Everything You Need To Know About Air Plants (Tillandsia)


The serene pale green specimen with curling tendrils in all directions, that of which survive with no soil or growing medium whatsoever, never seize to astound our first-time air plant customers.

Scientifically referred to as tillandsia, air plants are surreal specimen that originate from the forests, mountains and deserts of Mexico, all the way to the southeastern region of the United States.

The roots of these peculiar specimen do not work to feed the plant, but rather serve as an anchor to latch onto other parts of nature like tree stumps and branches. The plants actually gather their main source of nutrients through the air, absorbing elements such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus into their furry foliage.

These fun little creatures have been around longer than we have, but they have just recently begun gaining popularity in the houseplant industry in the past few years.


Given the title “air plant,” it is a common misconception that air is the only element these organisms need to survive. However, while tillandsia are extremely low maintenance, they do require a bit more than just the oxygen surrounding them.


One of the most important factors of air plant care is moisture levels. Because air plants originate from humid, high temperature atmospheres, it is essential that you try to replicate this environment to keep your plant happy and healthy. If your home is not very humid, you can mimic this factor through misting your air plant once a week. Here at Explorganics, we also recommend giving your air plant a good soak about every two to three weeks in a bowl of water for about 20 minutes at a time.

It is important that following your air plant’s soaking, that you leave the plant upside down to completely dry out as a means of avoiding mildew, mold and rot of your plant.


Another important factor is light. Like your typical house plants, air plants require photosynthesis to survive. It is recommended that you place your plant in an area that gets a bright but indirect sunlight.

Air Circulation

In addition to light, air flow is essential to incorporate into your air plant care regimen. Hence their name, air plants thrive when given ample air movement, so somewhere with a lot of traffic in your home such as a kitchen would be an ideal spot!

The last tip in caring for your air plant is the element of fertilization. As mentioned earlier, air plants require the specific nutrients of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in order to sustain their livelihood. Here at the shop, we feed our air plants monthly with our 100% urea free, all organic Air Plant Food. In the wild, the plants can get these nutrients from the air and rainfall, but to maintain such growth indoors, we recommend the organic mist.


While there are over 500 species of Tillandsia, at Explorganics we have a few that really have our hearts when it comes to décor and beauty.

Our number one favorite air plant right now is Spanish Moss. Also known as Tillandsia Usneoides, Spanish Moss is neither from Spain, nor is it actually moss; it’s an air plant!

Cascading from the Cypress and Oak trees along the southern US, I’d always assumed that the Spanish Moss was a part of the tree—just simply a different type of foliage. Little did I know, the moss was its own organism completely, and that it was a member of the air plant family!

Next in line on our list of favorites is T. Xerogrpahica—these big curly babies have been referred to as the queen of the air plants. Coming in a variety of sizes from little two-inch babies, to as large as three feet in diameter, Xerogrpahica is perfect to fill any empty space with a beautiful green bloom of color.

While these are some of our favorites, the shop gets in a new stock of air plants on a weekly basis that range in size, texture and color! Come stop by the shop to check out our broad selection of air plants and start your own collection.

Written by Caroline Streett