Awesome Airplants

26 Awesome Airplants – Detail Review

The name “air plant” refers to any of the about 500 species of flowering perennial plants in the Tillandsia genus, which is part of the Bromeliad family. Their roots don’t need dirt to grow. Instead, they take water from the air.

This group of plants includes Spanish moss, which grows on other plants. Air plants live in places that are warm, dry, and have strong, filtered light.

In their natural habitat, they grow on trees and are attached to the bark. Even though they live for a long time in warm places, they are often grown as houseplants and do well under fluorescent lighting.

Air plants used to be rare in commercial settings, but now they are popular and used in many different types of hanging gardens.

Some species can be grown in pots, but most are hung in the air from bark or driftwood. A hanging grid is another popular way to show off air plants because it groups them together and lets air flow through them well.

There are now many different kinds of air plants in garden stores. Some are very small and need to be seen up close to be appreciated.

Even though there are many kinds of Tillandsia, many of them don’t have well-known names. They are instead just called “air plants” or “sky plants.” They could also only be sold by the name of the species.

No matter what you call them, here are 25 types of air plants to try for indoor gardening.

Gardening Tips

Most air plants are not grown in soil, so they need to be watered in a different way. Spraying your plant a little bit twice or three times a week can keep it from drying out.

This is especially important in deserts or places where the air is dry in the winter. When the air plant looks like it needs water, leave it in the kitchen sink overnight.

Awesome Airplants

The next day, it will start to grow again. If your air plant is in bloom, gently run water over it instead of submerging it, which could hurt the flowers.

Sky Plant (Tillandsia ionantha)

The sky plant, or Tillandsia ionantha, is a popular type of air plant. There are many cultivars of this plant, but the basic species is the most popular, in part because it is so hardy and hard to kill.

The plant is also pretty, with layers of silvery-green leaves that get redder and pinker as the plant grows and spreads. This happens right before the violet flowers bloom on the plant.

  • Native Area: Mexico, Central America, South America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 6–12 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

‘Druid’ Sky Plant (Tillandsia ionantha ‘Druid’)

As interest in air plants rises again, growers are trying to give them more unusual colors. The “Druid” cultivar is not like the species Tillandsia ionantha, which has red leaves. Instead, it has peachy-pink leaves and white flowers. Most of the time, this plant is not very big, but it is pretty.

Awesome Airplants

  • Native Area: Mexico, Central America, South America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 2–4 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
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‘Maxima’ Sky Plant (Tillandsia ionantha ‘Maxima’ or ‘Huamelula’)

The Maxima, which is also called “Huamelula,” is a good air plant to look at if you want one that stands out.

It can take more sunlight than other air plants and has a lot of flowers at once. Before the plant’s beautiful purple flowers open, the leaves turn a coral red color. This type of air plant grows to be 5–6 inches tall and 3–4 inches wide, which is pretty big for an air plant.

  • Native Area: Mexico, Central America, South America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 5–6 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade; does well under fluorescent light

‘Fuego’ Sky Plant (Tillandsia ionantha ‘Fuego’)

“Fuego,” a small but showy variety, has been trained to keep flushing for a long time after it blooms. The bright colours of the leaves last for months.

Awesome Airplants

The plants are only about an inch tall, but they grow quickly. This kind of air plant could be the highlight of your collection or a topic of conversation at your tables.

  • Native Area: Mexico, Central America, South America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 1/2–3 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Pink Quill Plant (Tillandsia cyanea)

It is easy to understand why Tillandsia cyanea is called the pink quill plant. The bracts are pink and spread out like a feather.

Purple blooms stick out from the sides. This species can be grown on soil, which is different from other air plants. It doesn’t need it at all if there is a lot of water around.

  • Native Area: Ecuador
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 8–12 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Mad Pupper (Tillandsia aeranthos bergeri)

Tillandsia aeranthos bergeri is known as “Mad Pupper,” which is a funny name. It is one of the most popular air plants because its flowers are bright.

In the spring, spikey pink and blue flowers grow on it. This species is easy to care for and likes bright, indirect, or fluorescent light, as do most types of air plants.

