Plant Spotlight: Tillandsias - Air Plant

Plant Spotlight: Tillandsias - Air Plant

Ever seen a cute little spikey dude hanging around that looks like a plant, but isn’t potted in soil? Well, those are air plants! The air plant, or Tillandsias are a type of plant species that live off the air, meaning they get their nutrients from the air around them, rather than the soil they’re potted in.

With a name like air plant, you may assume you don’t have to do anything other than just let that thing live off the air. While they are an incredibly low maintenance indoor plant, they do need a little bit more attention than you may think. 

There are a few misconceptions about the air plant that we want to debunk here to help you understand how to live a long life with Fred, the Plantsome air plant

*You can now buy Fred, the air plant online. Fred comes as part of the Plantsome Gift Box Along with a throne to sit in, and a gift card amount of your choice!

Plantsome Gift Box - gift card, air plant named Fred and Fred's throne


What up bro(meliad)?! The Tillandsia is a genus of around 650 species of evergreen, perennial flowering plants that are part of the Bromeliad family. These little spikey dudes are native to the forests, mountains, and deserts of northern Mexico and south-eastern United States, Mesoamerica and the Caribbean to mid Argentina.

As you can tell from their past, they come from hot and dry climates, and tend to thrive in warmer conditions. 

Now onto the good stuff... Here’s everything what you need to know about air plants:    


1. If you were thinking about putting Fred in soil, just don’t

Air plants break all the rules you think you know about indoor plants... 

They don’t grow in soil, in fact that would just suffocate their roots! Tillandsias are epiphytes, which means in nature they grow on other trees. Their roots cling onto branches or trunks rather than root themselves in soil. This means air plants can pretty much set up shop wherever. Just check out Fred on his throne.


2. Air plants get their nutrients from the air

Air plants absorb nutrients and moisture in the air through their Trichomes. Or in other words, the small scale-like or fine hair structures on their leaves. They can thank their Trichomes for giving them everything they need to survive. 


3. Air plants can’t live off the air alone

Despite their name, air plants, like any other plant also need water to survive. The best rule of thumb for these guys is to dunk in water, just like you’d dunk a chocolate chip cookie in milk! It’s best for the plant if you do this once a week to make sure its getting enough water. But be sure to let Fred dry out completely between waterings.

If you’re overwatering Fred, he will let you know through his leaves. They may turn brown or start looking soggy. If you’re under-watering, the tips of his leaves may brown or curl. And if Fred starts to turn black, that means he has rotted and unfortunately you may have to say bye to Fred for good. RIP.

Pro Tip: When you first receive your air plant, Fred,  soak the plant in water for 15 minutes. Then gently shake the excess water off and hang upside down to dry. Do this for your weekly waterings before placing Fred back on his throne.


4. Tillandsias have quite the identity crisis

If you think it’s hard to identify a variety of an air plant, well, that’s because it is! There is over 650 air plant varieties floating around out there. You’ll never really see two air plants of the same variety that are completely identical. Which is kind of awesome, each like a unique snowflake, no two will be the same. 

A variety of an air plant in the Bromeliad Family.

5. Did you know that air plants flower? But only once 

In the spring and summer months, look out for your air plant’s bloom! During an air plant’s life cycle (and depending on the species) your air plant may show off a bloom lasting anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. They typically bloom towards the end of their life cycle.


6. Give Fred enough sunlight

Just like any other plant, Fred needs sunlight to survive. Air plants prefer several hours a day in bright, indirect light to help them thrive and also require good air circulation. Air plant care is pretty simple, they need air, enough light and water to survive.


7. Feeding Fred

Although air plants get much of their nutrients from the air and frequent watering, they can also benefit from a little snack during the spring and summer months. We suggest looking for a bromeliad fertilizer to give them the best possible snack for their little physique. 


8. Keep your home warm so Fred stays nice and toasty

If the air plant’s origin is any indication of the type of temperature Fred needs to thrive, then we know he likes it hot hot hot! To keep Fred happy, keep him in temperatures that range from 15-26 °C.

You can now get Fred as part of our Plantsome Gift Box. He makes for an awesome gift for any occasion and sits on his throne, like the perfect companion. Have a question about Fred or the Plantsome Gift Box? Shoot us a message at 

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