It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. You can grow a garden of your own that will leave your hands sparkling clean.
The Tillandsia, better known as the air plant, is a rootless plant that doesn’t need dirt to grow. They extract all the nutrients they need from air and water. These plants are members of the Bromeliad family, a cousin of the pineapple.
“They don’t have roots, they don’t need soil. They don’t need any of that,” said Monica Emerton, owner of Green Connection garden center in Anchorage.
Many air plant lovers will transform their plants into centerpieces or accessories for the home. Because they need no soil, it’s easy to mount air plants on things like driftwood, shells, and rocks.
You’ll need to remember to give the plants a good soaking in a bowl of water at least once a week. Otherwise, they’ll dry out and die. The plants will also need enough air circulation to dry out within about four hours after the watering.
Don’t worry though. If you forget the plant in the bowl of water for a few hours extra that won’t matter. Air plants only absorb as much water as they need. However, if water is allowed to accumulate in the center of the plant for a extended period, the plant will rot.
You air plant will need bright, filtered light — like inside your home near a window. Direct sun in winter and partial sun in summer works well.
Temperatures need to be above 45 degrees at all times in order for air plants to grow outside, so that leaves only a short window of outdoor growing opportunity in Alaska. Many varieties will bloom annually if they get the right amount of air and water. After they bloom, the plant will begin propagating. Tiny air plants called “pups” will begin growing from the parent plant. These can be left to grow, or can be trimmed.
For more ideas on what you can create with yours, just search “air plants” on Pinterest.
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