Gardening with Children

Family Zone

Grow tropical Airplants on your windowsill

Date Posted: 01 April 2016

Airplants are native to Central and Southern America where they grow on rocks and trees, their small root systems are used only for support, rain and mist provide moisture and nutrients which are trapped on their soft furry coated leaves and taken in by the plant.

Airplants are part of the group Tillandsia of which there are around 730 species, they are a member of the Bromelaid family of plants.

I have been growing Airplants on my windowsill for over 30 years, they are unusual, attractive and very easy to look after.

Airplants 2

Airplants are available online or from Garden Centres, they can be bought loose or ready mounted, if you buy them lose you then have the option to choose your own mount to display them.

Mounting your Airplant

Airplants can be mounted on rocks, driftwood, small logs (with the bark still on), pieces of cork bark or shells, you can find most of these either in pet shops (they are often used to furnish lizard/reptile tanks) or in garden centres in the flower arranging section.

Airplant shell

Airplants can be attached by glueing or tying with nylon thread, special Airplant glue is available which is clear and harmless to the plant (always follow the instructions supplied), to make your display look as natural as possible mount the Airplant in a natural depression or recess.

Looking after your Airplants

Place your Airplants in a bright position in indirect or diffused sunlight in a moderate temperature, water your Airplants by drenching them with a spray mister once a week in the morning during Spring and Summer, spray more often if needed i.e. if plants have clenched leaves or brown tips or if they are in a hot atmosphere such as a greenhouse or conservatory. In Autumn and Winter and in cool conditions spray once every two to three weeks, although if they are kept in a centrally heated room water up to once a week.

Spray with clean, preferably soft water or rain water, avoid regular overwatering which can cause the base of the Airplant to rot. Airplants benefit from a foliar feed (special Airplant fertiliser is available) which can be applied at every watering, this will encourage faster growth, long lasting blooms and the production of offsets (new plants). During Summer you can put your Airplants outdoors in a shady position or simply place them outdoors on rainy days to water them.

Enjoying your Airplants

Airplants are slow growing but do have attractive flowers which may set seed, after flowering many produce offsets or new plants which can be removed when they are about 2/3rd the size of the parent plant.

Airplant flowers 



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