Monday, December 30, 2013

Versatile, Fabulous Tillandsias

Large Tillandsia bulbosa in bloom

Tillandsias a.k.a. "air plants" are all the rage. I love them, not because they are so popular right now, but because they can be used so many different ways and they are easy to grow. I love it when people are  interested in any houseplant and when they are successful they will be encouraged to grow more.

 I saw the Tillandsias to the left and below at a trade show. This company mostly sells fairy garden accessories and here they were displaying their products in "air"iums (not terrariums, because no terra, or earth) with air plants. Adorable!(and smart merchandising)


 This "air"ium is so cute with the house, gravel and moss.

I made these shell planters by gluing a Tillandsia to the shell with E-6000 glue. Do NOT use hot glue. It will burn the plant and kill it. Believe me, I've seen this done.

 These "air"iums are Christmas ornaments. Aren't they creative? (I made them for our garden center) Everyone should have a living ornament on their Christmas tree! After Christmas, take the holiday decorations out and hang it in a window. 


I had a small dinner party and hung a Tillandsia ornament from the chandelier.

The picture above and to the left were taken on a garden walk this past summer. What an awesome way to display the Tillandsias. The tree has spanish moss or Tillandsia usenoides, Tillandsia xerographica, Tillandsia ionantha, and many other varieties. It was placed in an outdoor gazebo and even had white lights wrapped around it.

Tillandsia xerographica

These Tillandsia in glass balls are ionanthas and have reindeer moss and a small stick covered with lichens included. Natural accessories are great with Tillandsias. You could use acorns, sweet gum balls, or pine cones. Anything you find will probably work, making sure there are not insects included in what you bring in.

Taking care of Tillandsias is super easy. They do not live on "air" as the name implies. Therein lies the problem with people growing them. "They just live on air?" NO. In Florida and other places they come from, it is humid and quite often rains every day. Thus, they receive water very often. Here in the frigid north with the heaters running almost constantly at this time of year, they need to be soaked at least once a week. I soak them once a week and mist them, as well. I usually soak them for about 30 minutes and then let them drain upside down for a few minutes. Tillandsias drying upright may rot from water sitting in the crown of the plant. They naturally grow on a slight slant in nature, allowing them to drain. If they are in a glass container like the ones above, they could be misted a couple times a week and be fine because of being slightly enclosed. I would not recommend they be kept in a completely enclosed container because of the rotting factor. 
Another great thing about Tillandsias is the fact that they are very inexpensive. Most of the ones you will find, will be less than $20, depending on where you live. These are ones that are sold on their own. If they are on a piece of wood, or in a glass ball, they will, of course, be more costly.
The facts are, they are inexpensive, easy to grow, and beautiful, versatile plants. So, what are you waiting for? Find an Independent Garden Center near you, and invest in some great houseplants-Tillandsias!

How fun is this?


  1. Great post! Love the ornaments. Also, very good point about the plants needing more water up north, especially during the chilly months when you have your heat going.

  2. Thanks for the comment. It does get dry here with the heater on all the time. This week here in Michigan, the heater has been running nonstop.