pretty petals – air plants

April 17, 2014

We know that aren’t really that pretty, nor do they contain petals, but air plants have been one of the most popular botanicals in our shop this year, so they deserve a blog column to call their own.

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Air plants are epiphytes:  they feed from water and nutrients absorb through their leaves.  They are not considered parasitic because they only rely on their host for support.  They have roots, but these are only used to hold on to  another plant or structure.  They are indigenous to regions with warm temperatures and high humidity – often found under a tree canopy.  Did you know that over half of all orchids are air plants?

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These strange little plants come in all shapes and sizes.  Air plant’s needs are very basic: diffused light and regular watering.  Although their care is very straight forward, the ownership of an air plant is not for the forgetful.  Air plants are not forgiving if you forget to water them, so be certain to set up a regular schedule and stick to it!  The easiest and more effective method of watering air plants is to give them a bath.  Fill a bowl (or the sink depending on your plant’s size) with tepid water and completely immerse it for 15 minutes.  Then, gently shake the plant to get rid of excess water and place it back in its home.  If your air plant has attached itself to a host, then bathing your plant is not possible.  Carry the host over to the sink and let the faucet run over it for about a minute.  The leaves of an air plant must have water stay on them for a good while in order for absorption to occur.  Misting is NEVER enough.

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Give an air plant a try! Start out small and see how it goes.  We need to warn you: air pants are addictive.  Once you discover how easy they are to take care of, your collection is guaranteed to grow.!