Air Plants (Tillandsia ionantha) also knows as Sky Plants are are native to the southern U.S., Central America, South America and Mexico. They are some the most fascinating and beneficial plants to have in the home.
For decorative purposes, the bromeliad tillandsia ionantha can be used to make very interesting, artistic modern displays. They can be mounted on almost any kind of object. You can mount them on bark slabs, candle sticks, wood, cork, rocks, sea shells, or place them in small ceramic pots without soil.
They also make very attractive terrariums when displayed in glass globes with colored sand, or river pebbles and a figurine to add drama.
You can purchase a kit with all the ingredients needed for a fantastic tillandsia tree DIY project. Create displays that can be placed on your desk, tabletop, or be given as gifts. It looks great anywhere, especially in glass globes hanging from the ceiling.
They are easy to care for, resistant to pests and diseases and very forgiving. These tiny, delightful plants only grow to 4 inches in diameter and about 2 inches (5-10 cm) in height. When mature, they produce striking purple flowers followed by pups that can be used to increase your collection. They have miniature rosettes of grayish green grass-like leaves which do an excellent job in removing impurities from the air.
They are epiphytes or sky plants and a member of the Bromeliad family which means they don’t require soil to grow. Epiphytic plants survive by clinging to trees or other objects for support. They extract all their water and nutrition from the air through the scales on their leaves. All though their roots are exposed to air, they are only used for anchoring to objects for support.
Light: Place your air plants in a well-lit out of direct sunlight. You can achieve this by keeping it in an area within 6 feet of a window or supplement with an artificial light source.
Watering: When kept indoors, plants should be watered 2-3 times a week to remain in optimum condition. The plants must not be allowed to dry out. If the leaf edges start curling up – submerge your plants in water for an hour to rehydrate them. If they are in a container, make sure they are completely dry before they are put back into the container. You can also mist your plants as needed in between watering, but it should not be used as a primary source for providing moisture.
Ventilation: Supply plant with abundant air circulation. Even though sky plants will do well in containers, it is recommended that they do not be displayed in enclosed containers. Air circulation should never be restricted.
Humidity: The plants should be misted on a daily basis if your environment is constantly being dried out from A/C or heaters. They require more moisture than a plant that is located in a more humid environment. Mists with filtered or bottled water between soakings.
Fertilizing: Fertilize lightly once a month with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength-- recommended on the label. You can use Bromeliad or orchid fertilizer is ideal.
Temperature: Plants should be kept warm. 50- 90 is the best range for these plants to thrive in. When the temperature drops to 50° F (10° C) it initiates flower formation. Blooming time is in late fall-winter.
Propagation: Tillandsia ionantha are easily propagated by removal of offshoots that form as the plant matures and completes its bloom cycle. These offshoots or babies are known as "pups".
Grooming: Trim away any brown or dead leaves off your plant with scissors. Always trim leaves of your Air Plant at an angle to achieve a natural appearance.