Falling for air plants

Undemanding tillandsias are the ultimate easy-care houseplants
By Julie Chai

Tillandsias are native to tropical parts of the Americas, where they live without soil on trees and rocks.

They’re easy to grow at home, inexpensive too―many are less than $10 each. (Buy plants at airplants4u.com or cactuscenter.com)

Display:  Highlight their sculptural shapes and subtle colors by propping them in tiny pots or by mounting them with wire onto hanging wooden plaques.

Water:  Tillandsias need regular moisture, so dunk them in water two or three times a week and shake them off well; don’t let standing water remain in contact with the plant. If misting is your only option, be sure to thoroughly wet them several times a week.

Light:  Give them bright indirect light, ideally placing them within 6 feet of a well-lit window. As a general rule, darkergreen smooth types like T. bulbosa can handle a bit less light than graygreen fuzzy ones such as T. leonamiana (left).

Fertilizer:  Feed tillandsias monthly from March through October with an orchid fertilizer diluted to quarter strength (dunk plants in the dilution or wet leaves thoroughly).