As Tillandsia Air Plant lovers, we all look forward to “the bloom”. A time when our favorite air plants display their very best form – exquisite color and awesome flowers. Unfortunately, this is doesn't happen as often as we would like – and the blooms typically don’t last very long, which is one reason why we collect so many different varieties.
So, as an artist and designer, I started creating my Plantstr Watercolor Collection.
I’ve been able to capture the exquisite beauty of air plants at their peak of brilliance, and can now share that moment in watercolor prints in various sizes, either flat or framed, as well as canvas wrapped prints, note cards and other goodies for your home and office. These make memorable gifts for the Tillandsia lovers in your life.
You can place an order here (http://www.plantstr.net/collections/tillandsia-air-plant-watercolor-collection) for 8”x10” watercolor prints. These are individually printed on 300gsm Acid-Free, Cold Press Watercolor Paper.
Other sizes of Prints and Stretched Canvas Prints – with and without frames, as well as a great collection of customized goods and wearable’s can be purchased at: www.society6.com/plantstr.
PLEASE NOTE: Interior Designers- please contact me for additional sizes, finishes and framing options up to 30”x40”. Perfect for Restaurants, Hotels and Retail.
Air plants are part of the Tillandsia family and they come from the tropics. The main cool fact about them is that they get their name from their capability of drawing all the nutrients and water that they need directly from the air (no soil is needed). Because of the way they feed, these plants can be hanged on fences, wires, or any structure you have indoors and outdoors. Some long arms that look like roots help these plants to attach themselves anywhere.
More than five hundred varieties of air plants exist in the world, spread naturally across Central America, West Indies and South America. These plants are different than regular plants because they don't have any typical roots, leaves or stems. The air plants can turn red and produce yellow-purple tubular flowers during the bloom cycle. In order to thrive, the plants need bright light from the sun, but the light needs to be diffused. In addition to misting once or twice a week, monthly soaking in water is beneficial for complete hydration. You can leave the plants to hydrate for a few minutes or for a few hours, depending on how much water they seem to need. Let them dry out before putting them back into your container.
For hydration, you should use bottled water or tap water from which the chemicals have evaporated over night. You will have to immerse the whole plant in water. The only type of water that shouldn't be used on air plants is distilled water, as it can kill them. Air plants are very popular today because they are beautiful, can live in any environment and don't occupy a lot of space.
The closest "relative" of air plants is the pineapple. You can find a lot of air plant varieties for sale today because they don’t need too much care and they can be combined with various decorative items.
Air plants, also known as Tillandsia, are a kind of epiphytes. The plants are well known for their thick, silvery foliage and vivid flowers, but these unique plants don’t require any soil to grow, however, they still require a place to hang-out. Unlike traditional plants, air plants are not parasites, meaning they do not get their nutrients from their host. Even though they have roots, the roots are used for anchoring rather than getting nutrients. These plants get all their water and nutrient requirements from absorption through their leaves.
When grown indoors, these plants make a striking addition to your indoor décor. They have different appearances and can be used to decorate different rooms in a house. Just like any other house plant, these plants require some care to thrive.
So how do we take care of Air Plants...
Water is crucial to the survival of air plants. When they receive the water in sufficient quantities, their silvery leaves are very beautiful. You need to mist them every few days, especially if they're exposed to dry indoor environments or drying winds.
These plants also require regular deep-water hydration, especially if there are signs of drying out. To give an air plant a bath, submerge the whole plant in clean, room-temperature water for about 30 minutes. Make sure the flowers are not submerged or they will die prematurely. Shake off any excess moisture, let dry and then return your plant to their home. Soak your plants once every month.
The plants are very sensitive to the chemicals in water. if you use tap water, let it sit overnight so the chemicals evaporate. Water with a PH higher than 8 or softened water which is high in salt is deadly to these plants. Bottled water works well and rain water is even more effective.
Air plants require indirect or partial sunlight to grow. When indoors, keep them no more than 10 feet from the window. A simple fluorescent light will also work well. However, be sure not let the plant stay exposed to direct sun for too long, as it might suffer from leaf burn.
Dealing with Pups
These plants produce beautiful, long-lasting flowers, before producing pups (baby air plants). The plants will grow 2-8 pups. The pups can be left on the parent plant to give a fuller appearance, or can be removed to create separate plants. If you want to remove the pups, make sure they are at least 1/2 the parent’s size. This ensures the pups are strong enough to live on their own.
Air plants rarely require pruning thanks to the natural dense, tidy growth pattern. However, they require occasional grooming to restore their beautiful appearance. Remove all dead, dry or brown leaves from your air plant. Cut back any dead or brown tips until what is left is a healthy growth. Trim any unsightly growth of, if you wish, roots from your plant. When pruning use sharp pruning shears. I like to use a small pair of surgical scissors.
Air plants in captivity need minimal supplemental nutrients to flourish. Feeding these plants differs from many others because of the epiphytic nature. Their own roots are very sensitive and can't absorb urea like the terrestrial plants. You can feed them with urea-free fertilizer with N-P-K analysis of '30-10-10'. Orchid fertilizer works well when diluted. Mix this fertilizer at ¼ the recommended strength. Dissolve the fertilizer in one gallon of water. Mist the fertilizer solution onto the plant’s leaves until they’re saturated, or just add to the monthly soaking bath.
Air plants experience few problems. They don’t suffer from chronic diseases and insects and pests rarely bother them because the do not grow in soil. For a healthy air plant, the entire plant requires access to free air. Grow the plants mounted on some wood or any other organic material, or place the plants on top of stones or sand, like in our Terrarium Globes. Avoid putting your plants vessels that allow water to collect, as this will surely kill you plants.