ABOUT AIR PLANTS AND MOSS
AIR PLANTS (Tillandsia spp.)
Air plants seem almost otherworldly the way they can grow, well, just in air.
Yep, no soil at all required. Plus their leaves can look like a bit like alien tentacles
or like the appendages of an exotic sea creature. These fascinating little plants
have become quite popular over the last few years. They're a bit different to grow
than most other houseplants so we've rounded up a few tips for caring for air plants
and enjoying them in your home.
They are epiphytes, meaning that in nature they grow on other plants, usually on tree branches. There are hundreds of species and varieties of air plants. They usually have strap-shape or slender triangle-shape leaves that grow in a rosette pattern with new growth appearing from the center. Those with silver foliage tend to be the most drought-tolerant; greener types dry out faster. You can also find colorful species, like Tillandsia maxima that can have coral leaves. Most species produce attractive, tubular or funnel-shaped flowers, too.
Air plants are easy to care for once you know what they need. You may not have to worry about potting them, but they do still need a certain amount of water and light, plus the right temperatures, just like any other houseplant. You'll know that an air plant is getting what it needs when it sends up flowers. Once the flower dries out, just snip it off and your air plant will keep on growing and eventually making more blooms.
Air plants look great all on their own or in groups where you can display several varieties together. They can be placed in terrariums or attached to anything from magnets to driftwood for creating your own interesting displays—just use a bit of hot glue or translucent fishing line to secure them. Tillandsia species also make fine companions on a branch with orchids because they like essentially the same conditions. You can also find glass or plastic globes that are made specifically for hanging them. For varieties that have colorful leaves such as Tillandsia aeranthos 'Amethyst', also called the rosy air plant, try using a container that complements or contrasts with their hues.
Because they don't need to grow in soil, air plants can be displayed in just about any way you can dream up. Try using them as an air plant wreath, hanging mobile, or even a beach-themed terrarium that plays off their resemblance to an octopus. Without much effort on your part, these plants can add fun, unique greenery to just about any space.
Bright, indirect sunlight or indoor lighting (like from fluorescent bulbs).
They can tolerate a couple hours of direct sun, but this is very drying, so plan to supplement their water if they do get direct sun.
While air plants can handle short periods of darkness, like when they are shipped, or if they are temporarily displayed in a dark corner, they do need good lighting to grow their best. Indoors or out, tillandsia are very versatile.
Tillandsia can live entirely of nutrients and moisture in the air in their native habitats. Each leaf has a texture designed to collect as much moisture from the air as possible. The many leaves of the plant then funnel water droplets to the base of the plant for its use.
Rain water is best, tap water is usually fine, set a bowl of tap water on the counter for a few hours prior to using it, this way the chlorine can evaporate.
Submerge your plants in the water, and leave them soaking for an hour. After their bath, gently shake the excess water from the plants and set them out in good air circulation to air dry upside down, to let all the trapped water run out and dry.
When they are fully dry, return them to their display. It is important not to let the plants remain wet, or they will rot.
Weekly soakings will keep your tillandsia happy in most locations.
Supplement with misting a couple times each week. If you are in a very dry location or are going through a heat spell, mist more frequently, and consider adding a second bath each week.
Well watered plants leaves are more open and more flexible, and the color is clearer.
Air plants in bloom should be rinsed under running water instead of submerged, with care taken for the delicate flower. Increase misting for the air plants while in bloom.
Use a fertilizer specifically formulated for bromeliads or air plants once a month.
Add the fertilizer water to a spray bottle, and mist thoroughly with the food water once a month.
Between 10° and 32° Celsius.
REINDEER MOSS Cladonia Stellaris (Preserved)
Funky and Cool
Display in glass bowls with air plants, around your potted plants, on wood pieces or create
your own wall design on polystyrene. Always remove before watering plants in the same bowl
It grows in the boreal and artic regions in Northern Scandinavia and Russia, as a floor covering vegetation. Referred to as a moss, it is actually a type of lichen. In winter months Lapland is it covered by snow, but the Reindeer can smell its presence and it supplements their dietary needs. For several years now, Reindeer Moss has also been successfully cultivated and the majority of moss exported. After it is harvested, it can kept in its natural color, or submersed in an organic pigment to provide one of the beautiful colors it is available in. Because its a natural product, the brightness of color will vary over time. The depth and natural variation of the color in the plant will stay and will keep its natural look. It is preserved in a glycerin and saline solution. In this state or preservation, it is safe to export to any part of the world, as it will have no impact on the surrounding flora, as it will not grow anymore.
The texture and appearance of Reindeer Moss is something magical. It is soft and the dense growth of little soft branches and tentacles makes up something looking sponge, but also different. It is used in contemporary design, where it softens the look and feel of artificial materials. It has a natural blending characteristic. It has calming effects and an elegant look that nature provides.
The moss has been preserved, but it still needs moisture to keep its soft texture, which can be obtained by a misting once in a while, very little maintenance is needed other than misting when he moss becomes a little harder to the touch.
When the moss feels cool to the touch it has had enough humidity.
It will not grow anymore, but will also not die because of its preserved state.
Do not place moss in areas where it will be exposed to direct sunlight.
Limit touching the moss, and handle with care.