Have you always wanted to grow an air plant but don’t know the proper care methods? So, this post is a perfect guide for beginners on growing hanging plants like an expert.
Taking care of air plants is pretty simple, but there are proper methods to do it. And before we go any further, let’s go over some basic details about this type.
What are Hanging Plants Exactly?
Hanging plants, also known as “Tillandsia,” are perennial tropical plants that thrive in places with high humidity and a warm climate. Most often found in the central and southern parts of America and Mexico, in deserts, mountains, and woodland regions. And in non-tropical places, they are commonly seen as popular houseplants or indoor plants.
These types of plants are pretty famous for their distinct form. Tillandsia is a unique plant with over 600 genera that grow differently from any other traditional plant we are familiar with today. Also, they’re special in the sense that they don’t require soil to develop. So, how will they make it? Instead, they use their specialized leaves (trichomes) to absorb moisture and nutrients from the air, mist, pollen, and decomposing matter.
Here are interesting trivia facts about them:
- They are epiphytic
In our natural environment, you’ll find them attached to other plants, which is why they’re called “epiphytes”. Plants that grow atop another plant are known as epiphytic plants. They may adjoin into the side of the tree, or onto other matter, but they are not getting moisture or nutrients from it. To get nutrients, they are absorbing moisture from the air via their foliage. In other words, their foliage absorbs whatever is in the air around them, which is why they are called aerophytes.
- They have distinctive reproduction
More information about Tillandsias. The species may reproduce through pollination and seed formation but not engaging in self-fertilization. They are not developed nor produced for their blossoms; thus, the pollen must come from another plant of the same genus that surrounds them. Some species may take months or years to bloom and form offsets, depending on the species. They then die, having the pups flourish and continue to grow sooner or later.
- Environmental adaptation
Variants with thin leaves are frequent in areas with abundant rainfall, whereas thickened-leafed types are prevalent in droughty places like deserts. And most of them, not all, can survive a wide range of temperatures, ranging from 32 to 10 degrees Celsius (90 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit). Even some species can endure nighttime frosts as cold as -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit).
- They do not grow in topsoil
They are epiphytes, which means they cling to tree trunks, for example, rather than rooting in the ground. Don’t try them on the ground.
- Their roots do not absorb nutrients
Their roots serve as stable supports that let them stick to whichever surface allows them to grow on.
- They are in fact plants, despite their unusual attributes
They, like all other plants, require light, water, and suitable temperature. Even if you can have them grow without the benefit of soil, they still need those factors to live (I’ll go through proper care guidelines in greater detail below).
- They absorbed moisture & nutrients from air through their foliage
- They only produce blooms once in their lifespan
Flowering is the finale of their life cycle. Therefore, after blooming, it will die.
- They do not self-fertilize
They are pollinated by another plant of the same species nearby.
- Tillandsias enjoys warm temperature the most
Temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius are excellent for growth, with a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 30.
- They can be decorative
These unusual and lovely plants are perfect for adorning your empty walls without taking up too much space.
Where to Buy Them (Shopping Advice)?
Despite their large number in warm areas, most people were unaware that hundreds of tropical Tillandsia classes could be cultivated readily indoors, despite colder outdoor conditions.
If you’re interested but don’t know where to get it, the easiest way is to browse Amazon for a range of alternatives. You can make a few exciting displays with their overall pick that comes in sets. Their assorted bundle or hand-selected is ideal for presents or as a starting point for your new aerophytes collection or hanging displays. And also offers a bulk package which is particularly advantageous as full displays, suitable for party favors and presents. Amazon, without a doubt, is a one-stop shop for all of your needs with great deals and reasonable prices.
You might be able to appreciate them up close if you have access to plant shops and garden centers nearby that specialize in Tillandsias, terrariums, plant arrangements for weeding, and event favors.
Types & Varieties
With over 600 species to choose from, the selection may be overwhelming. However, based on our years of experience, we can help you whittle down your options by recommending our top picks.
Before, they were a rare choice in a commercial but are now more popular and utilized in various hanging garden uses. While some species may be in pots, the majority are on pieces of tree bark or in air-suspended chunks. A hanging grid array with the collection of different variants allows more excellent air circulation.
1. Tillandsia Ionantha
Also known as a sky plant. One of the most popular choices for adornment, partially because it is super tough and does not die quickly. Their extended layers of silver-green leaves develop into hues of crimson and pink as they mature, making them incredibly beautiful. And before it blooms, its hue turns violet. It necessitates bright, indirect light.
|Care Tip #1||Bright and indirect light. Watering once a week.|
2. Tillandsia Xerographica
The broad flat gray-green leaves twist like ribbons making it appear like the shape of a rose. And, although the new, thinner leaves emerge from the center of the rosette, the broad outer leaves stand out in a showcase with smaller hanging plants.
|Care Tip #2||It needs less water than other variants. Spraying or misting is preferable. Do not soak them.|
3. Tillandsia Paleacea
Due to its overabundance of trichomes, it is one of the most drought resistant. For people who live in warmer places, this is the ideal accessory. It doesn’t need to be watered as regularly since it absorbs more water from the air. It has a velvety violet floral when it is in blossom.
