The Stunning Crassula Capitella Succulent

Would you like to grow your very own natural pagoda?

Yes, that’s right. In the heart of the wonderful world of succulents is an eye-catching perennial with multi-colored leaves that appear like a tiered tower of a pagoda. This fiery evergreen makes an attractive garden focal point and creates a gorgeous border around the edge of a sunny rockery. Meet the Crassula Capitella, the small but striking succulent that also goes by the names Red Flames, Red Pagoda and Campfire Plant.

The Stunning Crassula Capitella Succulent
Red and green succulent. @mes_succulentes

Origins of the Crassula Capitella

Crassula Capitella is natively rooted in South Africa, vibrantly thriving in the provinces of Transvaal, Mpumalanga, Free State, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. It is also prominently featuring in the landscapes of Namibia and Botswana. The plant is well known to the indigenous people of South Africa as a herb whose roots are dried and crushed into a powder that is used to heal wounds.

This succulent derives the name Crassula from the Latin word “Crassus” which means ‘thick’. This is referring to the size of the chubby leaves. The word Capitella relates to a specific epithet drawn from the Latin word “Capitellum” which translated means ‘small head’.

Be sure to also check out “Where Do Most Succulents Come From?” to see the origin of the rest of your succulent garden.

The Stunning Crassula Capitella Succulent
Succulent in well-draining pot. @myfellowfoliage

Crassula Capitella Succulent

This evergreen succulent has small, pointed, thick leaves that are firmly stacked on top of each other, attached to a stem. The leaves are narrow and tend to resemble a propeller. As the plant grows, the leaves start off as a bright, apple-green color. After that, the more sunlight the plant receives which makes for the leaves to form highlights at the tips and edges that range in shades, from deep purple, to blush red and intense orange.

The different hues are emphasized during the winter as the perennial takes advantage of bright sunlight and cool, long nights. When grown in shaded areas, the leaves of Crassula Capitella remain olive green in color, all year round. The leaves grow in the shape of a rosette, with larger leaves tightly packed at the base of the stem and smaller, spaced out leaves at the top tip of the stem.

Interested in these colorful succulents? Make sure you check out “5 Succulents with Red Flowers” here.

Crassula Capitella is an upstanding member of the plant society, in the sense that it tends to grow standing upright, ranging from 15 to 40 cm tall. Given the right conditions, this succulent can also spread around a 1-meter radius, but the tips of the stems will always try and face the sun.

Once a year, mostly during the summer, the stems sprout clusters of tiny, star-like, white flowers that become the feature attraction for bees and butterflies. This succulent also produces an elongated inflorescence forming from the stem, and the roots appear at the plant’s internodes, making rooting effortless if the stem is lying on the ground.

The Stunning Crassula Capitella Succulent
Crassula capitella with blueish hue. @dr_succs

Best Watering Conditions

No matter how faithful we try to be with our evergreen friends, sometimes things just don’t go as planned, for example, they may end up with no access to water for a short time period. The ever-forgiving Crassula Capitella turns out to be a super succulent! In addition, to storing water in the leaves like other succulents, it also saves water during the day. Thanks to the Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM), the succulent is able to open its stomata at night to absorb carbon dioxide, instead of during the day, which helps the plant reduce internal moisture loss due to evaporation. The plant’s hardiness enables them to thrive and survive in drought-prone areas.

That being said, however, the Crassula Capitella still requires a drink of water now and again. Try these water bottles out when its time to water your succulent. Likewise most succulents, one of the greatest dangers to these plants is over-watering. To be on the safe side, you would rather your plant be too dry as compared to too wet. Not sure why your Crassula Capitella is dying? Check out “Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off?”. Anyways, that is to say a good drink of water every fortnight should be sufficient and the timing can alternate depending on the weather. This succulent does not like bath time and would only require a short 10-minute soak in a saucer of water, then shaken off to drain excess water.

The Stunning Crassula Capitella Succulent
stunning decoration @succulentsssss

Best Lighting Conditions

To bring the best out of the leaf coloring, Crassula Capitella will do well with at least 6 hours of sunshine in a partially shaded area. The plant prefers light or porous, well-draining garden soil, like this one. Crassula Capitella can withstand some level of frost, but it does not do well in freezing temperatures. When small, brown dots start to appear on the leaves, this could be a sign of frost damage. If residing in areas with cold climates, place the plant in a container that can easily be relocated indoors during extreme temperature changes.

The Crassula Capitella is susceptible to mealy bugs and fungal diseases. It should be checked on regularly. This succulent can also fall prone to foliage edema which occurs from rapid changes in moisture. The plant is safe to have around curious animals. To clarify it does not fall under the list of toxic succulents.

The Stunning Crassula Capitella Succulent
Crassula capitella in the garden. @cactinaut

Propagation

This branching succulent propagates through offsets of leaf, root, and stem cuttings. To propagate the plant using a part of the plant, ensure that your cutting is approximately 130 mm long. Try these shears for those tricky cuts. After that, place the cutting in a tray with succulent potting mix or soil that is moist but not waterlogged. It takes about 4 to 6 weeks for the cuttings to take root and show new growth. During this time, it is advisable to occasionally water the plant to establish an extensive root system and after that, you can reduce watering to every fortnight.

