Everything You Need to Know About Air Plants

Your guide to taking care of the world's most low-maintenance plants.

Into plants but not dirt? Want to add some greenery to your life, but can't remember to water something to save your life? We have the answer to all of your green-thumb woes: air plants, aka Tillandsia, if you're fancy. Native to rainforests, where they grow high up in the canopy, air plants are the ideal low-maintenance botanical additions to your home. They're incredibly forgiving and adaptable, mess-free, and also really, really cool-looking.

Here's everything you need to know about the hassle-free plants.

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How do I keep my air plants alive?

Don't overthink it. Just put them in a bright spot and then give them a few squirts of water every now and then. Experts recommend misting twice a week — though we contend, from experience, that you can get away with even less. Here's a pro-tip that will make your life even easier: The master gardeners at The Sill recommend putting air plants next to your potted plants, since they'll absorb the moisture that evaporates off. And if you're still worried you'll end up forgetting to water them, Ken Shelf, the co-owner of San Francisco's Succulence, suggests keeping a mister right next to your coffee maker as an early morning reminder.

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What kind of air plants should I buy?

There are over 600 species of air plants, which come in all different colors — green, pink, red, and even silver. So which one is right for you? If your top priority is longevity, Shelf recommends going with a fuzzy Caput Medusae or a colorful Aeranthos Negra. If you're looking for brilliant color, try Ionantha Maxima Huam or Red Abdita. And if you want to splurge, Shelf recommends going for a more pricey Tectorum Ecuador — remarkable for its snowflake-like patterns — or a large Xerographica, which will look great hanging from your ceiling.

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How should I display my air plants?

"Pop them in a pretty wine glass, hang them from a glass globe with some sand and moss, or just set them on a shelf to bring some nature into your home," Shelf recommends. Or, if you want to get really crafty, get your glue gun ready. Air plants won't mind a little glue — which is why Shelf suggests gluing them onto grapewood or other branches to create centerpieces and other decorations.

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Will my air plant grow flowers?

When picking out your plants, you should keep in mind that air plants bloom when they are nearing the end of their lives. So if you buy a flowering air plant, know it won't last forever — though it can last a good few months. And before you throw an old one out, make sure you inspect under the leaves for new babies. "If you are lucky, and nurture them well, you could continue the cycle on and into infinity," Shelf says.

From: Sweet
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