|Care Tip #3||Doesn’t need frequent watering.|
4. Tillandsia Stricta
This species can live in a variety of climates. It has a wide range of leaves since it lives in a wide range of temperatures and environments. The many leaf varieties range from rigid to stiff to soft, with the majority being silver or light green in color. This bloom, however, will only survive a day, while the colorful foliage below will persist for around three months.
|Care Tip #4||Bright filtered light. Fresh moving air in well-ventilated space. When watering, remove it and carefully shake off excess moisture from the leaves to prevent rot.|
5. Tillandsia Ionantha Druid
It is an eye-catching ionantha variant. The majority have brilliant green leaves with fluffy trichomes. As it matures, its leaves will spread outward. It will begin to fade to a sharp yellow tone if overexposed to bright light. This plant is unusual in that it does not turn flush red but instead turns a brighter yellowish-white then blooms with a stunning white blossom.
|Care Tip #5||Bright & indirect light, and frequent watering. When you observe the leaves starting to dry out, mist them more often.|
6. T. Brachycaulos
This variant is ideal if you want a gorgeous hanging plant for your display collection. Unlike other variants that pollinate with the same breed, this variant is ready to cross-pollinate with different kinds. And it is pretty adaptable to a variety of temperatures and situations. It usually is bright green, but before flowering, it will flush beautiful colors of purple and crimson. A vivid purple bloom of flowers emerges from the center once it has blossomed.
|Care Tip #6||It prefers bright, daylighting, and watering at least once a week.|
7. T. Cacticola
This species forms a rosette shape that develops upward along the stem (caulescent). Because of the abundance of trichomes, they have light grey-green leaves and a gentle fixture. When it blooms, it creates a long-lasting cluster of lavender and white flowers. Drought-tolerant species, although not a prolific propagator; nonetheless, one or two offsets develop after blooming.
|Care Tip #7||It prefers brighter light. The abundance of trichomes means less watering.|
8. T. Fasciculata
It is a large growing species, so it is known as the “Giant Air Plant.” Because of its size, its magnificent long-lasting inflorescence can endure for more than a year. It is widespread on solid substrates such as driftwood and rock because it does not hold water. Its vibrant red and green bloom remains appealing.
|Care Tip #8||It loves abundant sunshine. It needs regular watering dunking and spraying is more recommended than soaking. Shake them thoroughly and allow them to dry before re-displaying.|
9. T. Harrisii
It’s a caulosecent species with lovely soft leaves. It is ideal for inexperienced growers. It has silver-grey leaves with many trichomes in a rosette form. It can grow over 8 inches tall, with a gorgeous red inflorescence and stunning purple flower.
|Care Tip #9||It needs filtered bright indirect light with moderate humidity.|
What is the Average Lifespan of Epiphytes?
The genus entirely determines their typical life cycle. Some may last only a few days, but not more than two to four weeks. On the other hand, larger species bloom for a considerably more extended time, about a year.
To extend the life of your blooms. Proper attention must be taken. Some species are sensitive to direct sunshine, while others do not require frequent watering. Because their leaves can not absorb water, soaking may result in rapid withering.
Aerophyte is convenient and easy to maintain. They have a white, fuzzy coating on their leaves, especially after a good watering. They dry in one to two hours if not exposed to adequate light. That is why light and water are so vital to them—the detailed guidelines for caring for this lovely tiny species are provided below.
Recommended Soaking Procedures (Care Tip #10):
- Fill a clean tub or plastic container with pure filtered tap water. Distilled water is not recommended since it removes essential nutrients. Make sure to put enough water to submerge it thoroughly.
- Once a week, remove from the pot and immerse in water for 15-30 minutes. You can soak several in one container at the same time. If it can’t be unmounted from the surface, moisten it with water until the leaves are dripping.
- Allow it to dry upside-down after soaking so that mists drain away from the crown thoroughly; Otherwise, it may settle and cause rot.
- Allow for 30 minutes of air drying. Place the clumps upside down on a paper towel. Return to their proper receptacles when dry.
To keep yours healthy, repeat the process weekly; if you notice the leaves becoming pale-green and having soft textures, water it more often. Reduce watering every two weeks in cold climates.
Sunlight Requirements (Care Tip #11):
- Every day, 4-6 hours of bright, indirect sunshine is recommended. Do not expose them to direct sunlight as this will quickly scorch their leaves.
- Arrange them within 3-5 feet of windows facing plenty of bright, filtered sunlight.
- Hang a sheer drape between the plant and the window if your windows get direct sunlight.
- If you don’t have a bright, sunny window in your home, invest in a fluorescent lamp explicitly made for providing full-spectrum light to plants. Set it up 6 to 8 inches above the plants for 12 to 18 hours every day, contemplating the natural light they receive.
The correct quantity of light ensures your plant healthy, vibrantly colored leaves. Insufficient light causes pale leaves and sluggish development, while excessive light causes the leaves to become brown, dry, and stiff.
