Air plants are so cool, that even the common varieties seem rare to us!
Here’s a fun fact, all air plants can grow without any soil. Isn’t that amazing? No other plant can do that… sounds pretty rare to us already!
But today, we thought we’d share some real rare air plants with you. These plants are on the list because they’re hard to come by or because they have unusual characteristics that are just worth checking out.
If you’re a Tillandsia (air plants) collector, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on these seven rare air plants, so keep reading for some hard- to- find air plants!
Tillandsia Ionantha ‘Druid’
The leaves on Tillandsia Ionantha plants usually turn bright red in direct sunlight, but this special cultivar is different. Its leaves grow in clumps and turn a beautiful orangey pink color before they bloom and after they soak up a lot of sunshine. The rest of the time, the leaves are a green color.
This cultivar also has different colored blooms than the original plant—they’re bright white instead of dark purple. We like the colors of this cultivar better because they look so tropical! Plus the bright colors just scream rare!
What do you think?
This rare air plant has a ton of white fuzz on its leaves, but it’s not mold—it’s trichomes! Trichomes are structures on the leaves of air plants that help them absorb nutrients from the air and water. Very few air plants have this many fuzzy trichomes on their leaves, so that’s what makes the Tillandsia Tectorum a rare air plant!
This plant may look like it’s covered in snow, but it’s actually native to the deserts of Peru. It does quite well in the heat and doesn’t need much water to thrive. Its abundance of fuzzy trichomes help it absorb and store lots of water, just like succulents!
We recommend you check out our watering air plants article if you’re unsure of how much water you need to give your air plants, which isn’t that much at all.
This rare air plant got the name “Cacticola” because it grows on cacti—how cool is that! It’s hard to find because it doesn’t produce very many offsets unfortunately, but it’s worth tracking one down.
It produces beautiful lavender blooms that grow on a long stem high above the plant. The flowers last for a few months, which is a little unusual for a flowering air plant, so you’ll get to enjoy them for a while!
This plant is prized for its flowers, but we think its leaves are pretty cool too. They’re silvery green, slightly curly, and form a pretty rosette.
Tillandsia Cacticola plants are native to northern Peru, so they like moderate humidity, plenty of bright, indirect sunlight, and warm temperatures. If you do manage to get your hands on one, remember to take good care of it!
Tillandsia lonantha ‘Fuego’
“Fuego” means fire in Spanish if you didn’t know, and these little air plants sure are fiery! They turn bright red before they bloom and retain that color for a few months after, which is unusual. Usually air plants revert back to their original color shortly after blooming, which is why we’re calling this cultivar a rare air plant!
These plants only grow to be two inches tall, so they’re great for small terrariums. Check these hanging terrariums out from Mkono, they’re so cool and the perfect size for these tiny fiery air plants!
Even though they’re small, they’ll be the star of your plant collection with their bright red leaves and vibrant purple, yellow, and red blooms! Especially if you use those terrariums we mentioned, they’ll be the star of the room or home!
Tillandsia Streptophylla plants are known for their beautiful, curly leaves. Their nickname is actually Shirley Temple (not to be mistaken from the cocktail) because their curly clumps of leaves look a lot like her hair!
Tillandsia Streptophylla plants are native to Central America, Mexico and the West Indies, so they’re used to drier climates. They’re considered to be xeric plants, so they retain water well and don’t need to be watered too often. If you’re guilty of frequently forgetting to water your plants, then this is the one for you!
This rare air plant is especially hard to find in a large size, so bonus points if you can track down a jumbo one! If you get your hands on a Tillandsia Streptophylla that is quite large, let us see it in the Succulent City Plant Lounge, i’m sure all the exclusive members would love to see your beautiful plant!
Tillandsia Funckiana V. Recurvifolia
This is the rarest variety of Tillandsia Funckiana, and we can see why! Its leaves are extremely unique and look like pine branches. Its leaves also recurve, or bend backward, which is how this variety got the name “Recurvifolia.” Neat, huh?
Tillandsia Funckiana plants are native to Venezuela, so they like bright, indirect sunlight and warm temperatures. They’re pretty hardy, though, so they’re good plants for people who don’t have the greenest thumbs!
Tillandsia Bulbosa Belize
This large rare air plant got its name because of its round, bulbous base. It has smooth, wavy leaves that remind us of snakes. A lot of people say this plant looks like a sea creature, though! Not sure if that’s scary or awesome…
This Tillandsia is native to Belize and is another one that’s hard to kill. It doesn’t need very much water—you can get away with misting it twice a week. The only thing it doesn’t handle well is low light, so make sure you put it in a bright corner of your home! If your home is lacking sunlight but you want to keep this plant indoors, you might need to bring on the handy grow light from a reputable company like Ankace.
Those are the seven rare air plants that we think you need to complete your air plant collection!
Which one is your favorite? We love the Tillandsia Tectorum because it looks like it’s covered in snow! Let us know which ones you love in the comments section below or join the conversation in the Succulent City Plant Lounge.
Thanks for reading about these rare air plants, if you know an air plant that deserves to be on this list, please don’t be shy, let us know below!
Happy planting! 🌱