By Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
Air plants, also called tillandsias, are surprisingly easy to grow. They don’t require soil, need only moderate light, and a good soak every once-in-a-while. The numerous varieties are beautiful with modern home décor, in terrariums, or as a very affordable housewarming gift. These little guys have so much personality you might just want to name each and every one!
They can add a bit of elegance and whimsy to any room, and their unique, stylish appearance and growth habit make them conversation starters. So easy to grow they make the perfect starter plant for kids and/or grandchildren.
What are Air Plants?
Air plants are ‘Epiphytes’ which means they are a plant that grows on the branches of other plants in the forest. This is why they look so natural as accessories on the houseplants already growing in your home.
They are NOT parasitic; they do not feed on their host plants. All the moisture and nutrients these little plants need come directly from the air, rain, and surrounding humidity of their environments.
Closely related to orchids, ferns, Spanish moss, and bromeliads, they are far easier to care for and grow.
Caring for air plants – Simply place them in a spot that receives medium to high light, but not direct sunlight.
Dunking is the simplest watering method. Dunk your air plants into a tub of lukewarm water and let them soak for 10 minutes once every 1-2 weeks.
Be mindful of the humidity in your home. Some rooms such as kitchens and baths are naturally a bit more humid. In winter a fireplace, stove, or furnace causes the air in our homes to dry faster than other seasons. You’ll want to adjust your watering of air plants accordingly.
Displaying Air Plants
Hanging glass globes or teardrops with rock moss and other accessories are eye-catching ways to display air plants.
Add air plants to your indoor terrariums or succulent gardens.
Create an elevated display of air plants that seem to float above containers and/or on the branches of other plants.
Air plants have become very popular at weddings for boutonnieres, bouquets, and centerpiece arrangements.
Create a modern display by highlighting one large air plant on a coffee table. It’s a guaranteed conversation starter for gardeners and non-gardeners alike! They also make great gifts and ornaments for birthday and holiday celebrations.
Christmas Trees’ Notice – Looks like Watters’ fresh-cut Christmas trees will arrive Thanksgiving weekend. (Chainsaws are sharp and ready for the harvest in just 10 days, followed by a 2-day journey from the farm to Watters Garden Center.) Our trees will be so fresh they will make it easily through the holiday season without becoming one-week fire hazards. This year’s varieties are Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, and Nordmann Fir. Our fresh wreaths and garlands will be in stock shortly after the trees arrive.
Poinsettia Harvest also will begin arriving that weekend. Weekly deliveries will continue through December 14th. The crop is coloring nicely! Classic red is always hot, but new whites and pinks are also in the mix. This is going to be an excitingly colorful holiday season!
Until next week, I’ll be helping locals with air plants here at Watters Garden Center.