Also check out “5 Tips for Propagating Succulents” for a more in-depth look at propagation.

The Stunning Crassula Capitella Succulent
Light green capitella succulent. @adelicadezadoamor

Pruning and Fertilizer

To elongate the life of the Crassula Capitella, firstly it’s suggested that you prune and replant your succulent after it flowers. Secondly, this succulent could do with an organic compost fertilizer, twice a year or if the soil is impoverished. Old foliage can be taken off with a sharp, clean knife before the new leaves start to emerge to maintain the pleasant and delightful look of your succulent. To really keep your Crassula Capitella thriving, every two to three years, especially in the early springtime, you could divide up the clumps and direct the succulent to grow in the direction you would like.

The Stunning Crassula Capitella Succulent
Stair pattern on crassula capitella succulent. @replantnl

Depending on your location and where you buy your plants from, Crassula Capitella range in price from $3.00 to $20.00. With a wide variety of colors available at select supermarkets, online, and at your local farmers market. Their intriguing shapes have become the latest trend for wedding planners and interior designers. They make absolutely brilliant ornamental gifts in an indoor container plant or hanging basket.

Thanks for reading! If you have a minute, drop us a line letting us know where you get your succulents from, and maybe we could compare notes, leaves, and succulents!

Also if you liked this post, make sure to check out related content like “What is a Cactus Plant?” or “5 Office Succulents You Wish You Had at Work”. And Be sure to join our ever-growing succulent community on  Facebook,   Instagram, and Pinterest!

Loved learning about this succulent and now inspired to add more to your collection?! (We don’t blame you) Check out Succulent City’s new line of ebooks covering topics from, “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor and Outdoor,” “Different Types of Planters,” and many more helpful in-depth ebooks. Head to this link to view our full line of ebooks and get started with our complementary guide.

Happy Planting!! 🌵

5 Types of Air Plants

Have you seen those plants that look like they are growing from nothing? With no soil anywhere near them and no visible roots, they are a sight-for-sore eyes as they dangle in the air from wire baskets, hooks and chandelier-like containers! You may have spotted some with furry, silver leaves or others with glossy leaves, while some present the most vibrant colored flowers.

These tiny, floating, evergreen perennials are known as air plants.

Air plants go by the scientific name Tillandsia, and there are over 650 varieties of this species! They are originally found hanging on for dear life in the tropical climates of South and Central America as well as southern parts of the United States.

Tillandsias have the unique feature of being epiphytes— which means they do not require soil but more rely on water and air to grow. This attribute has Tillandsias attaching themselves to trees, shrubs, rocks, fences and telephone posts, but they do not feed off the host.

These amazing, un-demanding plants are brilliant for decorating small spaces and look adorable peeking out of sea shells, against a piece of drift wood, suspended on wire baskets and vases or semi-enclosed in glass baubles.

If you are looking for a plant that looks more like a pet without the hassle of cleaning up after it, here are a variety of 5 types of air plants to add a kick of personality to your home or office.

And before you learn about them, sign up for a FREE 30-day trial of Amazon’s Prime Membership! Get that FREE 2-day shipping on all your new air plant necessities! Click here to learn more and sign up today. Think of this as a thank you gift from Succulent City for keeping up with our articles.

5 Types of Air Plants
5 Types of Air Plants @carmenmcnall

Tillandsia Caput-Medusae

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a plant that is referred to as the goddess of Greek mythology, Medusa? Absolutely yes! If the name alone does not peak your interest, you will be blown away by its thick, wide silvery-green leaves that curl as they grow, giving the impression of the snakes on Medusa’s head reaching out to you.

This gorgeous, evergreen air plant is a South American native, sprouting heavily in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Its leaves appear grey-blue in color and are arranged like rosettes. The twisting leaves grow from a bulbous base, can get to 25 cm long and have fine, grey hairs all around them.

T. Caput-Medusae pulls out all the floral stops as it blooms from spring to the beginning of summer. It produces delicate purple flowers that are about 3.2 cm long from a pale pink bract. Pups grow from the bottom of the plant after flowering and these can either be left to form a clump, or can be propagated when they reach 1/3 the size of the ‘mother plant’.

A fun fact about the T. Caput-Medusae is it can be mounted sideways or upside down and it will still grow straight in the direction they are in. These beauties do not abide by the laws of gravity like many other plants do. So you can hanging them in a planter like this one, or like this one and have no issues!

When looking for a truly unique looking statement plant, look no further than T. Caput Medusa. We promise that, unlike the myth, you won’t turn into stone when you stare at it!

5 Types of Air Plants
Tillandsia Caput-Medusae @flowerheartseverywhere

Tillandsia Cyanea – Pink Quill Plant

The Tillandsia Cyanea is an indigenous resident of the rainforests of Ecuador, boasting large, bright pink bracts arranged in the shape of a paddle, that gives it the name Pink Quill plant. Its Latin name, Cyanea, means ‘blue,’ and refers to the blue-purple hue of the flowers.

Peeping out of the sides of the fan-like quill are blue-purple-violet flowers, appearing at most 2 at a time and last for only a couple of days. The plant blooms during spring and autumn. The quill itself, which is technically the inflorescence of the plant, can stand tall for as long as 4 months, bringing a burst of color wherever it’s positioned.

