The Simple Things


- 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 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.


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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