Virtues: We love Tillandsia plants for their enormous variety of over 600 exotic, eye-catching species in an array of spectacular colors, sizes, textures and shapes. With peculiar forms and radiant, often fluctuating colors, these eccentric plants create an alluring display full of unique splendor.
Common name: Air plants, tillandsia
Botanical name: Tillandsia species
Flowers: Tillandsias can blossom in an abundance of stunning, vibrant colors with some blooms ranging from only a few weeks to all year long.
Foliage: Foliage will vary depending on variety; some plants’ leaves may be thick, hairy and succulent while others are soft, thin and coiling. Regardless of species, the bizarre foliage is sure to offer an abundance of colorful, dazzling charm.
Habit: With hundreds of differing varieties, air plants will vary in shape and size. As epiphytes, they absorb nutrients through the air using their leaves. They use their roots for mounting to virtually anything—they can cling to branches and stumps, hang from a string or a wire, and/or be placed in decorative containers—such as traditional pots, vases or cups.
Season: Year-round as a houseplant.
Origin: Native to warmer climates of North and South America.
How to grow Tillandsia as a houseplant: Air plants are relatively easy to grow. They will thrive when placed in a warm, well-ventilated area near a south-, east- or west-facing window or in a location with lots of bright, indirect light. Tillandsias should be watered thoroughly—to the point of saturation—2 to 4 times a week. You can shake off any excess water and let them dry out before next watering. Many growers recommend fully submerging the plants (when not in bloom) in a bowl of water for around 30 minutes every few weeks—in dry areas, you can leave plants in water for 3 to 4 hours. These plants can easily become dehydrated, so watering is crucial. Leaves will begin to curl under if they’re becoming dehydrated. You can fertilize once a month to encourage more vigorous growth, however it is not necessary. Remember: Specific care will vary depending on species.
Image author and license: BotBin
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