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Air plants, these two words are enough to make a novice gardener wonder how varieties of plants grow. Air plants (Tillandsia genus) are epiphytes, meaning they grow on other plants, typically on the branches of trees.
While the concept of these plants may seem quite unusual, these are one of the best options to consider if you are a beginner looking for plants that do not need much care and attention.
Sky Plant (Tillandsia ionantha), Pink Quill Plant (Tillandsia cyanea), and Mad Pupper (Tillandsia aeranthos bergeri) are some of the easiest air plants to grow as they are incredibly hardy and low-maintenance.
There are around five hundred different species and varieties of air plants. All of them usually have leaves that are either strap-shaped or slender triangle-shaped. Air plants typically grow rosette, with new growth appearing from the center.
So, if you are planning to grow plants that offer a unique and aesthetic look to your home, air plants are something that you should consider. Here are 20 incredible air plants that you can quickly grow at your home:
1. Mad Pupper (Tillandsia aeranthos bergeri)
Mad pepper is as fun and vibrant as its name is. A sought-after air plant, mad pupper is known for its vibrant blossoms that bloom every spring and produce spiky pink and blue blossoms. Tillandsia aeranthos bergeri is a low-maintenance species that thrives in bright and indirect light. Fluorescent light would also work if growing indoors.
2. Funkiana (Tillandsia funkiana)
We have to admit; air plants do have some quirky names. Funkiana (Tillandsia funkiana) is a tiny species that will be a good pick for small homes or a great addition to your office desk. Funkiana only grows about 2 inches high and offers stunning red leaves as it prepares to blossom and produce vibrant yellow blooms.
3. Argentea (Tillandsia fuchsii var. garcilis)
Initially known as Tillandsia argentea, the air plant has a bulbous base that is often compared to a pincushion with long and slender grey-greenish leaves and has orange-red inflorescence. The plant is quite dainty and grows about 5 to 6 inches tall.
4.Flabellata (Tillandsia flabellata)
Unlike most air plants that grow in a rosette of thin leaves, Flabellata has vase-like shape leaves with red blossoms scattered over them. It is also often called a candelabrum owing to its peculiar yet aesthetic shape. Flabellata can grow up to 12 inches high, making it a large air plant.
5. Giant Air Plant (Tillandsia fasciculata)
Talking about big air plants, the Tillandsia fasciculata can grow up to become a whopping 3 feet plant. The Giant Plant has around a hundred types and variants producing red and green flowers that blossom for weeks!
6. Dyeriana (Tillandsia dyeriana)
If you are looking for an air plant that will bestow a tropical vibe to your home, you should go for Tillandsia dyeriana. Its vibrant orange inflorescence looks quite exotic. Another thing that makes this air plant different from others is that it can be grown in pots. And they can grow quite large when potted, around 17 inches high.
7. Didsticha (Tillandsia didsticha)
Another big air plant is Didsticha which can grow up to 1 foot high when fully mature. While the leaves of this air plant are pretty thin, pointed, and have a greyish-green color, the flowers have pinkish bracts and tiny white blossoms.
8. Loliacea (Tillandsia loliacea)
If you are fascinated by those sweet miniature air plants, Tillandsia loliacea would be your ideal pick. Growing just around 1.5 inches high, this air plant would not take up a lot of space and looks exceptionally stunning.
9. ‘Cotton Candy’ (Tillandsia stricta x T. recurvifolia ‘Cotton Candy’)
Cotton candy is a stunning-looking air plant, a hybrid variant of T. recurvifolia and Tillandsia stricta. Known for its long and silvery leaves, it looks similar to spider dahlia. It is bred for its spectacular pink flower spike, while the bracts look as if they are inflated. All it needs is a lot of bright light to thrive in your home.
10. Circinata (Tillandsia circinata)
With thick, lush, and silvery-green leaves, Tillandsia’s circinate offers quite a wholesome look. It will instantly enhance the overall look of your room. Circinata usually produces flowers that are either yellow or purple. Also, this air plant grows around 6 to 8 inches in height but is not quite broad.
11. ‘Peach’ Air Plant (Tillandsia capitata ‘Peach’)
Another air plant with thick leaves is the Tillandsia capitata ‘Peach.’ Despite its thick, sturdy, and luscious leaves, it is pretty soft to the touch. Forming a silvery-green rosette and transforming it into a peachy tone while getting ready to blossom, this air plant is a great way to add some pop of color to your room. The peach air plant is average in size and grows about 2 to 3 inches high, while the largest specimens can grow up to 5 or even 8 inches high.
