“All we need, really, is a change from a near frigid to a tropical attitude of mind.“
- Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Air plants (Tillandsia) are one of biggest trends for modern gardening, and for good reason. These plants are downright gorgeous and ultra low-maintenance. They’re also rebels that don’t follow typical survival rules. While they may not quite be able to live on air alone, these soilless plants are a statement wherever they go. Among the air plants, the Xerographica reigns supreme.
Meet the Xerographica:
These air plants, also knowns as Xeros, call Mexico home, where they can be found suspended in the tallest branches of the subtropical forests. High in the forest canopy, they grow entirely without soil, clinging to the trees. Their name is a bit of a mouthful - it understandably translates from Greek to mean “dry writing” or “dry painting.”
Xeros have a distinctive aesthetic, even among other air plants. Their beautiful silver leaves curl and spiral around themselves as they grow. This results in a striking and nearly spherical plant, which, thanks to its slow-growing habits, will leave you with stunning living decor that is easy to keep up with.
Light: All air plants prefer bright, but indirect, light. A room with lots of window space is ideal, as long as your air plant isn’t propped against the glass of a south- or west-facing window, where it could get sunburnt. If you don't have many windows, you won’t kill your plant with fluorescent light. Air plants will make do without actual sunlight, but they won’t be their healthiest.
Water: Air plants are famous for their ability to live off of seemingly just air. While they still need some extra boosts of water when you're keeping them at home, they do have very cool natural adaptations that let them pull humidity and all their nutrients straight from the air around them. This means Xeros are comfortable in drier conditions than some other air plants you may be familiar with. For regular care, they will thrive with a misting a few times a week. About once a month, however, you’ll want to give your Xero a more thorough drink. Soak your plant in lukewarm water for 2 minutes, submerging completely. Be sure to gently shake your plant dry afterward so that no water sits pooled on the leaves.
You may need to water (and mist) more or less often, depending on how humid your home is. Your Xero will let you know if it is thirsty: when it needs more water, the leaves will curl tightly. If they start to wrinkle, your air plant is parched! If your Xero’s leaves are very straight you could be watering it too much, which could cause problems like rot. Just follow the cues that your plant gives you and you’ll find a healthy level of water for your leafy friend.
The Xero is everyone’s favorite trend right now because of its striking aesthetic and flexible design. It goes well with almost anything, but has a unique look that promises to draw the eye. A quick browse through Instagram will show a glimpse of all the creative ways people are using their Xeros, from home to wedding decor!
There are so many different things that you can do with a Xero, and that’s half of the allure. These plants aren’t something you buy pre-manufactured from a store. The design is totally up to you, and completely personalized. Let your creativity make some living art in your own home. Whether in a terrarium, woven into a frame, in a bouquet, or attached to driftwood, your Xero is guaranteed to make a statement.