Tillandsias, or air plants, are as beautiful as they are unique. They are the largest genus of the bromeliad family and are native to temperate climates from South America up into the deserts of the southwestern United States. Caring for a bizarre plant such as this can be much like looking after a pet (after all, they are alive) but with a little patience, it can also be very simple.

How to Care for Your New Tillandsia

• Air plants thrive on bright, indirect light, good air circulation, and water.

• Filtered sunlight from windows and indoor rooms are great for sustaining a tillandsia. If you plan on keeping your plant outdoors, a shaded area should be provided.

• Mist your plants with water 3-4 times a week to keep them lively. Tillandsias use trichomes, or hair-like scales, to absorb as much water as possible. Greener plants will need more water than grey, silvery, and purple plants.  

• Fertilizing your plant is not necessary for its initial survival; some tillandsias can go months without it, but eventually they will need the nutrients to grow healthy, new blooms. We recommend mixing a pinch of water-soluble fertilizer in with your water or spray bottle once every 1-3 months.

Display Ideas  

There are dozens of ways to mount and decorate tillandsias using non-toxic adhesives like hot glue or E6000. We recommend terrariums, pieces of wood, wire, shells, or skulls for a great starting point. Here are some examples to get your creative ideas flowing:

• Place a small dot of glue near the base of the plant (but NOT over the root system at the very bottom). Adhere to the inside of an Alfonso sea urchin shell to create a jellyfish. Fishing line can be used to hang and display.

• Glass terrariums with a sand or moss base are simple and clean. Add crystals or a small skull to the mix with your tillandsia and you’ve got a complete look.

• Pieces of cut wood can serve as a mounting base. Plants may be adhered with hot glue or copper-free wire (copper is toxic to tillandsias).

• A wasabi dish with some small rocks, geodes, or amethyst, can be a tillandsia home.