Looking for an easy-to-care-for plant to add to your home? If you have trouble keeping plants alive or are just looking for a new decor element for your home, air plants are your answer.
What Are Air Plants?
Air plants, or tillandsias, are unique plants. They are identified by their tiny size and lack of visible roots. Air plants rely on a combination of air and water to grow, but aren’t as dependent on water as traditional plants. Also, unlike traditional plants, air plants are epiphytes. This means that they don’t require soil to grow. This trait has made them popular as indoor plants, gifts and home decor.
In their natural state, air plants grow by attaching themselves to trees or shrubs. They originate from the warm climates of the southern United States, Central America and South America. As tropical plants, some air plants bloom neon colored flowers for a few months out of the year.
How to Water Air Plants
Although air plants don’t rely on water as much as traditional blooming plants do, they still need to be watered about once a week. Air plants absorb nutrients from water through their leaves instead of roots. To water, mist your plant so that it’s completely saturated with water. Every two to three weeks, fill a container with water and soak your air plants for 30 minutes.
18 Popular Types of Air Plants
To get a better idea of what air plants look like and their unique features, browse through 18 popular types of air plants below.
Tillandsia ionantha, also known as the sky plant, is a bromeliad plant. This means that it grows in a tropical climate and has a short stem. Sky plants often bloom bright flowers toward the end of their life.
Tillandsia usneoides, or Spanish moss, differs from other air plants in that the leaves hang rather than sprout up. In its natural environment, spanish moss can be found draped over tree branches and emitting a fragrant scent.
Tillandsia caput-medusae is also referenced as the head of Medusa due to its distinct shape. Its snake-like leaves spread horizontally like strands of hair. Tillandsia caput-medusae produces red or blue flowers in early summer.
Tillandsia andreana is a species that originates from Columbia. Its leaves shoot out from all sides, growing to be three to four inches tall. Tillandsia andreana produces tubular flowers that bloom from the center of the plant.
Tillandsia xerographica originates from Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala. It has a spherical shape and doesn’t need as much water as other varieties (so when it comes to watering, you should mist rather than soak it). Tillandsia xerographica slowly produce a spike that turns into a red or yellow flower.
Tillandsia maxima originate from Oaxaca, Mexico and therefore can handle more sun than other varieties. Its moss green leaves turn a coral color before blooming a brilliant purple flower. They are able to produce multiple flowers at the same time.
Tillandsia cyanea, also known as the pink quill plant, are treasured due to their bright pink quills and vibrant purple-blue flowers. Although this variety is still an epiphyte (which means it absorbs nutrients through leaves), it can also be grown in soil.
Tillandsia aeranthos have long spiky leaves and thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. They produce pink and blue flowers, which makes them popular house or office plants. Tillandsia aeranthos can grow to be up to nine inches in height.
Tillandsia bulbosa is named after its bulb-like appearance. It originates from Central America and thrives in humid conditions. If you live in a dry location, your plant will need to be misted every other day to thrive.
Tillandsia capitata peach is native to Mexico, Cuba, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. This air plant thrives in humid conditions and can tolerate full sun. The leaves turn a peach color right before a purple flower blooms.
Tillandsia cotton candy, also known as Tillandsia houston, is a hybrid air plant. It is a mix of tillandsia stricta and tillandsia recurvifolia. Tillandsia cotton candy forms pink, cotton candy colored blooms.
Tillandsia didisticha originates from South America and is known to grow larger than most air plants. It can reach up to a foot tall in its prime. It has muted green and pink leaves that produce a white flower.
Tillandsia fuchsii v. gracilis was formerly known as tillandsia argentea. It has light green leaves and produces a long pink stem that a bright purple flower blooms from. In their natural state, Tillandsia fuchsii grow in clumps.
Tillandsia funckiana are unique air plants because their leaves grow like quills, all spiking in the same direction. They also curl in a distinct shape, adjusting based on their environment. When they are ready to bloom, the leaves will turn yellow and a neon orange flower will form.
Tillandsia gardneri are native to Columbia, Brazil and Venezuela. Although they thrive in warm, humid climates, they should not be in direct sunlight. Tillandsia gardneri bloom pink flowers that last from late spring to late summer.
Tillandsia ionantha, also referred to as fuego, has a distinct red color that makes it stand out. The leaves have an ombre pattern that start with moss green and transition into a vibrant red-pink color. These colors make up for its small size, growing to be about one inch tall.
Tillandsia stricta, native to many countries in South America, is able to survive in many climates. It can grow in trees as well as on sand dunes. There are many stricta varieties, popular ones including stricta pink bronze (pink flower) and stricta midnight (dark, almost black coloring).
Tillandsia chiapensis, native to Chiapas, Mexico, is able to grow in a variety of climates. It will thrive in full sun as well as partial shade. The tillandsia chiapensis grows up to five inches wide and produces pink and red blooms.
Creative Air Plant Displays
A fun way to display air plants is by including them as decor in your home. From hanging air plants to geometrically-designed displays, there is a style for any home.
Ready to include air plants into your home decor? Shop our air plant and succulent collection and enhance the style of your, or a loved one’s, space.