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Air Plants and Their Origins

Care of Air Plants

Air plants are very hardy and easy to care for. We have seen them survive up to 2 weeks in a shipping box with no light or water(Do not try that at home). When your new air plants arrive you will want to open the box immediately. We ship our air plants via fast 2 to 3 day Priority Mail but like all plants they want light, air and water.

To lower the stress of the shipping you will want to soak your air plants in room temperature water for 30 to 40 minutes. Just fill a bowl with good water and submerge the plants completely. Municipal water often has some chemicals such as chlorine and/or fluoride. If you have well water, pond water, creek water or rain water your air plants will love that. You can also use bottled spring water. Do not use distilled water as it has fewer natural minerals and nutrients that air plants like. As air plants do not live in soil they get all of their moisture, light and nutrients through their leaves.

After their soak, remove your air plants from the water, gently shake off the excess water and lay the plants out so they can dry completely before placing them in a display. A nice sunny window sill is a perfect place to let them dry and soak up some sunlight. Do not place your air plants in direct sunlight, they like bright indirect sunlight. If you are planning on putting them in a glass terrarium, a wall hanging display or any kind of enclosure (or in a hole to stand them up), it is important that you allow your air plants to dry completely.

  • Do not plant your air plants in soil as the moisture in the soil would lead to rotting

  • Do not let them stay wet for long periods of time to avoid rotting

  • Yes, you may cut the unsightly roots off and peel or trim off the brown leaves

Air plants gather nutrients through their leaves and have no use for soil. Their roots are nature’s way of attaching air plants to rocks or trees.

Your air plants should dry within one to two hours. Once they are dry you will want to display them in an area with plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. Do not place them in direct sunlight as this will dry them out very quickly. Typically, your air plants will only need a 30 minute soak in water once per week. If they are in a very dry or warm environment you may need to spritz them with water once a week in addition to the soak. You will know if they are getting too dry if their leaves begin to curl. Give them a good soak if you see this happening.

If you display your air plants in a manner that does not allow soaking them in a bowl of water you can spray them with water two or three times per week instead.

Air plants are hardy and easy to care for. Give them air, water and sunlight and they will be happy. Enjoy!

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How to care for your air plants

Water, Light and Air

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Air Plants and Their Origins

Ionantha Air PlantsGrowing up on a ranch in south Florida I was captivated by the beautiful air plants decorating the oak and cypress hammocks. Like many people I assumed these air plants were found only in the South. I am now aware they can be found far and wide from the Southern U.S. to South America and everywhere in between.

Air Plants or Tillandsia include approximately 540 species and many more hybrid varieties. Air plants can be found in the swamps of Florida, the jungles of Costa Rica, arid deserts of South America and the high mountain regions of the Andes.

Most air plants can tolerate temperatures from the forties to the nineties and thus are found from sea level to high in the mountains. Tillandsia Usneoides or Spanish Moss can tolerate an even wider temperature range and withstand frost from freezing temps.
Xerographica can withstand temperatures over one hundred degrees and needs less water than most air plants.

Air Plants of South America

Xerographica is endemic to Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala
Bulbosa air plants are associated with Belize and Guatemala
Spanish Moss inspires visions of Oak trees in the southern U.S. but also ranges far and wide through Mexico, Central and South America.
Most of the Ionantha air plants are native to Central America and Mexico.
Bergeri, Juncea and Stricta varieties are found in Brazil.
Funckiana and Paucifolia are natives of Venezuela.
Aeranthos, the "Carnation in Air", can be found in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

With well over 500 species, air plants can be found far and wide in the New World. From sea level to high mountains they have adapted to many environments and climates. On your next trip to Latin America you may want to plan a hike to try to spot a few of these unique and exotic air plants in the wild.

For a more complete list of air plants and their origins you can refer to Wikipedia and their "List of Tillandsia Species" or the Bromeliad Society International at BSI.Org.

Our Air Plants Grab Bagpage offers air plant collections from South America, Central America and Mexico.

Visit our Air Plants page to see our entire collection of air plants.

The Air Plants Gift page provides beautiful air plant display options & home decor.

Air plants are exotic, unique and easy to care for. They don't require dirt so the display options are almost endless. Air plants enjoy indirect sunlight, need only occasional watering, get much of their nutrients from the air and will help clean the air in your home.
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