Awesome Airplants

  • Native Area: South America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 6–10 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light; does well under fluorescent light

‘Kolbii’ (Tillandsia scaposa ‘Kolbii’)

Several types of air plants tend to grow sideways or in strange ways. Kolbii looks like a bunch of celery because it grows in a tight cluster and stands straight up. It’s not a very big plant, but when its leaves turn pink before it blooms, the fine grey fuzz on them really stands out.

This type, like many others, is called Tillandsia kolbii, T. scaposa var. kolbii, and T. inonanta var. scaposa, among other names.

  • Native Area: Guatemala
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 2–5 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Brachycaulos (Tillandsia brachycaulos)

The leaves of the brachycaulos air plant (Tillandsia brachycaulos) grow out from a central growth point. As the plant gets ready to bloom, it turns red. You might even find plants with red-dyed leaves that make them look like they are blooming.

Awesome Airplants

Most of the time, this plant is small, growing to about 3 inches tall and 4 inches wide. However, some varieties are taller. The hybrid Brachycaulos x Concolor was designed to stay bright green.

  • Native Area: Mexico, Central America, Venezuela
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 2–8 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Bulbous Air Plant (Tillandsia bulbosa)

The bulbous roots of Tillandsia bulbosa give the plant its name, but the twisted, thin leaves are what make it stand out.

Some bulbous air plants have leaves that look like tentacles and turn purple or red right before they bloom.

When grown outside, Tillandsia bulbosa and ants work together to help each other. Ants live in the bulbs because they are hollow in some places. In return, the plant eats the waste that the ants leave behind.

  • Native Area: Southern Mexico, Central America, South America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 4–7 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light or partial shade
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Cacticola (Tillandsia cacticola)

Cacticola (Tillandsia cacticola) is hard to grow because it doesn’t make many offsets. On the other hand, this air plant is admired for its beautiful lavender flower.

Awesome Airplants

It has a rosette of silvery-green leaves, from which grows a tall stalk that holds the flower 8 to 9 inches above the plant. It gets its name from the fact that it tends to grow on top of cacti.

  • Native Area: Peru
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 3–9 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

‘Peach’ Air Plant (Tillandsia capitata ‘Peach’)

The thick leaves of the Tillandsia capitata “Peach” plant are surprisingly soft to the touch. They make a rosette of silver-green leaves that turn pink as they get ready to bloom.

The peach colour is very different from the purple bloom. The tallest plants are 5 to 8 inches tall, but most are only 2 to 3 inches tall.

  • Native Area: Mexico, Honduras, Cuba, Dominican Republic
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 2–8 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light; will tolerate full sun

Circinata (Tillandsia circinata)

Tillandsia circinata has thick, silvery-green leaves that make it look like a fennel bulb, even though it is an air plant. Circinata plants grow to be 6–8 inches tall and about 1 inch wide at the base. They have yellow or purple flowers.

Awesome Airplants

  • Native Area: Mexico, Costa Rica, Bahamas
  • USDA Growing Zones: 10–11
  • Height: 6–8 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light or partial shade

‘Cotton Candy’ (Tillandsia stricta x T. recurvifolia ‘Cotton Candy’)

Tillandsia stricta and T. recurvifolia got together to make cotton candy. It has long, thin leaves that are silvery and look like spider dahlias.

It was grown because of its bright pink flower spike with bracts that look like they are blown up. For this species of air plant to bloom well, it needs a lot of light.

  • Native Area: Nursery hybrid; parent species are native to South America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 5–6 inches (12 inches is possible)
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Loliacea (Tillandsia loliacea)

Loliacea (Tillandsia loliacea) is a real charmer if you like small air plants. The plant itself rarely grows taller than 1 1/2 inches, but its flower stalk grows another 2-3 inches to show small yellow flowers.

Awesome Airplants

These small air plants look great perched on wood or packed together in terrariums, where they can soak up extra water.

  • Native Area: Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 1–3 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Didsticha (Tillandsia didsticha)

Didsticha, or Tillandsia didisticha, is a big plant that can grow up to 1 foot tall when it’s fully grown. The plant’s base sends out a spray of gray-green leaves that are thin and pointy.

The flower stem with pinkish bracts and small white flowers grows from them.People often look into the cultivar “Burnt Fingers.”

  • Native Area: Bolivia, Brazil
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 6–12 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Dyeriana (Tillandsia dyeriana)

Dyeriana (Tillandsia dyeriana) has bright orange flowers that look like they belong in the tropics. The real blooms are white, but the bracts make them look less beautiful.

