How you can Look after Air Vegetation: A Tillandsia Rising Information


Tillandsias are fascinating beauties generally referred to as Air Vegetation as a result of they don’t develop in soil. They’re enjoyable to develop and have been widespread within the houseplant world for years. Learn to look after air crops and get a couple of concepts on displaying them.

This was initially written once I lived in Santa Barbara, CA, and grew most of my air crops open air. I now dwell in Tucson, AZ, the place I develop them indoors. Most individuals develop them indoors, however the place relevant, I’ll contact on rising them open air too.

Botanic Identify: Tillandsia spp    Widespread Identify: Air Vegetation (there are various air plant species)

Word: This was printed on 8/13/2013. It was up to date on 3/6/2024.

How To Care For Air Vegetation

Multiple air plants are in a decorative low dish with a piece of cholla wood.
Right here is an assortment of my air crops. I’m displaying them in a shallow pewter bowl on prime of glass disks.

What to Know About Air Vegetation  

These members of the bromeliad household are epiphytes, and of their pure habitat, they develop connected to different crops, often underneath the cover of a tree. Don’t fear—they’re not parasitic like mistletoe. The host plant is merely their technique of help.  

Do you know that Spanish moss is a tillandsia? The commonest sorts of air crops bought within the houseplant commerce are the Tillandsia ionantha and the Tillandsia xerographica. Each are xeric air crops,  that means they address low moisture. The xerographica’s leaves are thick, broad, and comfortable to the contact. Different straightforward care favs are Tillandsia stricta and Tillandsia bulbosa.

A couple of of them, like the favored Tillandsia cyanea or Pink Quill Plant, can develop in soil, too. If you wish to find out about air plant care, please learn on. 

Air Plant Gentle Necessities

Shiny, oblique gentle is finest. Your air crops shouldn’t get sizzling, direct solar as a result of they’ll burn. Full solar is okay so long as they’re away from sizzling home windows.

Certainly one of my air crops grows in my kitchen on a window sill with a northern publicity the place it will get loads of gentle, however no solar hits it. They require gentle circumstances much like pothos, dracaenas, or rubber crops.  Air crops with extra silver of their foliage or thick foliage can take extra gentle.  

Air crops don’t do nicely in low gentle for the lengthy haul. I’ve heard they develop effective in ample synthetic gentle, however I’ve no expertise with this.  

Outdoor: I grew bromeliads in my Santa Barbara backyard; some might take extra gentle than others. Most of my tillandsias grew on my coated entrance porch, and loved the brilliant morning solar filtered by a loquat tree.

How To Water Air Vegetation

How usually you water your air crops relies on the sort and your house’s setting.

Typically, spraying or soaking your air crops 1-2 occasions every week is finest. In the event you’re in a drier local weather like me, chances are you’ll must mist them each few days and soak them weekly. Your temperature and humidity ranges all year long can even play a component. I at all times use room-temperature water when soaking or spraying my air crops.

The finer leaf varieties would profit from a superb soak extra usually, however don’t allow them to soak too lengthy. If water sits of their facilities, they’ll “mush” out. It’s vital to shake off all the surplus water after soaking.  Your xeric air crops gained’t want it as usually.

I soak mine for about half-hour and allow them to dry the other way up. Though air crops love moisture, they’re topic to rot. You’ll be able to soak them in a pail, bowl of water, or the sink.

Water high quality will be complicated. Some say faucet water (with out extra chlorine) is appropriate; whereas some swear by bottled spring or distilled water.

I actually can’t say as a result of I’ve at all times used filtered water for my air crops. My residence in Santa Barbara had a reverse osmosis system, and my kitchen faucet in Tucson has a filtration system. 

Both approach, they want vitamins from a water supply, so I’m not sure about purified or distilled water. I did know somebody who used purified water for his air crops however put a diluted quantity of meals within the water each time he soaked them.

They don’t like salts (a few of us have extra minerals in our faucet water than others do), so for those who do, let the water sit within the pail for a day or two earlier than soaking. You possibly can do the identical with the water within the spray bottle. 

In fact, rain water is finest. Once we get rain (hardly ever within the desert), I put my air crops outdoors.

In case your air plant is blooming, it’s okay to soak the foliage however keep away from soaking the flower.

