Airplants, wonder plants

These plants are fascinating. They’re from South America and named because they use their short, wiry roots to attach themselves to branches, cliff-faces and pretty much anywhere rather than rooting in soil.

They have requirements for air, light, water and warmth and benefit from brighter conditions, rainfall and humidity, so they’ll have thrived this summer in the UK. I saw these, and was fascinated by them at Gardeners’ World Live in Birmingham this year.

And just because they don’t grow in soil, doesn’t mean they aren’t pretty. I mean, just look at these:

vibrant colours, a pink you wouldn't believe
oranges and wispy white airplants

I wasn’t expecting such vibrant colours either. The sort of plants that I expected were more like this, but even these have a tinge of pink, which change colour in bright light.

Growing on rocks

But what was even more fascinating was the baskets of air plants ready to be bought. They have an almost water-plant quality to them don’t they?

choose your own air plants at gardeners' world live

And there’s definitely a hint of spider plant babies to them too isn’t there?

One thing that’s struck me as I’m typing this post is how I’m describing the plants: water-like, spider-like, but I hope you can see what I mean. Often air plants are grown on logs, and this was an option in Birmingham, as well as some clear glass tubes which gave them a more modern feel.

air plants growing logs
vibrant red airplants

But be warned, air plants grow, flower, set seed and die - so if you want a long lasting display, it’s worth cultivating your own from the offsets - and then you’ll be in the same situation as I am with my aloe veras, where I can’t bear to part with any of them!

What do you think, could you be an air plant convert?