air plant - Tillandsia ionantha
- Position: bright but indirect light
- Soil: these plants do not need to grow in compost!
- Rate of growth: slow
- Hardiness: tender (indoors only)
- Current height: plant approximately 5cm
Part of the bromeliad family this small epiphyte originates from the American jungles where it grows on trees. Probably one of the most popular 'air plants' it has a compact rosette of bristle covered silvery grey leaves, which turn bright red for 4 - 6 weeks when it comes into flower. The extraordinary violet/purple tubular flower appears from the central crown of leaves. It doesn't need to be potted in compost, just grow it in a shell or on a piece driftwood and it will take moisture and nutrients from the air. Please note these plants are supplied as a single shoot approximately 5cm in length. The image is showing a mature flowering plant.
- Home care: These plants do need a humid environment to thrive, so a bright bathroom or steamy kitchen would be ideal. Misting with water a couple of times a week usually supplies sufficient water, although additional watering may be required in a dry hot environment. Remember to shake off any excess water though as they dislike overwatering and should never be allowed to sit in water for any length of time. If possible use rain water, especially in hard water areas, and never use water from a water softener.