In the world of houseplants, there doesn’t seem to be anything groundbreaking about potted tropical plants. Luckily, tillandsia (or airplants) don’t like rules and expectations anyways, so they’re alright with breaking the mould. Tillys are a plant with as much character and personality as their keepers, and are guaranteed to inspire curiosity and creativity in any onlooker.
Airplants call the depths of South and Central American jungles home, often hidden so high and in remote rainforests that it is not unlikely for new species to still be discovered today, adding to the existing 450 categorized species. These plants are adored for their unique appearance and even more unique growing habits, but they make themselves at home on a windowsill just as easily as they might in the tall canopy of exotic forests. Exceptionally easy to care for and slow growing, the possibilities are nearly limitless for whatever display can be dreamed up.
Unique by Design:
The best part about growing airplants are the endless options! Despite their easy care, this isn’t your normal houseplant. Airplants don’t come in pots, and their versatile soilless roots provide every opportunity to mix it up.
A quick browse through Pinterest, Instagram, or Google will unearth the countless ways that people display airplants. Imagine everything your creativity can dream up: from hanging arrangements, gluing them to wood, creating living sculptures and more. The options are nearly endless, and there is flexibility for any flavor of design. From simple to extravagant, feel free to express yourself uniquely through these plants. Feeling intimidated or don’t know where to start? There are tons of tutorials available online, or even pre-made kits to help get you started.
The fun starts with browsing the sizes, textures, and exquisite shapes of the different species of airplant. Just the variety of species available inspires curiosity and creativity, and it is fun to be able to find plants that match your personality and style.
Basic Care: Water & Humidity
The basic care for airplants is very simple and follows a few easy to remember rules of thumb. At the root of things just remember that these plants have most of the same needs for water and nutrients as any other plant, and that the best care for a houseplant comes from trying to emulate their home environment.
Contrary to their nickname, airplants aren’t able to live on air alone. While they do have special pores called trichomes that can draw most of their nutrients and some moisture out of the air, airplants will need some supplemental watering to survive and thrive.
More tropical plants (with the green and glossy leaves) may need watering 2-3 times a week. More arid species (silver and bigger leaves) require slightly less. While misting them is certainly helpful in between waterings, in order to properly hydrate these plants they should be run under a slow stream of tepid tap water. If your airplant is in dire shape, simply submerge it in water for up to an hour to revive it. Tillys are not too needy, they will actually do much better on plain tap water than distilled or purified water!
Basic Care: Light & Temperature
For a tropical houseplant, airplants round out their versatile and easy care by tolerating a wide range of temperatures. Comfortable at room temperature, these plants will be able to handle temperatures ranging from barely above freezing to over 86 degrees. Airplants can even be moved outside in the spring and summer when temperatures permit.