This epiphytic perennial is unique because unlike most air plants, the Pink Quill can grow in soil, so you can plant it in a cool planter like this one! It has tough, dark green, grass-like leaves and can develop to be 20 inches (50 cm) high by 20 inches (50 cm) wide.

This hardy houseplant can handle dry conditions like a true champion, although it does like good air circulation and temperatures not below 7°C (45°F). This tropical stunner enjoys its moments in the sun, but direct, strong sunshine will leave the plant with sunburn.

Did you know that air plants, along with succulents, are trending in becoming decor for weddings? Take a look at this article and you’ll really be inspired!

5 Types of Air Plants
Tillandsia Cyanea – Pink Quill Plant @brandon_nxs

Tillandsia Ionantha Maxima Huamelula

Catching the eye of everyone who passes by is the Tillandsia Ionantha Maxima Huamelula or simply known as T.Maxima . When in bloom, this upright shaped plant proudly shows off bright hues of pink, purple, blue and green, while bearing a resemblance to an enchanting firework display.

The rare T.Maxima has thick, moss green, succulent leaves that burst out from a central point, with the leaves starting off dark green at the base and turning pinkish-red towards the tips when exposed to strong light. The plant generates multiple, striking purple flowers with yellow tips, producing more than 5 flowers all at once.

This air plant originates from Oaxaca in Mexico and has been known to grow up to 6 inches tall. The T.Maxima’s colorful and unusual form gives it that wow factor when mounted on a piece of bark or driftwood, if not sitting pretty in a terrarium. But to also keep up with their tropical theme, we thought you may like these flamingo planters!

5 Types of Air Plants
Tillandsia Ionantha Maxima Huamelula @mj.0512

Tillandsia Harrisii

The Tillandsia Harrisii is a very exceptional plant that is held dear to the hearts of many botanists, as it was named after an American air plant enthusiast named Bill Harris who was brutally murdered in Guatemala in 1985.

This distinctive air plant has silvery- grey leaves that are curled in a dense rosette along its stem and are usually falling towards one side. It is considered to be a caulescent species— which defines it as a plant that grows along a stem that is above the ground.

T.Harrissi displays a deep- red inflorescence that consists of 5 to 9 spirally positioned, purple- violet flowers with blue-violet petals and orange to red bracts. These magnificent colors create a sheer contrast to the grey-green leaves of the plant. As a slow grower, it may not produce blooms until after a year or two.

The T.Harrisii thrives under bright indirect light and away from full sunshine, so a sunny window or nook is the perfect spot for it. It also prefers moderate humidity with a good air flow to prosper. Try storing yours in a unique planter like this one, it’ll fit perfectly on your desk at work or night table at home!

This easy care plant is native to Guatemala and requires a CITES permit that certifies that the plant was sustainably grown and not collected from nature.

5 Types of Air Plants
Tillandsia Harrisii @pot_plants_windy

Tillandsia Stricta

The ever-popular Tillandsia Stricta is an evergreen air plant and a local resident of Trinidad, Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana and northern Argentina. The plant can take root on sand dunes as well as under tropical rainforests, making it a highly adaptable plant. According to its climate, Tillandsia Stricta may have soft flexible leaves or firmer rigid leaves and can vary in size and color.  

This air plant’s scientific name (stricta) translates to ‘erect’ and illustrates the upright habit of this plant. It also ties into the plants’ colloquial names; Upright Air Plant, Strict Tillandsia and Erect Tillandsia.

The Tillandsia Stricta is a clump-forming perennial with short stemmed leaves that grow into thick rosettes. This compact species has dark green leaves and produces attractive pink and white floral bracts when in bloom. The bracts hold a showy bright blue flower that sadly only lasts a day, although the bracts remain vibrant for up to 10 weeks.

Known to be one of the fastest growing species, the Tillandsia Stricta is a decorators dream— delivering an impressive colorful clump after a few years. They can be mounted on virtually anything, giving you creative leeway to go nuts with wood, ceramics, sea shells and rocks.

5 Types of Air Plants
Tillandsia Stricta @tamanhatijz

Care Tips for Air Plants

Air plants are slowly taking over the indoor plant world and you do not want to be left behind! There are some pointers to remember when taking care of air plants.

Check out our article, Check out Your Ultimate Guide on How to Care for Air Plants, for an extensive look!

Watering Air Plants

Too much water will kill your little one. Some air plants do well with the occasional misting once a week, especially during cold seasons. During the summer, the dunk and dry method works the best. Soak the plant for 15 minutes then shake off the excess water before putting it back in its home.

Here’s our article dedicated to watering air plants, check it out!

Sunlight for Air Plants

Air plants are naturally found hanging on to tree branches. This shows they flourish with a bit of shade or in bright, filtered or indirect light. They do not like baking under the scorching sun.

5 Types of Air Plants
Beautiful air plant display @flowers.by.roxanne

Curious to try out one of these 5 types of air plants? We would love to hear about your adventures as well as answer any questions you may have! Already own air plants? Show us your photos in our exclusive Facebook group, Succulent City Plants Lounge!

