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10 Things nobody tells you about air plants

Here are 10 things nobody tells you (but should!) about air plants:

1. An air plant will not grow in soil. Don’t even try it.

Tillandsias are epiphytes, which means that in nature air plants grow on other plants—clinging to tree trunks, for instance—rather than by rooting in the ground. Air plants will grow on bushes, rocks, and shrubs. Other epiphytes include orchids (which grow on tropical trees) and many kinds of ferns.

2. Air plants use roots to attach themselves to things (rather than to absorb nutrients).

You can mount a tillandsia like a trophy to hang on a wall or arrange several together in a single planter suspended from the ceiling.

3. Air plants need sunlight like any other plants.

It’s a mistake to treat your air plant as if it’s a decorative object rather than a living thing. Just because it’s amiable enough to live in a bowl or on a bookshelf without benefit of soil doesn’t mean it can survive without air, light—or water. Air plants like several hours a day of bright, indirect light.

4. Air plants can’t live on air alone.

Air plants get nutrition by absorbing water through their leaves. A good rule of thumb is to water an air plant once a week. Of course, bend the rule based on the conditions in your own home. If the air in your home is particularly dry, water an air plant more often (every five days) and in a humid environment, water tillandsias every ten days.

5. Air plants will tell you when you they need more—or less—water.

Your air plant will let you know if it needs water more often (the tips of its leaves will turn brown and curl) or if you are over-watering it (its leaves may turn brown or start to look soggy). Be       careful—if it turns black, that means it’s rotted and beyond saving.

6.MOORS is a great place to shop for well-priced or unusual varieties of air plants.

At MOORS you can get a variety of household air plants. We range from mounted air plants on wood, air plant holders to individual air plants to your liking. Fortunately, the air plants can be delivered within South Africa to our customers who can’t visit our branches in Bloemfontein. Our air plants are of a high quality and will surely brighten and liven up any space in your home. 

7. You’re not the only one having a hard time identifying your Tillandsia varieties.

With more than 550 varieties of known air plants, you’d be hard-pressed under any circumstances to keep them straight. Complicating matters, air plant breeders cross varieties so frequently that “you are never really going to see two air plants that are identical,” says Ryan Lesseig, co-owner  Tampa, Air Plant Design Studio.To complicate matters further two plants of the same variety may look completely different, depending on factors such as climate. “The same type will look different in different types of climate.

8. An air plant may flower—but only once in its lifetime.

Depending on the species, these blossoms last from a few days to a few months, and can be a whole variety of beautiful bright colors, like pink, red and purple. Flowering is the peak of the air plant life cycle, but also marks the beginning of the plant’s old age – after it flowers, the plant will eventually die.

9. Propagate an air plant by harvesting its “pups.”

Just before, during or after flowering, depending on the species, your air plant will reproduce by sending out from two to eight ‘pups’. These baby air plants, which start out very small, will     eventually grow into their own mother plants,” says Pistils Nursery. “Pups can safely be separated from the mother plant when they’re about ⅓ to ½ its size.

10. Air plants come from tropical climes and will appreciate warm temperatures in your home.

The happiest air plants live in temperatures that range from 10 to 30 degree Celsius.

 

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