Air plants are some of the coolest terrarium plants you can grow. They allow you an unrivaled amount of creativity because of the characteristic that makes them so unique: they don’t need soil or water to survive! They take in all the water and nutrients they need from the very air, which is what gives them their name. Technically, they are a type of plant called an ‘epiphyte’, and they grow all around the world in tropical and semi-tropical climates, which makes them perfect terrarium plants. They’re also very easy to propagate, since they naturally develop offshoots called ‘pups’, which can eventually be divided from the mother plant when they are about 2/3rds the size of the parent.
One of the coolest ways to use these plants in your terrarium projects is in a hanging glass terrarium, which mimics their natural environment of tree limbs, and in more urban environments, buildings and telephone poles. You can also check out our other ideas for air plant terrariums, where we explain a bit more about how to use these incredible plants.
Not all air plants produce flowers, but some of them do, like Tillansdia bulbosa (shown above!) and Tillandsia cyanea. Some don’t actually flower, but instead create a special type of brightly colored leaves that mimic the appearance of flowers. Either way, they’re very beautiful and incredibly easy to grow!
Four species of Tillandsia are consider endangered, and shouldn’t be purchased. You’re not likely to run into them, but try to avoid buying them if you can, because buying endangered species creates a market for them, which only encourages their destruction. The species in question are named Tillandsia harrisii, Tillandsia kammii, Tillandsia mauryana and Tillandsia xerographica, so be sure to ask your plant buyer what genus they are. If they don’t know, don’t buy!