Ready to start your air plant collection? Let us help! Head over to Succulents Box, where you can sign up for monthly subscription boxes and get over 200 air plants and succulents delivered right to your door! Starting at just $5 a month, you can grow your air plant collections right from the comfort of your home! Click here to learn more and sign up today.

If you want to learn more about air plants, we have some additional articles to help! Air Plants vs Succulents, Everything You Need to Know About Air Plants, and 7 Rare Air Plants You Need in Your Home!

Head over to our Instagram and Pinterest accounts for daily succulent content!

Loved learning about this succulent and now inspired to add more to your collection?! (We don’t blame you) Check out Succulent City’s new line of ebooks covering topics from, “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor and Outdoor,” “Different Types of Planters,” and many more helpful in-depth ebooks. Head to this link to view our full line of ebooks and get started with our complementary guide. 

Thanks for reading, happy planting! ?

Your Ultimate Guide on How to Care for Air Plants

Racking your brains trying to come up with the best ways to care for air plants? Or just want to learn how to care for air plants before committing to buying some?

Make no mistake about it –air plants are not your ordinary kind of house plants. Although caring for air plants can’t get any easier, there are specific conditions that ensure tillandsia plants grow healthy.

Air plants are generally hard to kill and this makes even the most inexperienced gardeners seem like a gardening connoisseur when growing these plants. And that’s not all. Air plants have ridiculously few requirements not to mention the endless, creative ways to display them.

If you’ve been looking for something unusual to grace your living room décor, then you might find lots of luck with air plants. Terrariums, aeriums, bowls, seashells and even wire crafts are some of the many display ideas to show off your air plants.

So whether you’re a busy gardener or a recent house plant convert, caring for tillandsia plants is quite a snap. Let’s learn how!

But first…

What exactly are air plants?

Ultimate guide how to take care of air plants
air plant on driftwood @airplantartisan

What are Air Plants?

Air plants are naughty rule breakers. They don’t give a succulent about soil and pots with drainage holes!

These weirdos can grow anywhere as long as there is air, water and light. They’re epiphytes –a cool name to refer to plants that grow on hosts but don’t obtain nutrients from them. Air plants just use these plants for anchorage and support using their roots. Talk about clingy plants!

Yes, they got roots but they don’t use that to absorb water and nutrients. The roots are simply to attach to the host plants. So how the heck do these plants get their water and nutrients?

Leaves.

Wait, those thin, spiky tendrils? That’s right. These leaves possess fine hairs on the surface known as trichomes which actively absorb water and nutrients from the air.

Cool, right?

Also known as tillandsia, air plants hail from the tropical forests of Mexico where they grow on other plants as epiphytes. These have now been tamed and are popular living room aesthetics due to their fascinating looks. And since they don’t need dirt, they can be displayed in a myriad of ways.

Although mostly green in color, they usually come in different shades including silver which are believed to be more drought resistant. If all go well, they produce showy, teensy flowers during spring or summer.

air plant guide
pink & green air plant @tillandsia_bangkok

5 Reasons Why You Need a Tillandsia Plant

  1. Your living room or office décor will love it! They’re quite unlike any plant. The spiky tendrils set them apart and makes them look just so awesome! And beautiful.
  2. You don’t have to worry about what type of soil or potting mix is required. Air plants are dirt independent!
  3. Air plants can be displayed almost anywhere! Tillandsia plants are not bound by anything.
  4. They’re extremely low maintenance. Any forgetful farmer can have a whale of a time growing air plants. It’s super simple!
  5. Air plants take up very little space. These dainty plants economize on space and one can have many of them without worrying about where to place them.
  6. Air plants pair up gorgeously with succulents and other house plants.

Caring for air plants is a breeze if you ask me. Take note of the following pointers to have outstanding tillandsia plants all around your home, office or room.

Ultimate guide on how to take care of air plants
hanging air plant @airplantartisan

Is Airflow Important for Air Plants?

Yes.

Air plants are created in such a way that they thrive in environments with free flow of air. This is simply because they absorb nutrients and water from air in their native environment.

Side note: Air plants in glass terrariums look absolutely fabulous, just take a look at our favorite golden terrarium for air plants.

However, ensure the mouth is wide enough to ensure the plants are not suffocating inside. You definitely don’t want to end up with an empty terrarium.

Stuffing tillandsia plants in an air-deprived environment is only preparing them for failure. And hey, we’re not saying you buy a blower or a fan just for your air plants. That would be outrageous!

Just ensure they’re getting adequate airflow wherever you display them. In other words, they shouldn’t feel as if they’re claustrophobic. They’re called air plants for a reason right?

air plant guide
garden of air plants @airplanthub

How to Water Air Plants

A common air plant faux pax is that these plants absorb all the water and nutrients from the air and so they don’t need to be watered. That’s a big fat lie.

Don’t fall for it!

Living room and office environments are nothing compared to the forests where these plants are native to. The former has dry air while the latter is humid and a perfect environment for air plants to thrive in.

Watering air plants doesn’t have to be college algebra, who remembers those days? However, doing it the wrong way may kill your tillandsia plants. It’s much harder to kill these plants by under watering rather than overwatering. To water your air plants like a pro keep reading!