Recommended Watering Procedures (Care Tip #12):
- Water them lightly every 2 to 3 days all year round, except during winters. Winter is their dormant season, so less water requirement is needed.
- Use room temperature water to prevent cold stress. Cold stress leads to brownish leaves and a stiff texture.
- Aside from giving them moderate misting, perform the recommended soaking produce as explained above, particularly the larger genus.
By nature, these adorable species absorb moisture on their own, but they also require watering when displayed indoors.
If they don’t get enough water, the leaves weaken and bend up, becoming overly dry. Take them out and soak them overnight. Shake them off to dry the following day and restore them.
Tillandsia Hanging Display Ideas & Tips
They are pretty adaptable and may be utilized as beautiful displays in your dull room because they do not grow on soil. Taking advantage of the absence of soil, most homeowners use them in various ornamental displays, including hanging them.
Choosing the Perfect Hanging Vessels
In a variety of different vessels, hang them from the ceiling or near the window. Ygou may use any vessel you choose as long as it has enough holes for airflow. These are some of the planters we have come across on different sites, great for decorative purposes. Make sure to check out the reference below so as to get up on the wall in the most decorative way possible.
- Macrame hanging
- Hanging pot
- Metal hanging basket
- Metal hook basket
- Mesh basket
- DIY coconut pot
- Hanging frame shelf
- Upcycle birdcage
- Hanging beaded
- On the wall solution
- Dish hanging
- Tiered system
- Flower ball
- Hoop embroidery
- Upcycled tire hanging
- DIY mason jar hanging vessel
- Moss ball
- Upside-down hanging
- Upcycled plastic bottles
- Wood basket hanging
- Hanging wooden stand
- Hanging metal bowl
- An array of hanging boxes
- Crescent moon design hanging vessel
- Wooden vertical hanger
- Hanging holder
- Modern epiphytic sphere
- Leather hanging
- Floating shelf
- Hanging lamp
- Wire hanger
- Tiered holder
- Rustic hanging
- Dried palm frond hanging
- Glass jar string knotted
- Floral hoops holder
Be resourceful enough to enhance your vessels/holders with artistic embellishments or integrate them with other beautiful elements.
Dealing with the Weight of the Plant + Plot (Care Tips #13)
Now, take into account the weight of the object from which you are hanging. You can estimate what type of bolt will be used this way. To secure lighter objects, use a toggle bolt.
- A hole may need to be drilled at the position.
- Hold the bolt’s toggle end and push it into the hole.
- Gently pull on the screw to ensure secure placement.
Care Tips #14
When working with heavier objects, use a stud finder to identify the ceiling beam and ensure the object is secured to the beam rather than the drywall.
- To attach to the frame, use eye bolts with lag threads.
- Drill through the beam thoroughly.
- Put the screw in place.
They are very versatile and easy to keep and it goes well with different display ideas.
Design #1. Modern Hanging Ceramic 2-pot Set Holder for Succulent Epiphytes
|Vertical hanging to save space|
|Simple and minimalist design|
|Suitable for indoor and outdoor|
|Consists of high-fired porcelain and black metal frame|
|2 pack package comes with; 2 pack iron frames, 2 pack iron pots, 2 blue jute ropes|
|Perfect as a gift for friends and loved ones|
Design #2. Spiral for Tabletop Display for Indoor Decor, Wedding Gift, or as a Centerpiece (MOCTUS)
|Vertical hanging to save space|
|Simple and minimalist design|
|Suitable for indoor and outdoor|
Design #3. Wooden Frame Display Holder (ARTIOGS)
|Made of natural wood size 11”x11”|
|Versatile for indoor/outdoor|
Design #4. Rattan tillandsia frame holder (GALAPARA)
|Natural wood 5.9”x7.9”|
|Non-toxic, no harmful substances, all-natural, environmentally-friendly|
|Attractive wooden design|
Design #5. Pieces Sea Urchin Hanging Shell Pots (PATELAI)
|9.45-10” in length with 6 different colors and sizes|
|With holes in the bottom and top for airflow|
|Featuring colorful crystal glass shells (fragile)|
Design #6. Wooden Plate Air Holder (HOMU)
|Rubberwood in a plate-shape|
|Real solid rubberwood with natural wood grain and color|
|7.5 long 3.0 wide|
|Rustic accent for any applications|
Fertilizer Feeding (Care Tips #15)
- Feed them with a dose of liquid water-soluble fertilizer every four weeks.
- A 10-5-5 ratio is ideal.
- Lessen the strength of the fertilizer to ¼ strength as recommended.
- Mist it with the solution in the morning.
When they are appropriately fertilized, they will grow stronger and have a vibrant color. Inadequate fertilizer can slow growth, while too much will cause the leaves to be dark and dry.
Is Tillandsia Toxic to Dogs and Cats?
Even still, we recommend keeping your plants out of their reach; otherwise, your Tillandsias may suffer from stress and eventually die. You may also put them in a terrarium to keep them safe and serve as a fantastic design element.