After Gardening Saturday, an Air Plant (Tilandsia), made its way home, and landed on the kitchen counter, and there it stayed. My plan is to gather a few friends for this one, and hang them in glass terrariums that I have been eyeballing for years. We have a bit of an abusive relationship with houseplants at our house, due to a cat that will eat anything stringy, a toddler that will pull off anything hanging, and two older kids who will make dinosaur jungles around the base of any plant that’s available (we do have several great options that thrive despite their enviroments). I’m hoping that these Air Plants, hung up high will be safe from everyone!
Air Plants are so named because their roots do not need to be planted in soil; the leaves draw necessary nutrients from the air. In the wild, they can be found clinging to rocks and trees with their roots.
Air plants need air, water and light to thrive, just as any other house plant. They can live in a container (like my future terrarium!) as long as that container is not sealed, and air can circulate around the plant.
Most plants draw moisture from the soil with their roots; since Tilandsia draws water from the air, it needs to be misted regularly. Like any other houseplant it is important to consider that a plants hydration needs will vary drastically depending on its environment. One article recommended bathing the plant once/week in the summer, and once every three weeks in the more humid winter. Obviously in Manitoba, our dry winters and more humid summers would have us reverse that schedule! Most Garden Centres recommend misting Tilandsia a few times a week. Our Air Plant is eagerly misted every day, with reminders from our little gardeners!
Tilandsia likes to be in bright, indirect light. Placing it in front of a south-facing window would probably not be the best option, but in a bright room without a direct sunbeam will allow it to thrive!
It is possible for Air Plants to bloom, but is tricky (not this tricky ). They only bloom once in their life cycle, just as they reach maturity. If you see one that is starting to produce baby plants (“pups”), treat it to a bit of fertilizer in its bath or water mist, and you may be able to see it!
Air Plants are so versatile in their ability to be displayed and grown. At an affordable price, they can be replaced in the same manner as cut flowers, and can also be displayed in a wide variety of ways to suit your own home’s style and personality!