Air Plants: Soiless Wonders

Air plantsJust when I thought eating from my balcony was the height of beautiful frugality, I discovered air plants (tillandsia), sculptural plants that grow without soil. There are many varieties, all of which gather nutrients exclusively from air, water, and sunlight, with roots that serve the sole purpose of attaching them to any amenable surface. They will thrive on wood, metalwork, stone, seashells…my mind boggles at the prospects.

Imagine growing them year-round, indoors, as an alternative to a “green wall” (without the maintenance and set-up costs), or using them creatively in your small green retreat.

With the proper care, each air plant sends out a handful of “pups” each year that can be separated from the parent, meaning that, for a very small investment, you’ll soon have enough for you — as well as for friends, neighbors, and curious passers-by…

6 Responses to “Air Plants: Soiless Wonders”

  1. Bob B

    I am looking for a picture and instructions how to take care of the air plant: Tillandsia Xerographica
    Thank you for your help how to locate this information
    Bob B

  2. Kate

    Glad this post was of assistance, BobB. While I have yet to get my hands on any air plants, I do still wonder at them at the local university greenhouse, where they have them beautifully growing on driftwood and animal femurs! Hope yours do well — I’d love to see pictures!

  3. where can I go to buy these? are these expensive

    I love these plants, and I wanted to have these in my garden

  4. live on air

    my undesrtanding and according to someone i spoke to who grows airplants at a market in fort myers fl. These plants do not demand much- they live on air. Or was this a joke? now i am confussed sorry Bob B

  5. Kate

    I have seen them for sale from at least one garden center: Gardener’s Supply in Williston, VT. I have also window-shopped for them on eBay, but I don’t have any experience ordering plants through the mail.

  6. Kate

    No joke — they are epiphytes with aerial roots, and take up nutrients in other ways (can’t tell you exactly how without more training in botany!). They’re amazing to me — so sculptural, and they seem ideal for houseplants. Good luck, and keep planting!

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