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This blogpost is to help you get to know your air plant and learn some important and interesting facts about its nature and how best to care for it. At the bottom of this page, there is a video showing air plant general care, stringing and care prior to gifting.
Typically, air plants are fairly low maintenance. In terms of watering, they generally should be soaked (preferably in rainwater, although tap water is fine) every 1-2 months for around an hour. Alternatively, misting the plant every 1-2 weeks is also viable, just make sure the plant doesn’t feel too dry or look like it’s losing its colour. It is essential the plant is left to fully dry before being strung back inside the ceramic jellyfish head to prevent any rot.
‘Tillandsia’ - the name that precedes each specific air plant - is the genus of mainly epiphytic plants (a plant that typically grows on another plant) of the pineapple family, native to tropical and subtropical America.
Tillandsia ‘Ionantha’ / ‘Ionantha Rubra’
Size: The Ionantha has small, medium and large variations. (Approximate dimensions) Small: W2.5cm x H4cm. Medium: W3.5cm x H6.5cm. Large: W4.5cm x 8cm.
Appearance: Typically green leaves with a frosty silvery base. The Rubra variation has more noticeable red tips. The base tendrils are sometimes looser - these can either be gently peeled off or left (this is sometimes an indication the plant is about to produce an offshoot). When blooming, the Ionantha produces a purple shoot tipped with a small white/yellow flower in the centre of the plant.
Nature: Native to Mexico, Costa Rica and parts of South America.
Care: The Ionantha variety of air plant loves sunlight, so it’s best to keep yours in a bright spot (but out of direct sunlight) with good air circulation. They should be misted with water weekly.
Size: The Argentea sizes range from small to medium, but with a wide spread of tendrils. (Approximate dimensions) Small: W8cm(tendrils)/W1.5cm(bulb) x H5cm. Medium: W10cm(tendrils)/W2cm(bulb) x H6cm.
Appearance: Very lightweight, spiky, thin green-silver leaves. The Argentea is naturally quite dry and feels delicate, however it holds its shape very well. During blooming, the central spike of the plant grows funnel-shaped flowers that come in a variety of colours (typically purple, blue and red).
Nature: Native to and typically grows in dry areas of Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba and Jamaica, and mostly grows on rocks and trees.
Care: Bright environment (out of direct sunlight), preferably humid with good air circulation. They should be misted with water weekly.
Size: The Pruinosa has small to medium variations in size. (Approximate dimensions) W2.5cm x H8cm - W3.5cm x H10cm.
Appearance: Large bulb with velvety tendrils that varies in colour from maroon to green. The brown base colour of the bulb is not indicative of an unhealthy plant, but it is actually due to the plants being in direct sunlight (which they like).The plant is usually larger during blooming and produces a pink bulb which sometimes emits purple flowers.
Nature: Native to Florida, Central America and South America. Sadly, in Florida, the Pruinosa is now considered an endangered plant due to insect damage and habitat destruction, and therefore its production is carefully monitored and they are typically rarer to source.
Care: This type of air plant prefers partial shade with good air circulation. Should be misted every couple of weeks.
Tillandsia ‘Caput (Medusae)’
Size: The Caput sizes range from medium to large. (Approximate dimensions) Medium: W2cm x H11cm. Large: W3cm x H15cm.
Appearance: Large bulb with thick, velvety, rigid, long light green-silver tendrils. The tendrils are snake-like, hence the Medusa(e) name. During blooming, the Caput produces tubular blue-red flowers.
Nature: Native to South America, mainly Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras.
Care: The Caput variety of air plant prefers bright-mild sunlight with ideally humid surroundings. Weekly misting is recommended.
Size: The Balbisiana sizes range from medium to large. (Approximate dimensions) Medium: W2.5cm x H18cm. Large: W3cm x H22cm.
Appearance: Grass-like, multiple long green leaves that have a tendency to curl. When blooming, it emits a long red/yellow inflorescence that produces purple flowers.
Nature: Native to Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, Colombia, West Indies and Florida. Typically found growing on trees in swamp areas. Sadly, similarly to the Pruinosa, it is considered a threatened species in Florida due to habitat destruction.
Care: The Balbisiana air plant can withstand direct sunlight, although still best to give it filtered exposure. A weekly misting is recommended.
Size: The Juncifolia air plant ranges from medium to large sizes. (Approximate dimensions) Medium: W2.5cm x H16cm. Large: W3cm x 20cm.
Appearance: Grass-like, long rigid tendrils that are sometimes tipped with a deep red colour. The latin name 'junceus' refers to something that is 'reeded', hence the natural long grass-like appearance of the Juncifolia.
Nature: Originally from Guatemala and parts of South America. It is a slow growing air plant that during blooming produces a royal purple flower.
Care: The Juncifolia likes bright but indirect sunlight with an ideally humid environment and good air circulation. Misting 2-3 times weekly is recommended.
For air plant general care, stringing and care prior to gifting, please watch our video below.