Ultimate guide to taking care of air plants
tiny air plant @reipy_s

What types of water is good for air plants?

Since tillandsia plants get most of their nutrients from water, it’s paramount to feed them with nutritious water. Of course, the best bet is rain water as it contains a lot of nutrients and minerals. Take a look at this highly rated rain water collection system from Oatey if you want to give this a shot.

Unfortunately, this might not be readily available in many households. An awesome alternative may be spring water as it contains numerous nutrients. If that seems far-reaching as well, you can go for well water, creek water, pond water or lake water. Tap water is a good option too.

Avoid distilled water because it is deprived of all minerals and nutrients, your air plant definitely doesn’t want this.

air plant guide
colorful air plant @airplanthub

Misting your air plants

Air plants growing in a dry climatic environment will benefit greatly from regular spritzing using a normal spray bottle. If you’re not normal, check out this really cool vintage glass spray bottle, it could be a great decoration item too! Keep in mind though, spritzing your air plant occasionally can’t be used as a sole watering method, there’s a better way.

It must be complemented with other watering methods as trichomes can’t absorb adequate water from misting alone. Think about it, on hot summer days a good misting will cool us down normally but not until we get a refreshing bottle of cold water will it help dramatically.

Same thing with air plants, misting will help alleviate dehydration for only a few, use more adequate watering techniques below to compliment misting.

air plant guide
flourishing air plant @sgfloraandfauna

Dunking your air plants in water

The Perfect on-the-go watering method for busy times.

If you don’t have enough time to give your plant a soak, then this is the best way to water your plants until you get time to properly water them. Simply dunk your plants several times in a pool of water for about 20 minutes and you’re done. Using bright colored buckets like these might make the watering process more fun!

Yes, that easy! (Anyone remember the red “That was easy!” button from staples a long time ago? Comment RED in the comments below if you do).

Ultimate guide on taking care of air plants at home
air plant sprouting @ryokumouzoku

Soaking your air plant for an hour

The most recommended watering method to end up with healthy plants.

Submerge your plants in a bowl or sink full of water and let them sit for an hour. Don’t submerge blooms as they can get destroyed. After the bath, pull them out and set them upside down so that all water can dry out before returning them to their displays.

Placing them on a drying rack of some sort will make it easier to achieve full dryness, don’t let your air plant sit on a counter in its own water bath, it won’t dry properly.

Also in terms of frequency, give them a soak once a week.

air plant guide
flowering air plant @fruitfulnmultiply

How Much Light do Air Plants Need?

Tillandsia plants prefer bright, indirect light for a few hours every day. In the jungle, these plants grow on rocks, woods and other trees away from direct sunlight. Although you can subject them to the morning or evening sun for a few hours, avoid hot direct sun as this will lead to sun burn.

Any window in your house can get the job done in regard to lighting especially west or south facing windows. Poorly lit spaces will lead to deformed and ugly looking plants. In case natural lighting may not be sufficient, then go for artificial grow lights.

air plant guide
family of air plants @liezestockmans

What Temperature/Climate is Good for Air Plants?

Frost and freeze cold temperatures? No way.

Air plants just won’t survive in such conditions. Let temperatures be above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and that shouldn’t be a biggie if you’re growing your tillandsia plants indoors.

Bring those outdoor plants in when temperatures go below 32 degrees.

Conversely, subjecting your air plants to extremely high temperatures will make them dry and parched, yep even air plants need adequate hydration like us too!

Ultimate guide on taking care of air plants at home
air plant terrarium @planties_in_a_twist

Is Fertilizing Tillandsia Plants Okay?

Air plants do get hungry. The air that is supposed to be a source of nutrients for them is no doubt full of pollutants and toxins. Tillandsia plants will appreciate feeding once a month or four times a year.

Use air plant specific fertilizer or bromeliad fertilizer. You can also use diluted regular houseplant fertilizer. Add the fertilizer to the water and soak your air plants in it. This is also applicable in misting or dunking.

Your plants won’t die if you fail to fertilize them. But if you want vivacious and healthy plants, some feeding would go a long way. Don’t be excessive on the frequency though, a little here and there goes a long way!

How Do I Display or Mount Air Plants?

There are dozens of ways to display air plants. You can stick their roots on a wood or a stone using super glue. Popular air plants designs also feature glass baubles which gives a stunning aesthetic. Additionally, you can set them on sea shells and wire baskets.

When displaying your plants, ensure the display surfaces are free from chemicals, rust or toxins which may be detrimental to your plants’ health.

air plant guide
pair of air plants @arbora.verd

Do Air Plants Bloom?

Yup.

Air plants can reward you with brilliant blooms if you treat them nicely. With lots of varieties to choose from, it can be a bit tricky to offer a generalized formula to follow for these blooms to occur. Several factors come into play but mainly it all boils down to the variety and the environment.

Tillandsia plants bloom only once in their lifetime. They do this at maturity. The mother produces pups which eventually grow and flower while the mother plant dies off, unfortunately.

To get your air plants to flower, look for plants with a couple of pups. This is because the plant in its maturity stage and will soon bloom.

Air Plants Don’t Have Pests Right?

False.

