Friday, June 22, 2012

Air Plants

 Tillandsia is a genus of around 540 species in the Bromeliad family.

Tillandsia are epiphytes, also called aerophytes or air plants meaning they normally grow without soil.

They don't need soil because moisture and nutrients are gathered from the air and absorbed through structures on the leaves called trichomes.

The roots are used as anchors only.

Reproduction is by seeds or by offsets called "pups."

A single plant could have up to a dozen pups.

Although not normally cultivated for their flowers, some Tillandsia will bloom on a regular basis.

In addition, it is quite common for some species to take on a different leaf color, usually changing from green to red, when about to flower.

This is an indication that the plant is monocarpic, which means it flowers once before dying, but offsets around the flowering plant will continue to thrive. 

After blooming the offsets can be separated from the side of the mother.

You can put them in anything... seashells, teacups, empty vases, driftwood... 

Many people like to hang them on fishing line.

They are unusually hardy surviving temperatures from 35 to 120 degrees.

They are able to tolerate long periods without water, but it is also difficult to over water them.

They do not need direct sun.

Yesterday I found the mother lode of air plants!

Aren't they amazing!

(Last 2 photos taken at Cornerstone in Sonoma)

Air plants are perfect for plant lovers and for people who can't grow anything and are all the rage here in California!

7 comments: said...

What a wonderful post! I love tillandsias. You have made them look they are!

savvycityfarmer said...

this was sheer pleasure in the middle of a hot summer day .... loved the little cork planters!!

Brooke @ Inside-Out Design said...

These are so cool! They sound like just the plants for me!

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

Hi Terri, yes, I've seen quite a few of these little guys, and they are quite amazing!

Nutbird said...

You are amazing! I learn something new every week from you. Pups! Changing colors! When are you going to let us know what you learned at finishing school in Switzerland? Ann

Urban Orchard Interiors said...

I love air plants! It took me four years to kill my last one which is really good for me. Such a great and informative post. Love the images of them as jellyfish--so clever!


Lucy Middlemarch and Co. said...

At last, a good looking plant even I can't kill... Fabulous!