It's hard to get more a more low maintenance plant than air plants. Perfect for gardeners with minimal space or those who love to have some greenery but can't commit to frequent watering.
Botanical name: Tillandsia
These fascinating plants don't grow in soil and can be placed around our home or garden as long as they receive fresh air.
Air plants will happily grow indoors or outside making them very versatile. Keep them in a well lit room indoors but not direct sunlight. Position them away from air conditioning units and heaters and be conscious that they adsorb everything through their leaves so keep clear of cleaning products and sprays that can be toxic to the plants.
If kept outside ensure they are protected from direct sunlight and strong wind and they will thrive.
Tip: like many coast loving plants, air plants with a silvery leaf can withstand more sun that the greener varieties.
Because they don't need soil you can get creative with air plants and attached them to wood or other ornaments with non-toxic glues. Remember they will still need to be watered and you're best positioning them on their side so that water can run off and it will dry out completely after soaking.
They are also popular in terrariums but because they need plenty of fresh air, select a glass container with a wide opening and let it dry outside the container after watering.
While soil isn't needed air plants do need water. The plant absorbs water through its leaves so when you water your air plant dunk it into a bowl to soak the leaves and leave for several minutes. All of the leaf surface should get wet. After soaking let your air plant dry in an airy position but not in direct sunlight as they leaves can burn. After 3 to 4 hours the plant should dry out. If an air plant remains wet for too long it will rot so it's important to let it dry before placing back in a terrarium.
To get the best results, water your air plants 2 to 3 times a week or if kept indoors, in an air conditioned room, you can water more frequently because the air will be drier.
A great advantage of air plants is that they will survive for weeks and sometimes even months without watering. So, if you're travelling, give them a big soak for an hour or so before heading off and again when you return.
Like all plants, air plants need the right conditions to flower. Flower spikes will often last several weeks and after finishing you can remove the spike. If your air plant hasn't flowered you can experiment with different positions and light levels.