Yes, you read that right! There is a wonderful, easy care plant out there called Tillandsia, or Air Plant. For anyone who thinks they can’t keep a houseplant alive, this may be the solution for you!
Tillandsias are native to the West Indies, Mexico, Central America, and South America, and some areas of the southern United States. In all, there are approximately 550 different varieties!
Tillandsia’s are part of the family called epiphytes which don’t grow in soil the way typical plants do. Their roots attach themselves to things rather than take up nutrients. The job of intake is performed by their leaves. They grow happily in the crevasses trees, between rocks and even on cacti.
Their structure and colors are all different based on where they grow. In places where water is limited and the sun is strong, leaves may be covered in tiny hairs called Trichomes. These small hairs trap moisture found in the air and protect the plant from intense sun. Others that live in more humid climates will have smooth, shiny leaves with intense color.
Tillandsias produce flowers, and what interesting flowers they are! But, the sad part is they will only flower once in their lifetime and, once it blooms this is the signal that the plant is reaching the end of its lifecycle. When choosing a Tillandsia, try to buy a young plant so you can enjoy their beauty longer.
Tillandsias also produce pups! If you’re familiar with the spider plant, you know that they send off a long shoot with a tiny, complete spider plant at the tip. This is a pup that can be removed and grown into a brand new plant. Tillandsia’s have the same habit. They will grow a new plant at its base that can be gently removed once it grows to about 1 ½ inches long.
Now that we know a little more about them, let’s talk about their care.
First, don’t try to plant them in soil. As we mentioned, Tillandsia roots are only used to attach the plant to its home, they do not take up nutrients so planting them in soil will kill them. The cool thing about them is just about anything can be used to display your Tillandsia. Driftwood, an interesting branch from your yard, a cluster of rocks, a bowl, plate or cup, really anything!
Next, your air plant does need water and light just like any other plant. If your home is dry they will need water every 5 days. If your home is more humid, they can go about 10 days before they need a drink. To water Tillandsia simply place them in a bowl of room temperature water and soak them for 5-10 minutes. If you are using tap water, fill the bowl a day ahead to allow some of the chemicals to evaporate. If possible, rainwater is the best option.
Finally, locate your Tillandsia in an area with good air circulation that receives several hours of bright indirect light.
Pretty simple right! Now come and visit the garden center where we have numerous varieties, colors and sizes available. We are always happy to answer your questions and help you select the perfect Tillandsia for you!