Fortunately, air plants are hardy and robust and are usually not susceptible to many pests though. But, you may have to deal with a few mealy bugs and scale insects from time to time. But that shouldn’t be huge deal. Simply use 70% isopropyl alcohol or neem oil to knock them off their socks!

Ultimate guide in taking care of air plants at home
mounted air plants @planties_in_a_twist

Think you can handle the air plants now? We think so. If you have any questions be sure to ask our exclusive group at Succulent Plant Lounge, our members here help each other almost daily!

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on The Most Common Issues Amongst Succulent Growers or even Succulent Drainage Requirements today!

Let us know here on Succulent City if you plan to buy some air plants and which one you want to buy. Thanks for reading with us and of course, happy air planting! ?

Everything You Need to Know About Air Plants

We have a confession to make—air plants aren’t actually succulents. But we really want to share them with you anyway! They’re super easy to grow and maintain just like succulents. They don’t even require soil, so they’re the perfect no-mess houseplants!

Air plants look great in arrangements with succulents and are some of the cutest little plants around. They have thin, ribbonlike leaves that grow in clusters, so we think they look a lot like pom poms!

We know that succulents are your main squeeze, but we hope you have a little room left in your heart for air plants. If you want to know more about these wispy little wonders, keep reading! (We thought it’d be good to switch it up a bit from succulents from time to time).

But if you still want to read about succulents check out this amazing article we just published about why succulents are so popular.

What are Air Plants?

So if air plants aren’t succulents, what are they? And why are they similar to succulents anyways?

Air plants, which are also called Tillandsia, are epiphytes. Epiphytes are a group of plants that grow on trees and other plants. Some epiphytes you’re already familiar with are orchids, ferns, and mosses like Spanish moss.

Epiphytes aren’t parasitic, so they don’t have any kind of negative effect on the trees they grow on. Since air plants are epiphytes, they don’t steal nutrients from their host plants—they derive those from the air, water, dead leaves and debris.

Most air plants absorb nutrients through their leaves since the main purpose of their roots is to anchor them to other plants. How crazy is that?

Air plants have special structures called trichomes that allow them to absorb nutrients. Trichomes are those white, fuzzy, hairlike structures on the leaves of air plants. (Almost as fuzzy as this shaggy blanket). They kind of look like mold at first glance!

Don’t be fooled though!

Trichomes are made up of a bunch of dead and living cells that swell up whenever they come into contact with water. As they swell, they stretch out and cover the whole leaf, which traps the water inside the plant. From there, the water gets absorbed into other cells and is utilized.

You may be wondering… how is this even possible? A plant that doesn’t need soil to survive and lives off the air? That’s crazy talk.

When we first heard about air plants, we were skeptical too! But the more we learned about them, the more we realized that the way they grow makes sense given their environment. Most air plants are native to tropical rainforests that have lots of competition for sunlight and water. There’s a dense, thick canopy of trees in these rainforests that prevents sunlight and water from reaching the ground.

Tillandsia adapted to grow on trees so that they didn’t have to compete with all the plants on the ground for sunlight and nutrients. They grow high up so that they’re closer to sunlight, rain, and nutrients from the dead leaves that fall from the canopy. Pretty genius, huh?

How Do You Plant Air Plants?

Most people don’t have huge trees growing in their houses, so they plant their air plants in glass terrariums, hanging metal planters, and even in sea urchin shells.

You can also grow Tillandsia on a piece of driftwood, but they may have a little trouble sticking on their own. You can use a small dab of glue to mount your plant to the wood without hurting it.

The most important thing to remember is that your air plants should not be planted in soil. If you do, your plants might rot!
You can layer sand, rocks, and moss in their terrarium or planter instead.

Everything you need to know about air plants
@ary_plants

Types of Air Plants

There are around 650 species of Tillandsia, so there are a lot of plants to choose from! To help you narrow your search for the perfect air plant, we’re going to talk a little bit about the two different types of Tillandsia—mesic and xeric.

Xeric Tillandsia are a lot like succulents—they’re really good at soaking up water because they’re native to hot, dry climates like the desert. Since they have lots of trichomes that can soak up water effectively like a scotch brite sponge, xeric types don’t need to be watered as often as mesic plants.

Mesic Tillandsia, on the other hand, are native to humid, tropical rainforests. Since water is more readily available there than in the desert, they didn’t develop as many trichomes as xeric plants. Since your home isn’t a hot, steamy rainforest with lots of water vapor for your mesic plants to soak up, you’ll need to water them more often! We’ll give you some watering tips for both types of air plants in just a sec.

Since the water needs of these two plants are different, knowing which type you have is important. You can tell if a plant is mesic or xeric by looking at its leaves.

If it’s covered with a bunch of white, fuzzy hairs, then it’s probably a xeric Tillandsia. If it has smooth leaves without a lot of fuzzy tricohomes, then it’s probably a mesic plant.

Watering Air Plants

Now is a great time to talk about watering Tillandsia!

There are a few different ways to water air plants that you should know about. The first way you can water them is by giving them a bath! You can place them face down in a garden tub or sink full of water and they’ll absorb all the moisture they need.

