No fear, Tillandsia is here!


I love plants, but I don’t have a green thumb

I love plants and flowers. I love them so much I decided I wanted to spend each and every day with them and so I became a florist. I’ve spent years developing my craft through education and believe I do a pretty decent job accentuating each bloom and leaf’s natural beauty through my designs. But one thing I struggle with is long term indoor plant care. I hate to admit it, but as much as I admire beautiful shades of green leafy plants, I haven’t had the commitment to keep them in my home. That is, until I got a lovely tillandsia plant last year.  I just picked one up from my local wholesaler to use in a photo shoot featuring a cool vase I had.  The vase was shaped like a head with an opening at the top and I knew the spiky leaves of a tillandsia would be just perfect placed on top as alternative to flowers.   (If you have viewed my website, you may be familiar with the section called Beyond the Arrangement where I like to illustrate to my clients how they can use containers in value added alternative ways).

After the shoot, I moved the tillandsia over to the edge of a gorgeous gold lined bowl I had.  Then back to the head vase. Then over to a bowl of pears.  One day, tucked into a fresh flower arrangement where a large focal flower had died but other colorful blooms remained. Let me just say, I was sold. Not since my 90’s obsession with the ivy topiary plant or 2000’s staple accessory of the orchid plant had I felt so much love for a living thing…oops, I mean plant….of course I love my kids more than botanicals.  I’m sold.  I think you should be too.  Here’s the scoop.

Tillandsia, often called air plants, grow as their nickname suggests, in the air.  They do not live in soil, but rather on other plants or mosses.  They absorb moisture and nutrients from their leaves.  They are very hardy, can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, and inconsistent watering schedule (I said tolerate, they do, however, thrive with more consistency).  Many varieties bloom.  They vary in size and leaf design, but the most popular variety has long curly leaves sprouting from a central point.  While doing a little research for this blog, I learned that Spanish Moss, something that has been a staple in my design room for years, is actually a form of tillandsia. 

The interesting silvery colors of the air plant along with their distinctive spiky leaves make them a lovely decorative element addition to any living environment.  Set one beside your bedside lamp for a cool design feature in your bedroom.  Place in a pretty bowl in the center of a coffee table. Currently there is a big trend to hang them in wire cages individually or in multiples (my favorite item you must see in the Flower Fix Shop right now).  As for care of these little guys, just submerge in a bowl of water one to two times per week for 20 min or so and ta da!  Plant care complete. They like bright or filtered light, do well in outdoor environments with no direct hot sunlight, and love a little ventilation. 

Next time you are looking for a great little gift for a friend or interesting focal point to add to a floral arrangement, consider a tillandsia plant. They are emerging as the next big trend in botanicals (sigh, goodbye succulents), and I would almost guarantee you will fall in love with them as much as I have.

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