Air plants are a beautiful variety of low-maintenance plant that we think look particularly fresh and lovely in our levitating planter LYFE. Here you can learn a little more about air plants and how to take care of yours to ensure they look their best!
BACKGROUND AND THE 'SWEDISH CONNECTION'
Air plants have an interesting link to Sweden. Although they originate in the warm climates of Central and South America, their scientific name Tillandsia is derived from the name of a Swedish physician, Elias Tillandz. This name was given to air plants by none other than renown Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, who created the system of binomial nomenclature that we now use to name and identify all living organisms.
Air plants are unique in how they feed and reproduce. They don't need to be rooted in soil to acquire nutrients. Rather, they grow attached to other larger plants and absorb nutrients through their leaves from the air! This unique method of acquiring the nutrients they need makes them hardy enough to survive in the canopies of trees in tropical rainforests.
Their method of reproduction is also unique. Air plants are very slow in growing from a seedling, so most specimens instead undergo a blooming process and develop 'pups' that start their life as part of a mature air plant. These pups can be gently removed from the mother plant once they have reached approximately 2/3 of the size of their mother.
Air plant maintenance is simple compared to other plants, but they do require attention and care. A neglected air plant will become brown and dry, so keep your air plant healthy by following these basic steps!
Although air plants don't need to sit in water or watered soil, they do need to stay hydrated, ideally with aquarium or pond water (tap water is fine, but never use distilled water!).
You can spray the air plants with water 1-3 times a week. Alternatively they can be soaked in water for about 10-20 minutes once every 2 weeks. Either way, shake them to remove excess water afterwards, then let them air dry in an area with good air circulation for a few hours.
Regular spraying or soaking keeps your air plants healthy and green. You can also opt to place your air plants in your bathroom occasionally. The moist steam from a shower will make them happy!
Air plants require sunlight, but not harsh direct light. It's good to ensure they are getting regular light through a window or from the comfort of a shaded spot.
It's normal for some leaves of the air plant to dry out or die over time and for new leaves to grow. You can trim any brown leaves or dead-looking edges with scissors to keep them looking fresh.
Flower shop days are the best days :)
For Stockholm-based readers: we purchased some at Gingko in Södermalm! For everyone else: air plants can be purchased on our online store or at local flower shops near you!
We hope this little guide has taught you more about air plants and how to keep yours healthy and happy. With just a little bit of care, your air plants will stay green, hydrated and beautiful for a long time, and may even produce new air plants for you to enjoy!