Air plants are one of the most unique and exciting indoor plants you are likely to come across. Read on to learn more about these fascinating curiosities of nature.
What Are Air Plants?
Air plants are commonly known by their Latin name, Tillandsia, and are forest plants native to South and Central America. You will often see air plants clinging to trees, but they are not parasitic; they are epiphytic. An epiphytic plant absorbs all the nutrients it requires from rainfall and the surrounding air; rather than the plant to which it has attached itself.
Each leaf of a Tillandsia has layers of silver-hued, hair-like particles called trichomes that can quickly absorb any water that falls onto them.
Six Different Varieties of Tillandsia Indoor Plants
Air plants are available in various sizes and varieties, each with a distinctive appearance to help you create a unique indoor plants’ display. Here are a few of our favorites.
The Guatemala air plant has an otherworldly spiky appearance. The bright green drooping spikes provide a striking display that gradually gives way to a red/pinkish hue during the bloom cycle. When they do appear, the blooms are tiny, yellow, delicate flowers that add a lovely contrast to the pink-hued backdrop.
This tiny air plant has soft green leaves that form a compact, vertical fountain shape growing into a gentle curve as the plant matures. The leaves develop a pinkish blush and erupt with tiny purple flowers in the center during the blooming season.
The Medusae air plant’s leaves curve and spiral chaotically out from the center to give them the appearance of animated flowing tentacles, not unlike the writhing snakes of the medusae’s head from Greek legend. During the blooming season, long pinkish blooms grow up from the center.
Light green and peach-colored leaves of the Peach Tillandsia give it a distinct appearance that makes it a favorite for air plant enthusiasts. Soft leaves curve out from a center that will eventually break out in tiny, pretty yellow flowers during the blooming season.
Flat, green, ribbon-like leaves curve out down and back in onto themselves on the Xerographica Tillandsia. The indoor plant is available in various sizes, ranging from a petite 3” to a relatively giant 10”.
A Few Interesting Air Plant Facts
Air plants have a small root system, but they only keep the plant secured to their spot and can’t absorb any nutrients. For this reason, you will see many examples of Tillandsia indoor plants with their roots removed for a tidier look.
Air plants are often decorative, but you should not treat them as decorations. Like all indoor plants, they need moisture and several hours of bright indirect light.
We call them air plants, but you should endeavor to water your Tillandsia at least once a week, or more or less often, depending on your climate and how dry the air is in your area.
A great reason to have a few Tillandsias as indoor plants is they make some of the best air purifiers. NASA did some research and discovered the tiny indoor plants could clear the surrounding air of toxins.
You can easily grow more air plants from the original because they grow pups when they mature, which are little offsets you can remove and grow as a new plant.
You can ensure your air plant gets all the necessary nutrients by using specially formulated air plant food. Simply mist your plants once a week with the atomizer, and your tiny indoor plants will grow strong and healthy.