WHY WE LOVE AN AIR PLANT

The Simple Things - - HOW WE LIVE - Ray (Frances Lin­coln) is full of in­for­ma­tion on car­ing for air plants and other house plants.

Caro Lang­ton and Rose Ray of house plant spe­cial­ists ro-co.uk give us the low­down on these care­free plants

The genus of air plants, or tilland­sia, is from the bromeliad fam­ily. In the wild, they gen­er­ally grow as epi­phytes, an­chor­ing them­selves with roots to other plants and trees for sup­port. Amaz­ingly, de­spite their di­verse nat­u­ral habi­tats, they re­quire lit­tle care. This is partly be­cause they are such slow grow­ers. How­ever, it is a com­mon mis­take to think that air plants need only air to live. In fact, they sur­vive in the wild by ab­sorb­ing mois­ture and nu­tri­ents through their leaves, which are varied in shape, size and colour. Be­cause of this, they do not re­quire roots or soil, but do re­quire min­i­mal wa­ter­ing and prun­ing to live in­doors.

A FEW POINT­ERS

When dis­play­ing, re­mem­ber they re­quire a good flow of air, so avoid en­closed con­tain­ers or sur­faces that ab­sorb or con­tain water.

Most species of air plants are suited to bright, in­di­rect light that repli­cates the dap­pled light of their na­tive habi­tats. Avoid brightly lit win­dowsills in sum­mer months.

A day time tem­per­a­ture of 10-30C suits air plants, with cooler tem­per­a­tures at night. If the room is warmer, in­crease fre­quency of wa­ter­ing. Pro­tect from frost and draughts.

To water, ei­ther dunk in the bath or spray with a mis­ter. They are hap­pi­est soaked once a week, with an oc­ca­sional mist­ing in warmer weather. They only draw up as much mois­ture as they need so you can water lib­er­ally. House of Plants by Caro Lang­ton and Rose

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