The Incredible World of Airplants

     Plants that don't need water?  Sounds like something from the imagination of a science fiction author. And indeed, many of the species within genus Tillandsia appear as if they were from another planet. 

T. bulbosa

T. bulbosa

     Most have no roots, as they absorb all of the water vapor and nutrients they need for photosynthesis right from the air. Some have long, wispy tendrils that reach out like the tentacles of a creature from the ocean's depths. And some have a mottled appearance that more closely resembles a reptile's skin than the usual xylem and phloem that we are accustomed to. They vary widely in color, from white to green to blood red.

     And all of them are beautiful.

T. adriana

T. adriana

     Air plants are indigenous to Central and South America, but can thrive almost anywhere (including indoors) that there is indirect light and where temperatures stay a few degrees above the freezing point.

     Spanish moss is a variety of Tillandsia with which many Americans are familiar. And in spite of the false perception shared by many people (and even some botanists) that Spanish moss is a parasitic species, this is not the case, as these plants take nothing from the trees upon which they grow, nor harm them in any way.

     Overall, there are around 730 known species of Tillandsia, and based on appearance alone, most would probably assume that this diverse group represents different phyla- even kingdoms. Conveniently (for taxonomic purposes), however, all air plants fall neatly within genus Tillandsia, differing only at the most specific level of classification, i.e., species.

T. fuchsii

T. fuchsii

     If you, like many, love the natural beauty that flowering plants add to a home, but have sometimes forgotten to water a not-so-hardy species, allowing them to wither, these low-maintenance exotics may be right up your alley- most Tillandsia species only require misting with a spray bottle twice per month or so.

T. funckiana

T. funckiana

     Either alone or as part of an arrangement, air plants will add an exotic accent to your home or business. Stop by Rococo Floral Studio in downtown Gadsden to see a beautiful lineup of this amazing family of plants.

Rococo Floral Studio: Gadsden's premier florist and floral design studio. 256.515.4994 215 N 4th St. Suite 2 Gadsden, AL 35901

Rococo Floral Studio: Gadsden's premier florist and floral design studio. 256.515.4994

215 N 4th St. Suite 2 Gadsden, AL 35901