Awesome Airplants

This is one of the few species of air plant that can be grown in a pot, where it is more likely to get enough water. It can grow between 12 and 18 inches tall in a pot. Make sure this air plant stays moist.

  • Native Area: Mexico, Central America, Ecuador
  • USDA Growing Zones: 10–11
  • Height: 3–12 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Giant Air Plant (Tillandsia fasciculata)

Tillandsia fasciculata is different from other air plants in that it has many common names, such as enormous air plant, quill-leaf air plant, cardinal air plant, and wild pineapple.

This is one of the most common air plants, and there are hundreds of different kinds and hybrids of it. The plant makes a beautiful flower that lasts for weeks and is red and green.

  • Native Area: Mexico, Central America, West Indies, northern South America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: Up to 3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
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Flabellata (Tillandsia flabellata)

Tillandsia flabellata grows tall and in the shape of a vase. It has a spray of red flower spikes that are often called candelabras. The flabellata is a big air plant that can get as tall as 12 inches.

  • Native Area: Mexico, Central America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 6–12 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Argentea (Tillandsia fuchsii var. garcilis)

The argentean air plant, which used to be called Tillandsia argentea, has a base that looks like a pincushion and long, thin gray-green leaves.

The Tillandsia fuchsii var. garcilis plant is fragile and only gets 5–6 inches tall and 1–2 inches wide. The orange-red flower is very showy and delicate.

  • Native Area: Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Jamaica
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 5–6 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Funkiana (Tillandsia funkiana)

These long air plants bend and twist into strange shapes and sometimes spin around themselves. Funkiana (Tillandsia funkiana) is a small plant that only grows to about 2 inches tall.

Awesome Airplants

This makes it a great choice for a terrarium or a desk plant. As with many other types of air plants, the leaves turn red as the plant gets ready to flower. The yellow flowers on the inflorescence are also red.

  • Native Area: Venezuela
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 1–2 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Gardneri (Tillandsia gardneri)

Gardneri (Tillandsia gardneri) looks like a small yucca because its leaves are light grey and come to a point. It is a bigger air plant that can get as tall as 12 inches.

Most air plants need bright light and warm temperatures. This species is a good choice if you can’t give them what they need. It’s pretty easy to work with, but it still needs a lot of water.

  • Native Area: Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, eastern Brazil, Venezuela
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 4–12 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Ball Moss (Tillandsia recurvata)

Tillandsia recurvata is also called “ball moss” and “little ball moss.” It looks like a nest because it has a bunch of thin, gray-green leaves that arch upward and a long lavender flower spike.

This air plant grows wild in the southeast of the U.S., and it has a strange habit of letting its seeds grow while they are still in the seed pod. Because of this, it is very easy to spread.

  • Native Area: Southeastern U.S., Central America, Chile to northern Argentina
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 2–6 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

‘Pink Bronze’ (Tillandsia stricta ‘Pink Bronze’)

“Pink Bronze,” which has leaves that look like pineapples, will get a hint of pinky-bronze colour if it is put in bright, strong light.

Awesome Airplants

The big pink and purple flowers, on the other hand, are the stars of this show. This air plant is often used as a single plant in tiny teardrop-shaped terrariums.

  • Native Area: Trinidad and Tobago, South America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 6–12 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

‘Whitestar’ (Tillandsia ixioides x T. recurvifolia ‘Whitestar’)

Whitestar is a cross between Tillandsia ixioides and T. recurvifolia. It is much bigger than either of its parents, though.

The bracts are a rosy pink colour, and the flowers are cream to yellow in color. The plant moves because the silver-gray leaves are curled.

  • Native Area: Nursery hybrid; parent species are native to South America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 6–12 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light

Xerographica (Tillandsia xerographica)

The air plant xerographica (Tillandsia xerographica) has unusually wide, flat, gray-green leaves that curve like ribbons.

Awesome Airplants

The new leaves in the middle of the rosette are much thinner, but the wide ones on the outside stand out in a group of smaller air plants. When you don’t water the plant, the leaves curl in a pretty way.

  • Native Area: Mexico, Central America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 9–11
  • Height: 6–15 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light; will tolerate some direct sun
See more articles in this category: Outdoor Plants

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