Outdoor: After I lived in Santa Barbara, CA, seven blocks from the ocean, my tillandsias took in moisture from the air. I soaked them solely as soon as each 4-6 weeks, and the smaller ones get a superb spray as soon as each week or two.

A beautiful arrangement of different varieties of air plants, aka tillandsias.
The gorgeous Air Vegetation that I grew in Santa Barbara, CA.

Humidity

Most of them are native to locations with excessive humidity. Our houses are likely to have drier air, so that is the place common misting (two to a few occasions every week) helps. I dwell in a dry, sizzling local weather and mist mine thrice per week.

The xeric air crops, like the favored T. xerographica and T. ionantha, higher tolerate low humidity.

Temperature

That is easy; there isn’t a must make it extra sophisticated. They like heat circumstances—temperatures no greater than 85 or 90 levels F and none beneath 45.

Air Plant Fertilizer

Air crops soak up vitamins by their leaves. Feeding will assist them to develop a little bit sooner, pup (make new child crops) and maybe flower for those who do. A fertilizer particular for bromeliads is finest.

Both soak them within the fertilizer combined with water or take them to the sink and spray them (with the fertilizer in a sprig bottle) in the event that they’re connected to one thing like a rock or piece of wooden.  

I by no means fertilized my air crops rising open air in Santa Barbara as a result of they absorbed vitamins from the air.

Air Circulation

One other easy one – they want good air circulation. Preserve them out of closed terrariums.

Pruning

Not a lot is required. Sometimes, I’ve to trim off lifeless decrease leaves. I usually do that with my micro snips as a result of typically they don’t pull off simply, and I don’t wish to injury the plant.

On the lookout for methods to show your tillandsias? Listed below are 10 straightforward methods to hold air crops.

Multiple air plants are displayed on wooden tillandsia as well as a singe tillandsia displayed in an air plant hanger.
These are two widespread methods to show Air Vegetation.

Propagation

Bromeliads, together with air crops, produce pups (infants) on the base of the plant simply earlier than or after flowering. As soon as they’re large enough to help themselves, you’ll be able to take away them by peeling them off or utilizing a pointy blade.

Brown Ideas On Air Vegetation

Brown leaf ideas are an indication of stress. My air crops have them as a result of dry desert air and lack of humidity. Different causes embrace not sufficient water and an excessive amount of solar.

Pests

These resilient crops can often be infested with scale bugs and mealybugs. The best solution to eliminate them is to dip a cotton swab in half water, and half rubbing alcohol and take away them.

Flowers

Air crops flower solely as soon as of their life. Totally different species bloom at completely different occasions and have various kinds of flowers.

Excellent news, dangerous information, excellent news. Air crops do flower. After flowering, they ultimately die. The flowering course of triggers pups (child crops) to seem on the base of the plant.

You’ll be able to lower the lifeless flower off, stalk and all. Wait till the pups are giant sufficient to help themselves, and take away them.

Tillandsia Air plant sits inside a person planter with woman's hands shown in background.
I really like this joyful individual air plant holder – it makes me smile each time I see it!

Air Plant Show Concepts

Many enjoyable methods exist to point out off your cute little air crops! They embrace air plant holders, air plant frames, air plant hangers, ceramic vases, air plant cradles, driftwood, cholla wooden, and extra.

You may as well dangle them with one thing less complicated like fishing line, copper wire, or jute string. I don’t advocate coated terrariums or glass jars as a result of they don’t present ample air circulation.

Air crops are nice for crafting and creating and for teenagers as starter crops. Take a look at our Amazon store for air crops and equipment. Be warned: when you get a couple of, you’ll need extra!

Poisonous to Cats and Canine

They’re reportedly non-toxic to pets.

I do know from expertise that cats like to munch on their crunchy leaves. Oscar, my tuxedo kitty, partially chewed three of them. My air crops have since been moved to greater grounds!

How To Care For Air Vegetation Video Information

Air crops are low upkeep, develop with out soil, and are enjoyable to tuck right here and there.  Add one or two to your plant assortment – they don’t require a lot if any, room!

Completely happy Gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster
Close up of air plants on a twisted stick the text reads how to care for your tillandsias.

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