Small space gardening

Everything you need to know to plant in containers, leverage vertical gardens, and more

Falling for air plants

Undemanding tillandsias are the ultimate easy-care houseplants

Tillandsias

T. leonamiana

Thomas J. Story

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Tillandsias
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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).

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