatures.
Tip: Tillandsias with leaves that are more silvery in appearance tend to be more tolerant of drought than those with greener foliage.
Tillandsias are also known as air plants for a good reason. The key to beautiful, healthy tillandsias is adequate air circulation. They are happiest in a vessel or perched on an object with plenty of space for air to flow around them. They like a bit of humidity, but they absolutely do not want to be wet for prolonged periods. If left wet for long periods, they'll start to rot.
Tillandsias take in water and nutrients through trichomes that cover the surface of their leaves. Some tillandsias have thicker, more feathery trichomes and can catch and retain water better than other varieties. Mist your tillandsias daily, particularly if your home or office is on the dry side. However, misting is not a substitute for regular watering.
To give your air plants the water they need to survive, remove your air plants from their terrarium vessel and give them a good soak.
To do this, you'll need a cup, bowl, or some other container large enough to hold your entire tillandsia, including all of its leaves. Fill the container with rain or spring water and put your air plant in. (You may need to weigh your plant down to make sure that it's completely submerged.) Allow your plant to soak for one to two hours. If it's been longer than a week since it was last soaked, or if your tillandsia is looking particularly dry, you can soak it for up to 6 hours. Do the same if you are planning to leave your plants for a while to go on vacation.
Once you finish soaking your tillandsia, remove your plant from the water and gently shake off any excess water. Then, set your tillandsia upside down on a towel or paper towel to dry. It is very important to ensure that your plant is completely dry before you return it to its terrarium vessel.
We all know that plants need light, and air plants are no exception. The key with these beauties is bright, indirect or filtered light in warmer months and more direct sunlight during the winter months. Direct summer sunlight can burn the delicate leaves. Instead of direct sunlight, move your tillandsia to a spot 3-5 feet from a sunny window or use a bright full-spectrum artificial light bulb. The higher the humidity in your vessel, the brighter the light that can be tolerated. Be sure that your vessel has some ventilation to allow excess moisture to escape.
Tillandsias don't generally require fertilization. However, some individuals prefer to spray them once a month with a 17-8-22 Bromeliad Fertilizer to support blooming.
We invite you to welcome these easy to care for, wonders of nature are into your terrariums.