Your Tillandsia can stay in there for up to two hours depending on how much time you have and how much water they need. If their leaves are dry, brown, or crispy, they’re going to need that long, two hour soak. If they’re looking healthy but they’re mesic types, then you should also give them a bath that’s on the longer side once per week. But if you have xeric plants, putting them in the bath for half an hour or less once a week should be enough.

Everything you need to know about air plants or tillandsias
@ary_plants

If giving your plant babies a bath just like real babies sounds a little too extra for you, you can dunk them in water instead. Grab a bowl and fill it up with some water, and then dip the top of your plants in the water for a minute or two. You can even rinse them under the tap for a minute or two if you prefer.

Depending on the type of plant you have, you should dip it between one and four times a week. Mesic Tillandsia will need to be dipped three or four times a week, while xeric Tillandsia will get by on just one or two waterings.

After soaking or dipping your plants, you should put them in an area with good air circulation so that they dry out quickly. Plants that don’t dry out within four hours are likely to rot, so put them near a fan, in front of an open window, or somewhere else with good airflow. Make sure that you don’t put your plant back in its terrarium or hanging planter until it’s completely dry!

if you have a laundry drying rack laying around, be sure to use this. It’s perfectly set up so that your air plants get the air circulation it needs in order to dry completely.

If your plant looks a little parched in between soakings, you can mist it a bit with any spray bottle, which is the final watering method we’re going to talk about.

You can use a spray bottle to mist and moisten the leaves of your plant. If they’re planted in a metal hanging planter like this one from Mkono or on a piece of driftwood, you won’t need to move them or remove them from their container to mist them, so  it’s a pretty convenient way to water your plants.

If misting is your primary watering method, though, you’ll need to do it at least three times a week to make sure your Tillandsia get enough water. Mesic types may even need to be misted every single day! So even though misting seems like a convenient way to water your plants, it can actually turn into a real hassle if it’s the only way you water them!

Misting isn’t the absolute best way to water your air plants—soaking them in water will actually keep them healthier. So we recommend that you don’t rely too heavily on misting and mix things up. You should soak your plants at least twice a month to ensure that they’re getting the kind of deep watering they need to stay healthy.

Do Air Plants Need Sunlight?

Air plants definitely need sunlight, but not quite as much as succulents. If you put them in direct sunlight for a few hours, their moisture supply will get depleted, so put them someplace where they’ll get bright but indirect sunlight.

We like to keep our air plants a few feet away from a bright window using a cute window sill planter like this. If you keep yours outside, make sure to put them somewhere with plenty of shade like a covered patio or porch.

As for temperature requirements, air plants do best in warm temps between fifty and ninety degrees. Luckily your home is right in that temperature range, so your air plants will do great indoors!

Tillandsia do not do well in freezing temperatures, so keep that in mind if you’re growing them outside.

Fertilizing Tillandsia

Just like succulents, Tillandsia don’t need a lot of fertilizer. You can fertilize them up to once a month, but you don’t have to. Using a fertilizer designed for air plants or bromeliads on them a few times a year is more than enough.

If you can’t get your hands on bromeliad fertilizer, then pick up some regular houseplant fertilizer at your local garden center and dilute it to one quarter strength before you apply it to your Tillandsia.

Propagating Air Plants

Air plants flower, but right after they do, they die! Sad, right?

Don’t despair, though! Tillandsia have a lifespan of several years and can be propagated before they die. So you’ll have lots of baby plants around to comfort you when it’s time to say goodbye to your mature plant!

Before they bloom, Tillandsia produce offsets, which are baby plants that pop up around the base of the main plant. Offsets stay connected to the main plant until you divide and remove them.

When the offsets are small, it’s best to keep them connected to the main plant, but once they get bigger, you can separate and replant them. We like to wait until our baby Tillandsia are about a third of the size of the main plant before dividing them.

All we do to divide our plants is grab them by the base with our hands and gently pull them apart. Avoid grabbing the top of the plant because you may accidentally rip some of its leaves off! Once the plants are separated, you can mount them or plant them wherever you like.


There you have it! That’s everything we think you need to know about air plants.

What do you think of these cute little plants? Have they made it onto your wishlist? Let us know in the comments below or in our exclusive Succulent Plant Lounge community. Many succulent lovers share their experiences and questions in there.

Loved learning about this succulent and now inspired to add more to your collection?! (We don’t blame you) Check out Succulent City’s new line of ebooks covering topics from, “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor and Outdoor,” “Different Types of Planters,” and many more helpful in-depth ebooks. Head to this link to view our full line of ebooks and get started with our complementary guide. 

Happy planting!



How to Water Air Plants

I know, I know—these cute little plants are just to die for! Don’t have soil? No worries! They don’t need it anyway. They absorb nutrients and water through trichomes which is just a fancy name for the fine hairs located on the leaves. (Kind of like our fine hairs on our arms).

This presents endless possibilities on creative ways to display them. From those adorable teensy terrariums to seashells, or anything really, air plants don’t mind at all.

Just check out these modern wall planters that air plants can snuggle in!

With their attractive spiky tendrils, these epiphytes are no doubt a got-to-have in every living room. And if you’re a brown thumb looking for some bragging rights, air plants got you covered.

These trendy plants are low-maintenance and so you can get away with some little negligence. Less maintenance and easier to take care of than your traditional succulent plant, count me in!