12. Cacticola (Tillandsia cacticola)
Although rare, Cacticola is one of the most sought-after air plants, mainly because of its stunning lavender blossoms. The air plant gets its name from its habit of growing on cacti. It does not produce a lot of offsets which explains its scarcity. But if you ever get a chance to grow, you should make the most of it. Its silvery-green leaves forming a rosette and holding its blossoms around 9 inches above the plant makes it a real charmer.
13. Bulbous Air Plant (Tillandsia bulbosa)
Known for its narrow and twisted leaves, the unusual bulbous air plant resembles tentacles. The air plant derives its name from its bulbous roots while its leaves change to vibrant colors, red or purple before they are all ready to bloom. You can also plant it outdoors and witness having a symbiotic relationship with ants because the bulbs of this air plant are somewhat hollow, making it an ideal home for ants. The plant uses up the waste left behind by the ants.
14. Brachycaulos (Tillandsia brachycaulos)
Tillandsia brachycaulos grows outward from its focal growing point, usually growing around 3 inches high and spreading 4 inches across. However, some cultivars are a little bigger. The plant turns red when it gets ready to flower. It could be a fantastic option if you are looking for a tiny air plant with an aesthetic interest.
15. ‘Kolbii’ (Tillandsia scaposa ‘Kolbii’)
While air plants are famous for growing sideways, having twisted and contorted leaves, Kolbii stands out as it grows upright in a tight cluster resembling a bunch of celery. Although it is not a huge plant, it will surely grab a lot of attention owing to its delicate grey fuzz present on the leaves. And you can not miss out on its blush pink color as it prepares to bloom.
16. Sky Plant (Tillandsia ionantha)
The sky plant has to be one of the most famous air plants. While it is available in several cultivars, the primary species remains the most popular. It is because it is pretty hardy and low-maintenance. Moreover, the plant altogether looks excellent with its layers of silvery-green leaves. These leaves turn into shades of pink and red as the plant matures and produces violet blossoms.
17. Pink Quill Plant (Tillandsia cyanea)
Doing justice to its name, the pink quill plant produces pink bracts and purple blossoms that fan like a feather. And similar to Dyeriana, the pink quill plant can also grow in soil. However, it prefers growing without it. All it needs is plenty of moisture to thrive!
18. ‘Pink Bronze’ (Tillandsia stricta ‘Pink Bronze’)
One of the best things about this air plant is its pink and purple inflorescence. Pink bronze is a charmer with its rosette of leaves resembling a pineapple. Be sure to pick a spot that gets enough direct light for this air plant if you wish to witness its pinky-bronze hue.
19. Gardneri (Tillandsia gardneri)
The larger air plant, Tillandsia gardneri, looks similar to a small yucca. It has pale greyish leaves that taper towards the end, making them spikey and pointy. The plant grows up to around 12 inches high and requires enough moisture. This particular species will be a good pick if you live in a region that does not get a lot of bright sunshine and remains a little cold – something that many air plants do not usually prefer.
20. Ball Moss (Tillandsia recurvata)
Ball moss is one of the most peculiar air plants. It has a shape of a nest and leaves that are thin and greyish-green in color. It can grab a lot of attention with its tall lavender flowers. It can be as small as a golf ball or grow as big as a soccer ball. Some of their preferred spots are ropes, wires, and fences.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you water an air plant?
You can dunk or soak your air plant or spray some water on the leaves every couple of weeks. Here is an article to help you better understand how to water or mist your air plants.
Do air plants purify the air?
Studies have shown that houseplants can help purify the air indoors in minimal amounts, which is usually negligible in a realistic domestic setting.
Where do air plants come to originate?
Most air plants are natives of tropical regions in South America, Mexico, and Central America.
How do I know if my air plant is healthy?
Check your plants’ leaves for clues on whether they are thirsty. Dry curl leaves and a healthy white fuzz mean your plant is healthy, not necessarily drying out. Brown leaf tips and a general shriveled appearance are other clues you are under-watering.
How long do Tillandsia flowers last?
If you have a Tillandsia, the bloom will often last 2-3 weeks. Unfortunately, getting the flower wet will shorten the bloom length – so only submerge the flowering tillandsia halfway during this period.
Air plants are highly versatile, making them a favorite amongst novice gardeners. Moreover, they do not require much care and attention while offering an other-worldly vibe to your home. And if you are looking for air plants that are extremely easy to care for, you should read this article.
So, are you ready to get some air plants for your home? No matter where you place them, they are bound to turn heads. And since they do not require soil to grow, you can use spaces that usually wouldn’t lend themselves to potted plants—a fantastic way to add some greenery and freshness to every nook and corner of your home.