OUR FAVORITE AIRPLANTS TO GROW
OUR FAVORITE AIRPLANTS TO GROW
My earliest memory of air plants were probably similar to other people - tied to a piece of driftwood or cholla cactus skeleton that was proudly on display in the wood-paneled den. I thought it was just kind of something that older people did, and kind of wrote them off as something I would never be interested in.
Fast forward about twenty years, and all of a sudden the world has a renewed appreciation for air plants, including me. I prefer to call them tillandsias (mostly because it just rolls off the tongue) and the variety available now is absolutely amazing! I wanted to share a few of our favorites that we like to grow that are both visually impressive as well as easy to take care of.
Like little tufts of hair come to life, Tillandsia fuschii are easy to keep and are so darned cute!
When we first discovered Tillandsia huamelulas, we were absolutely floored. The bright bubblegum pink coloration was so different than the usual silvery grey foliage. And the fact that they were blooming with little purple flowers was even better!
Like some sort of weird alien plant seed that had been dropped onto the earth, the bulbosas are so fascinating. We like when they get really long and elegant tendrils that weave and swirl around their little bodies. There’s also a spectacular variety called ‘Belize’ that has some speckling and spotting that makes it particularly cool
I feel like this one is the stereotypical tillandsia - broad leaves, silvery-green finish, and one that I’m pretty sure I saw attached to a cholla cactus skeleton in every home I visited in the eighties. Harrisii reminds me of a pineapple top in the way it’s shaped - a really handsome air plant.
The big mama of all airplants, these tillandsias can get really, really big under the right conditions. Maybe it’s the size, or maybe it’s the form, but there’s something that’s just really awe inspiring about the xerographicas that just make you want to hold them. They’re also the darling of the floral design world, being used in bouquets and hair decorations and cake toppers.
The best part about tillandsias is that they are pretty low maintenance. A little bit of careful watering, keeping them out of direct sunlight, and they will be pretty happy.
Tillandsias do well in terrariums since the semi-closed container helps to maintain the moisture level. Don’t keep it at 100% humidity since that will cause them to mold, but they do like nice moist and warm environments (Florida is a natural place for them to be).
Tillandsias can be misted, but we prefer to give them a good soak. Because we’re so dry in New Mexico, we have to soak our tillandsias a couple times a week to keep them looking fresh.
Now, it’s important that you don’t use tap water to soak them - bottled or filtered water only - because chlorine present in tap water can cause them to burn and kill them.
Soak them for 2-3 hours, then shake off excess water before placing them back to where they will stay.
Tillandsias prefer a lower organic fertilizer (so they again, don't burn). You fertilize it by including it in their soaking water OR you can gently mist them with the fertilizer in liquid form.