Air plants: what are they and how to care for them

Air plants are epiphytes, that is, plants that grow without soil. These plants attach themselves to rocks, trees, shrubs, or the ground with their roots. They grow in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America. There are more than 650 species of such plants. They are very tenacious, so they are ideal for beginners or those who do not have a relationship with houseplants.

The most popular species of Tillandsia

Tillandsia is divided into two main types: atmospheric and potted.

1. Atmospheric – a plant with practically no roots, feeds through the leaves.

or Spanish moss. A plant with long branches and gray leaves. It can grow even without support, the main thing is to hang the plant higher.

. The leaves are silvery, the flower is blue-violet. During flowering, the leaves turn reddish.

. The leaf blades are narrow and long, expanding towards the base.

2. Potted – a plant with a root system, grown in a pot.

The leaves are grassy, ​​the inflorescence appears in summer, has a blue or purple hue.

Close relative of the Blue Tillandsia. The bracts are a pale pink hue, and the flowers are bright blue.


Of course, the rules of care depend on each specific species. The easiest way to care for potted plants, the most difficult – for atmospheric.

The key to Tillandsia survival is constant air circulation and watering. The name “air plant” can be misleading and you might think that these plants only need air, not water. But it’s not. Water is vital to Tillandsia. Water your plants about once a week, some varieties can go two weeks without watering. Follow them to determine exactly what your plant needs. To water, place them in a sink and lightly rinse each plant. Leave the plant in the sink overnight to remove any excess moisture. Put them back in the morning. Or just mist your plant liberally 1-2 times a week. It is important to remember that these plants do not like not only drought, but also stagnant water.

If one of your plants looks very dried out, remove the bottom dried parts and place the plant in a bowl of water for a few hours. During the winter, when the heating is on, air plants can look a bit dry. Just spray them with water, paying more attention to the base, every few days.


Although they love warm weather, most air plants need protection from direct sun. If you have a plant that grows wild on trees, keep it in moist partial shade. If you have a ground type like Tillandsia blue or Tillandsia Lindena, grow it indoors in bright, filtered light or outdoors in partial or dappled shade.


Do not allow the air plant to be in a room with a temperature colder than 8 °, it will die at this temperature. The ideal temperature for Tillandsia is 24°–32° during the day and 15°–18° at night.


You will know that your plant is pretty when it produces flowers. To grow flowering plants, purchase potted Tillandsia species. The flowering period begins in summer. The color palette and brightness depend on the type of plant.

Once the flower is dry, all you have to do is cut it off.

Where to plant


There are many ways to plant Tillandsia. Hanging air plants are a popular design element. Atmospheric views look great alone or in an aerial terrarium. They are planted in crystals, in shells, in light bulbs, in wine corks or on snags imitating tree branches.


Potted species, of course, get along well in flowerpots and florariums.


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