Easy-Care Air Plants


Tillandsias literally grow on air. That’s why these diverse members of the bromeliad family that derive moisture from the atmosphere are favorites for terrariums, as well as plant collectors. Here are some tips for their care from Rainforest Flora, one of the world’s largest growers of air plants.

        If growing indoors, place tillandsias near a window with bright light. They will survive there for 30 days with no other care.

        To water, mist the plant. Take care not to overwater, which can cause rot, or underwater, which causes the plant to dry out.

        If the plant is underwatered, the leaves will curl. Reverse this by submerging the plant in bottled water overnight.

        When watering or soaking tillandsias, use bottled water or rainwater rather than tap water.

        If growing tillandsias outdoors, be sure they get lots of light, regular water and fresh air to reduce the chance of rot.

        To feed tillandsias, use a specialized fertilizer with a form of nitrogen easily accessed by the plant’s leaves. Epiphytes Delight is a good choice.

Paul Isley
Rainforest Flora
19121 Hawthorn Blvd., Torrance

Learn more about these fascinating plants at the March 11 meeting of the San Diego Horticultural Society featuring speaker Paul Isley, co-founder of Rainforest Flora. 6-8:30 p.m. Surfside Race Place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Free for members, $15 for nonmembers. sdhort.org

Categories: Gardening