Air Plant (Tillandsia)
Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas

How To Look After Your Air Plant (Tillandsia)

Air plants are easy to care for and make an interesting piece of art

Air plants are one of the easiest plants to grow if you’re not very green fingered; they are also great for starting children off on looking after plants as they can tolerate a little neglect. The majority of them are Tillandsias and are a member of the Bromiliad family which just use their roots to cling on as they take in all their nutrients and water through the air. In the wild they attach themselves to a tree fairly high up in the canopy where they receive some light but are shielded from the full glare of the sun; so don’t place them in a baking hot south facing position. Otherwise they are fairly tolerant of where they like to live; ambient temperature and moderate light levels are all that’s required.

 

 

This short video explains that all you need to look after them is a mister; just a slight mist every few days when the weather is cool and every day in summer. Make sure you water them in the morning then they have time to dry out before nightfall; if they are left wet for too long they will eventually rot. You can completely submerge the plant in water every few weeks but make sure that it can dry out quite quickly.

You usually buy them as part of an ornament or just the plant on it’s own, which you then have to glue onto something on which to display them. This can be a piece of wood, slate, stone or a glass ornament; several glued onto a single piece of driftwood can make an arresting piece of art displayed in a prominent position.