Tillandsia, also known as “Air Plants” or simply “Tillies”, may well be the ultimate low maintenance houseplant.
These oddly beautiful plants grow without soil and can therefore be utilized in many creative ways in interior decorating. We’ve seen them exquisitely displayed in seashells, in hanging glass globes, and in any number of other imaginative & artistic ways.
Aeriums are a popular way to exhibit Tillies. These are the Air Plant version of a terrarium, featuring plants that do not require soil. Hanging glass globes are especially popular as Aeriums. A collection of these, varying in size and shape, make a particularly striking display. Air Plants are interesting enough to feature alone in these glass globes but many indoor gardeners like to add accessories such as sand, decorative stones, wood or even whimsical miniature figures. Since glass intensifies the sun’s rays make sure to hang these away from direct sunlight.
Tillandsia are Bromeliads and belong to a group of plants known as Epiphytes. Epiphytes grows on the surface of other plants, such as on the branches of large trees, and take their moisture and nutrients from the air and rain. They naturally grow primarily in tropical areas of Central and South America and have become immensely popular houseplants in recent years.
Our home environment obviously differs significantly from the forests of Central America but fortunately these plants are very forgiving. Their care is simple:
- Soak in a bowl of room temperature water for about 1 hour, once a week. After soaking, place the plant upside down on a towel and allow to dry completely before turning upright again. Air Plants are prone to rot if water sits in the rosettes.
- Misting between watering is helpful but will not, alone, provide enough moisture.
- Display in bright, indirect light. Do not place your Tillandsia in direct sunlight.
- Most Tillies thrive in high humidity so the bathroom, where they can enjoy the warm steam from the shower, is a good site for them.
- Once a month soak in a weak solution of fertilizer (we recommend Jack’s 16-5-25 Palm Fertilizer)