If you have an air plant, one of the most important things you can learn about it is exactly what type of air plant you own! Believe it or not, there are dozens of varieties of Tillandsia, and they often have their own individual care needs. Here’s how to identify air plants and care for them.
Air plants just about the coolest and most versatile indoor plants you can adopt. The Tillandsia species doesn’t require soil to grow, as they absorb water through their leaves. Even more fun? There are many different types of air plants! They come in a ton of different sizes and shapes, ranging from tiny delicate cones to huge thick tentacles. Often when people refer to air plants, they don’t know which type of air plant they have. This is crucial info to have, as the different varieties often have different care needs.
Getting to Know the Air Plant Varieties
The T. stricta ‘Black Tip’ is a small-to-medium sized dark green air plant with vertical, pointed leaves that deepen in color at the ends.
Special Notes: this is considered one of the easiest air plants to grow, so it’s great for beginners.
T. ionantha v. rubra
This type of air plant is a small, ball-shaped air plant with bright green leaves that deepen to a crimson color in the center of the plant. It is heavily covered in trichomes, giving it a fuzzy appearance. ( these are found at our shop on Etsy: www.printhousedesign.com)
T. ionantha ‘Conehead’
The Conehead air plant is large and shaped like a spiky pinecone. The foliage blushes bright red when flowering, and it produces a beautiful purple flower spike. The leaves grow more upright than many other air plants, giving it its characteristic compact cone shape.
T. tectorum (AKA Snowball)
The snowball is a fluffy, white air plant with hair on their leaves called trichomes that give it the attractive snowball effect. It comes from Peru where it prefers a drier climate. Snowball won’t do as well in a hot, humid climate so this is a perfect indoor air plant. T. tectorum is rare, and therefore quite a bit more expensive than some other varieties.
Special Notes: give T. tectorum lots of air circulation and let it dry well between watering. Only bathe this air plant and save the misting for humidity-loving varieties.
T. xerographica (AKA the King of Tillandsias)
There’s a good reason this is known as the King of Tillandsias! It is a very large (up to three feet in diameter!) rosette-shaped air plant with silvery-blue leaves. T. xerographica is native to dry forests of Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Tillandsia bulbosa really don’t require much water to thrive. If they need additional water, a (very) light misting should be sufficient. For open terrariums and vivarium’s you may need to mist them once every few days.