Losing an air plant is a sad affair. Though hard to kill, these plants will collapse on you due to several reasons. The most common however, is in regard to watering. To have a healthy air plant, the following watering best practices are valuable.

What are Air Plants?

Air plants are part of the Tillandsia genus which consist of about 650 species. Native to Mexico and the Americas, air plants are epiphytes, which means they grow on other plants and emerge from stem crevices or tree branches. Their roots can also attach on rocks and other shrubs just for support as the roots can’t take in water or nutrients.

In their native tropical rainforest habitats, air plants survive by absorbing water in the humid environment though their leaves. Unlike other plants, these rule-breakers don’t require dirt to grow, just air.

Think air plants are cool yet? If you want to get some for yourself check out where to buy succulents, there might be some sources there for buy air plants too.

Do Air Plants Need Water?

A common myth associated with growing air plants is that since these plants grow in the air, they don’t need water. This is fueled by the fact that they absorb water from the atmosphere and so they can survive long periods with little or no water. If you follow such advice, you’ll soon end up with a withered plant.

While it’s true air plants absorb water from the atmosphere, the environment they’re grown in has a huge bearing on this. Their native tropical rainforest habitats are very humid and they get along pretty well.

In home settings however, the humidity is nothing close compared to the forests out there and so they have to be watered just like any house plant.

One way to water your air plants is to soak them in water. We recommended using a large bowl like this or something similar.

What Type of Water is Used for Air Plants?

Since air plants don’t grow on soil, they solely depend on water to get their minerals and nutrients. Therefore, the best water for air plants would definitely be rain water.

Here’s a neat little tool you can use to collect rain water for your air plants when it rains.

However, this may not be easily accessible and so you may opt for spring water. You may also use creek water, pond water, well water or lake water.

If you can’t get a hold of any of these options, then tap water can be utilized. Your last option should be soft or distilled water. It has little nutrients and minerals—not suitable for air plants as they depend on these nutrients for growth.

Mistakes to Avoid when Watering Air Plants

Thanks to the current digital age, it doesn’t take long for misinformation to spread rapidly. And this has been true when it comes to watering air plants.

Hordes of air plant enthusiasts have lost their plants due to such misleading advice. Avoid the following like the plague…

Assuming there’s sufficient water in the air

Don’t let the name “air plant” fool you. Air plants won’t get all the water they need from the air especially when growing in the living room or office.

Sure, they may absorb itty bitty amounts of water through their trichomes but that is nowhere close to what they need to survive. Depending on the climate of your surroundings, you might need to water your air plants once a week.

Excess humidity due to wet bed

Nothing spells disaster for air plants more quickly than a wet bed. They’ll be susceptible to rot. Planting air plants with plants that require constant moisture like moss plants is not recommended. Air plants flourish on dry medium. Avoid very enclosed containers as this may lead to increased moisture leading to rot.

Ways to Water Air Plants

Watering air plants doesn’t have to be a high-brow process. The following ways are ideal when it comes to watering air plants.

Misting

If you live in an arid area, your plants will appreciate periodic spritzing using a spray bottle similar to this.

It’s important to note that this method can’t stand in as the only means o watering your plants. It should only complement other watering methods. The trichomes on the leaves are unable to absorb enough water through misting.

Dunking

If your plants are thirsty and you’re in a rush, you can give them a quick drink to last them the whole day by dunking them in water.

To do this, just submerge the plant in water once or a few more times and they’ll be good until you have enough time to give them a thorough drink. Like a short swim!

Tips for watering air plants
@zoiascreations

Soaking

Giving your plants a full bath is the best way to water your plants.

This ensures that trichomes have enough time to absorb water and nutrients. To properly soak your plants, fill a bowl with water and fully submerge your air plants.

For much bigger air plants and depending on their number too, you can opt for the bath tub or sink. Be extra gentle with air plants that have blooms and don’t submerge the buds. Let the plants stay soaked in the water for at least one hour, on a weekly basis on the minimum side.

To remove the plant from the water, hold it from the base and pull it upside down, shaking it gently to get rid of excess water. Use water at room temperature to avoid shocking your plant.

Drying Air Plants

Once you’ve figured out how to successfully water your plants, what follows is leaving them to dry out right after their bath time. Lay them on a colander, towel or a dish drying rack and set them in a brightly lit area for two to four hours.

Also ensure the area has plenty of air circulation—they’re air plants, remember?

Only return your plants to their display after they’re fully dry to prevent water from accumulating inside the plant which will ultimately result to rotting.

How Frequently Should I Water my Air Plant?

Watering air plants at home
@airplantdesignstudio

This largely depends on the climate in your area.

While, air plants grown in humid areas may do well with watering only once a week, those in drier areas may need frequent soaking. You can also look dehydration evidence on your plants.

A parched air plant has curly leaves with a dull color while a hydrated plant has open and wide leaves.


Think you’ll give air plants a try now? If not, here’s some rare succulentsyou can check out.

But for those that want too, it’s actually not that hard to care and water air plants. Let us know if you end up trying to care for some air plants, we’ll have more articles about this soon. In the meantime, happy planting!

Has this helped you at all? Be sure to share with a fellow green thumb, i’m sure the info will help them too!

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

>