Adopt a Tilly Today

Air plants, or Tillandsia, are the perfect choice for every person who struggles to grow plants indoors. They’re also the perfect choice for every person who loves indoor gardening because they are so unique and versatile. That makes these unusual bromeliads the perfect choice for everyone!

In their warm native habitats, air plants live above ground, attaching themselves to trees and rocks, houses and utility lines. These quirky plants—nicknamed Tillys—have leaves and roots and can produce flowers. They just don’t need soil!

To grow in your home, give these plants bright but filtered sunlight. Many sources recommend misting two to three times a week, but take care not to mist too closely or too heavily because you don’t want water collecting at the base of the leaves.  Alternatively, Tillys can be submerged in water for 12 hours every 10 to 14 days. They are sensitive to hard or soft water, so use bottled or rain water. After the soak, shake the plant lightly upside a few times, and then enjoy maintenance free for days at a time. To fertilize, water-soluble fertilizer for bromeliads can be used in the submersion water.

The real magic of Tillandsias is the variety of ways you can display these characters. Another unique feature is that they don’t need to grow upright; sideways or upside down is fine, too. Anchor them with rocks or pebbles in more traditional pot settings—soil is not recommended as it can hold moisture. Glue them to a seashell, a rock, untreated wood, a grapevine wreath, or a magnet to post on your refrigerator.  Hang them with fishing wire off a curtain rod or Velcro them to your living room valance.  Affix them to your bulletin board with staples or pins. Twist tie them on to another plant–an orchid makes a compatible companion. Or decorate the pet lizard’s aquarium. Once you meet the simple needs of these plants, the only limit is your imagination…

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