11 Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About Air Plants

Air plants are a unique, beautiful, and low-maintenance houseplant that require no soil to grow. They’re a wonderful choice for people with black thumbs (such as myself!) or anyone who wants a fresh new greenery to brighten up their house without committing to weekly watering or repotting. Here are 11 excellent facts about air plants that you definitely need to know.
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Air plants (Tillandsia) are fascinating and one of the most popular houseplants. But did you know that they can survive in a variety of conditions? If you are new to air plants or have been growing them for years, there is always something new to learn. These unique plants are perfect for indoor gardening, and they are low-maintenance. Here we will share ten amazing facts that you did not know about air plants.

So, what are some of the amazing facts about the air plant? You probably already know that air plants can survive with soil, but did you know that air plants can be grown upside-down? Air plants have been known for their ability to purify the air around them by removing toxins such as formaldehyde from the furniture. They can change color and even release oxygen at night.

 There are so many different types of air plants, and they can be found in such a variety of colors that it is hard not to want one. We will share 11 facts about these little wonders that most people don’t know in this post post.

1.     They can grow without soil

While most plants depend on soil for their nutrients, air plants can grow without soil. Air plants absorb moisture and nutrients from the atmosphere through their leaves as well as humidity in the environment around them. This feat is possible thanks to the natural structure of their roots. Air plants are more than happy to absorb nutrients from sea sponges, driftwood pieces, and even some rocks.

2.     They use CAM photosynthesis

Air plants use a special type of photosynthesis called crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). CAM photosynthesis is a process where the plant only opens its stomata at night when temperatures are lower, allowing for more efficient water usage.

Most plants use C-CAM, which means they open their stomata both day and night. Most succulents, including air plants, use P-CAM or PEPC (Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase), which means they only open their stomata during the night. This allows air plants to get more oxygen at night.

3.     Grows in a variety of climate

While most plants are very particular about the conditions they need to grow, air plants do not have special requirements for temperature or humidity. Air plants can grow in different climates, such as humid rainforest habitats and even in desert-like conditions.

Air plant in a glass terrarium outside.
Growing air plants is very easy, and they can be found just about anywhere throughout the world.

Some notable places to find air plants include South Africa, Australia and Mexico. However, air plants can also survive in various climates such as the Mediterranean, Europe and Central America. This means that growing air plants is very easy, and they can be found just about anywhere throughout the world.

 

4.     Air plants grow offsets (pups) after blooming

If you have ever bought an air plant, then there is a good chance it had already started growing pups or “offsets,” as they are more commonly called. This makes them incredibly easy to propagate since all you have to do is allow the pups to grow and then cut them off. This way, as long as one plant survives, then there will always be more plants.

Air plant plantlets hanging.
You can cut them off and place them in various areas of your home or office where they can thrive on their own.

This feature also allows air plants to be incredibly useful for those trying to fill up a large space quickly. All you need is one plant, and as soon as it starts growing pups, you can cut them off and place them in various areas of your home or office where they can thrive on their own.

5.     Air Plants are Closely Related to Pineapples

You might not think so at first glance, but air plants belong in a family of pineapple. The bromeliad family includes both air plants and pineapples. They look so different because of how each plant uses the bromeliads in its unique way.

The pineapple plant absorbs water through its leaves while air plants absorb moisture from humidity in the environment around them rather than drinking it up as a normal plant would do.

6.     Air plants are not toxic to pets or children

One of the great features of air plants is that they are completely safe for humans and animals. Air plants contain no known toxins, so there is nothing to worry about when your little ones play with them or even chew on their leaves. This makes them a great option if you have any children or pets interested in the plants around your home.

Since air plants absorb water and nutrients from the surrounding environment rather than drinking it up like other types of plants, they eliminate any need to worry about toxic fertilizer entering their system.

7.     Air Plants can Change Colors

Air plants change color depending on the type of environment that they are in. If you have an air plant at home, then there is a chance that it might begin turning into slightly different colors over time as conditions around them change. They can be found growing with many different colors, including orange, pink and even light green or yellow tints.

An air plant with a wood.
They can be found growing with many different colors, including orange, pink and even light green or yellow tints.

The reason why they can change colors so easily has to do with how air plants use photosynthesis in their leaves and petals. As these parts absorb sunlight, they begin transforming it into energy that the plant itself will use. This process can lead to changes in the color of certain parts depending on how much exposure they have had.

8.     They Blossom Near the End of their Life

 One of the biggest signs that an air plant is about to die is when it begins blooming. Once this process starts, most plants will begin getting smaller and eventually die off completely

Air plant pink flower.
Air plants only bloom in their final stages.

Air plants only bloom in their final stages, so if you see them opening up, there is a chance that they are not going to live for much longer. However, if they are healthy, then you might be able to save them by moving their container into a shadier area of your home or office.

9.     Air Plants are epiphytes and can also be lithophytes

When air plants grow in the wild, they tend to do so on trees or other large pieces of non-living things. However, if you wanted to recreate the same effect at home, you could place them between stones or other pieces of material.

As long as the air plant receives some sunlight and has access to moisture, it will continue growing just fine no matter what surface underneath it. This feat is also one of the reasons why air plants are great for those who want to keep a low-maintenance plant around their home.

10. Air Plants can Give ANYONE a “Green Thumb”

Do you dread growing houseplants just because you believe you do not have a green thumb? Well, an air plant will prove you wrong as they are incredibly easy to grow and maintain. You do not need to water them or fertilize them at all, and they will continue growing just fine in any home.

One of the reasons air plants are so easy is that they do not need much light to survive. As long as you put it in a place where it can receive some indirect sunlight, that should be enough for your plant to grow happily.

A person holding an air plant with a drizzle of water.
Place it where it can receive some indirect sunlight, that should be enough for your plant to grow happily.

All you need is one air plant and a glass container with some water in it for the plant to absorb from. Then, place your air plants next to any window where they will receive sunlight every day and watch them thrive on their own over time.

11. A Failing Air plant can be Easily Revived

Unlike most other plants, an air plant that is starting to die does not need to be thrown away completely. If you begin noticing that your plant is wilting or turning brown, try placing your dying air plant inside another container of water and then place that container inside a larger bowl or jar. Make sure to cover up the opening at the top.   This will allow your plant to drink from all of the extra humidity in there instead.

You can do this process for about ten days and if you notice it working, try moving your growing air plants to a smaller container with some soil in it. This way, they can begin growing new roots, and once they are large enough, you should be able to separate them into their air plant containers!

Conclusion

Air plants are not just tiny plants that you can use to decorate your home or office. They have some incredible properties that make them stand out from other plants. These amazing facts will help you learn more about what makes these plants so different and why they are growing in popularity.

Many people who start growing air plants find it hard to stop since there is nothing more satisfying than receiving pups of your own after the original plant begins dying off. Once you have one plant, it is very common for people to want more of them all over their homes. These plants may seem like an unlikely gift for anyone, but there is no denying that having one around your home or office will help bring more color and life to the room.

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