Let’s learn about the wizards of plant kingdom – The AIR Plants!

Written by
Antra Thada

The world is filled with absolutely stunning things around us. One of the latest obsession I have is with air plants. Their whole mechanism of life, growth and survival is nothing less than a marvel. We wrapped our heads around hydroponics where plants grow without soil but now we have air plants which do not even require water to grow. These plants grow in the air without any soil or water. Now isn’t that fascinating?

The scientific name of these plants is Tillandsia and they belong to family of Bromeliaceae. These are also known as epiphytes because they grow on other trees in forests but don’t misunderstand them to be parasitic as they cause no harm to their hosts. These plants need a supportive base to rest upon or grow. They can be grown on any surface in your house like old wooden photo frames, nets or even old pottery pieces. They will be a perfect addition to your collection of plants. You can even make a vertical stand of air plants or even in terrariums. (Wondering what’s terrariums and how to have one? Don’t worry! We got that covered for you in the upcoming posts).

How to take care of them?

They need bright but indirect light. Don’t let the sun directly shine on them but rather keep them in a room or near a window. During summers, shift them in a cool area which has ample of day light as the heat in a sub-tropical country like India can burn them badly. They can be grown in a closed space where natural light is not available with the help of white light lamps so that photosynthesis can occur efficiently.

When it comes to fulfilling their water requirements, they can be a little nasty to take care of. They can be hydrated by misting or by soaking them in water. The amount of water required depends upon the intensity of light it is receiving. If the temperature is hot and light availability is also good, water the plants once a week. Soak them in water for 10-15 min and then dry them on a paper napkin or cloth for 3-4 hours. Make sure that they are properly dried otherwise they will start rotting.

But how do air plants fulfil their nutritional requirements?

This was perhaps the first question that popped in my mind when I came across air plants. They prepare their own food through photosynthesis and their nutritional requirement is fulfilled by air, dust or the occasional watering. One other source of nutrition for air plants is dead and decaying microorganisms on the surface of its leaves. So basically it gets its nutrition from the sources which we could have hardly imagined.

I think these air plants would look wonderful in a glass container hanging by the window. And they couldn’t be prettier as they don’t have roots or don’t need soil to grow in. They bloom once in their lifetime but I feel like air plants are not grown for their flowers.

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Published by Reema

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