Selecting the Right Planter for your Air Plants

by Larissa Vargas

Air Plants, also known as Tillandsia, are a great addition to your home and garden. Their easy and low maintenance care makes them a great choice to add to your space. Choosing the right planter is also made easier with their versatility. Since Air plants are epiphytic by nature. Meaning that they grow on a host and do not harm or take nutrients from it. They can be placed anywhere as long as it receives indirect, bright light and weekly watering.

So, you want an air plant but are having trouble finding something to go with it. If you are not sure what to do, not to worry, we are here to help!

First, air plants do not need to be planted. I know, sounds crazy right but it’s true. You don't have to go through the messy process with picking up a bag of  soil and getting dirty. No garden gloves required. Air plants are brilliant, for they consume all their nutrients through their leaves. That said, NO more having to worry about your kids knocking over your pots full of soil or your pets getting in the dirt.

Planters that have no drainage holes are a hassle when you have a plant that requires soil and drainage. With air plants you can use any pot, with or without a drainage hole. If you are going to use a pot, a substrate like aquarium gravel, orchid bark, sand, or moss are great choices to help keep your plant in place to display nicely. Although these are nice accents for your pot or planter, it is not necessary to keep your plant alive.

A good way to size up the right planter for your air plant is to check the dimensions of your planter. Using a ruler to measure out the width and depth of the planter. This will help you determine if you will need further materials for the plant to fit nicely. On our site you will see the measurements of the plants and the pots in our listings, so you can compare and choose the right match for your display.

There are many different sizes of air plants, so choosing the correct size that will fit nicely in your pot can be tricky.  If you have a small spot or just need a little green for a small space like a shelf, tabletop or desk Tillandsia Ionantha's are a great choice. There are many different varieties of this species. Ionantha's have beautiful, colorful blooms and blushing shades. These are hardy and a  perfect size for small shells or planters. Ionantha's are some of the smallest of the Tillandsia family and don't grow much bigger than the size of your hand.
If you have a large pot or space to fill within your planter the T. Xerographica would be my go to choice. Their silvery green foliage have beautiful curling leaves make it one of my favorite choices for larger planters and display as well as hanging planters.  Tillandsia Xerographica are some of the largest varieties of air plants and are known as "the Queen of air plants".

Tillandsia Xerographica can be purchased at small sizes of 3-5" to over a foot wide. Keep in mind they will continue to grow to their full size over time.  Make sure to check the size of the plant you're purchasing to ensure that you don't order a size too big. Another of my favorite choices are the Stricta and Houston varieties.  They have gorgeous blooms and beautiful open leaves which are a nice shape for planters. Bulbous air plants like the T. Bulbosa Guatemala or T. Butzii have a wild exotic appearance, this type of air plant will require a substrate, such as orchid bark, to stand tall in a pot or planter.

You can display your air plants in so many unique and interesting ways.  Air plants are lightweight and easy to transport which makes them a great choice for hanging pots and planters.  Don’t be afraid to get creative with your air plants!  Because they require no soil, the sky is the limit for what you can do with them.  We stock unique styles of pots and planters as well as hanging displays for air plants.  See our Planters and Displays section of our site under the Catalogue dropdown menu.

Some of my favorite planters we carry are our Moonphase Planters (clean & elegant) and our Mayan Planter (a great size for smaller varieties of air plants).  The white of these planters compliment the green foliage of air plants well and is great for a minimal look.  If you prefer more color the Cerulean Planter brings in calming hues of blues or our multicolored Bohemian Planter.

Ceramic, clay, cement and glass planters work well with air plants.  Most types of planters can be used, however,  it is wise to avoid anything with copper. When copper is exposed to water it emits a toxic ingredient to air plants. If you must, avoid watering the Air plant near it and place it back in the planter only when it is dry.

I would also avoid any material that absorbs or holds water for a long period of time. Root rot is one of the most common killers of air plants so anything that will retain water for more than several hours is not conducive for them. They like to dry quickly after watering.

It is advised that the planter doesn't hide the leaves of the air plants, so the leaves can be exposed to some light to photosynthesize. Closed terrariums that inhibit air circulation should also be avoided.

With all the wonderful design possibilities the opportunities are endless with air plants to bring green into your home. Visit our catalogue for planters, accessories and all your other air plant needs!

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at info@theartizanway.com.

Larissa