New to the titillating world of tillandsias? (perhaps you know them by their "street name," air plants). These flower-producing, soil-less wonders — a member of bromeliad family — have become increasingly fashionable as they make the leap from exotic novelty to simple-to-maintain houseplant. Air plants are particularly appealing to those wanting to add a bit decorative green oomph to the home. In fact, Apartment Therapy recently went as far as to dub tillandsias as the “IT plant.”
Again, keeping a tilly isn’t rocket science but before you start placing them in decorative dishes and terrariums around your home (they thrive indoors and out) here’s the basics those new to the plant should be aware of:
Don’t skimp on the agua: The name “air plant” is misconceiving as tillandsias don’t thrive just by being exposed to air. They need to be watered regularly — two or three times a week — and by watered I mean soaked; periodic light misting usually won’t cut it especially if you live in a dry area. Make sure there's no standing water.
Seeing the light: Air plants also need ample light to survive. They thrive best in bright but filtered light. Direct sunlight during the summer months isn’t recommended. Artificial lights (grow lights or fluorescents) work well, too.
Not too hot (or cold): Air plants are hardy and not entirely picky about what kind of temperatures they’re kept in although 50° to 90° F is considered optimum. Avoid frost and be sure the area around your air plant has decent air circulation.
For more details on caring for an air plant check out this great FAQ page, eHow, and Air Plant City. Interested in ordering one? Head on over to Air Plant Supply Co. or Etsy (home to the awe-inspiring Live Lamp) where you'll find a decent selection or air plants.
Do you keep air plants in your home? Any tillandsia tips and tidbits you’d like to share?
Related on MNN: 15 houseplants that improve indoor air quality
The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.