One of the things I love most about displaying my Air Plants is decorating with them doesn’t have to be expensive. Don’t get me wrong, it can be. The choice is up to each of us (and our budget). If you’re looking for some good ideas to get creative with your Air Plants, you’ve landed at the right place!
Today I will share some creative display designs that will delight your inner Air Plant Enthusiast. We’ll go over some ways for you to create your own displays on any budget and I’ll mix in some links to pre-made displays in case “crafty” is not your thing. I would encourage you, though, to not underestimate your craftiness just yet!
I wouldn’t have considered myself crafty, either, until I discovered how simple (and fun!) dressing up all my living areas (indoor and out) with Air Plants can be! Better yet, most of the things I’ve used for displaying my little beauties are things I already had around the house.
Once I got started, it was hard to stop! I expanded my search for unique ways to display such unique plants. I visited craft stores, thrift stores, yard sales, and flea and farmer’s markets. I’m also known to utilize items I find in bargain bins at my favorite markets. I’ve found some pretty cool stuff, I tell ya!
The fact that Air Plants require no soil makes getting creative in displaying them easy and convenient. The only thing I have to pay attention to is how much light they will receive, whether or not my cat can reach them, and if the plants will be easy to tend to in their location and display medium. We’ve got a lot to go over today, so let’s get started!
YOU SHOULD KNOW: Air Plants require 8-12 hours of bight and indirect light daily, and a period of darkness every night to allow for the process of photosynthesis. This light can be natural or artificial. Should you opt for artificial light, I’m including handy and convenient links to lights that promote plant growth a little further along in this article.
Air Plant Terrarium Displays
The recent rise in the popularity of Air Plants brought with it a fun new way to create innovative terrarium displays! The high-moisture environment is conducive to healthy and flourishing Air Plants. A word of caution, though. When displaying Air plants in a terrarium, you will want to ensure adequate ventilation.
Too much of a good thing (moisture in this case) can end up being detrimental. An Air plant that remains saturated with moisture can develop plant rot. This can be one of the harder conditions to remedy that your plant(s) might face. Should you ever face the situation, I’ve got detailed information and instructions for you to refer to right here.
Take a look at the photograph just above. Isn’t it lovely?!? And look closely at how simple it was to put together! Some white stones, found in any craft department.. or even in the aquarium supplies, and four Air Plants. That’s it! And check out the photograph just below:
Talk about preserving your memories of your last beach trip! Some fine sand and a few seashells are brought to life by displaying them with an Air Plant. Chances are, you have a glass cannister similar to this one already in your cabinet. Put it to good use!
Good Bases for Air Plant Terrariums
You’ve seen how simple it is to find a “base” for terrariums, but gravel and sand are just the beginning! You can also use any of the following (with convenient links to Amazon for purchase):
- Colorful glass “stones” like these:
- How about some colorful “gems”?
- Or keep thing crisp and clear with some of these “stones”.
- I would be remiss not to mention moss because even moss is a type of Air Plant! I keep moss on hand that I found right here on Amazon. By the way, terrariums aren’t the only place I use moss in Air Plant displays! We’ll go over that further along in this article.
Truly, your imagination is your limit when assembling an Air Plant Terrarium display! You’ll want to be sure that no components made of copper or metal that can rust are used in constructing your terrarium. Both these elements are toxic to Air Plants! They may not straight-up kill the plant, but certainly can inhibit the optimum health and even interfere with the blossoming of the plant!
YOU SHOULD KNOW: Copper and rust are not the only things that are toxic to Air Plants! For complete information, you’ll want to read the article I wrote this spring right here.
More Air Plant Terrarium Inspiration & Ideas
Are you catching Terrarium fever yet? I am! Such an elegant and chic way to display your Air Plant(s), aren’t they?
Terrarium Kits from Amazon
While browsing around on Amazon for creative ideas, I found some terrarium kits that come ready to “assemble”. I’ll share a couple of links with you right here, in case you don’t have the time or inclination to gather the materials separately. The following links will take you straight to Amazon. I have indicated in each description whether or not the kit will contain any Air Plants.
Terrarium Kit number one from Amazon (above) comes with one Ionantha Air Plant. The crystal is a perfect pop of color! Grab yours here.
The stand for Terrarium Kit number 2 (above) from Amazon could sure come in handy! dress up your desk or any tabletop with this beautiful display (which includes two Air Plants). Alternately, the terrarium can also be hung. Follow this linkto score yours!
In option number three (above) the Air Plant included happens to be fake. Made of silk. I included it in our list anyway for two reasons. The first being that some people love the look of Air Plants, but travel too often (and for too long) to worry about tending to house plants. The second reason I included it is that the nautical-themed components are just gorgeous! Keep the silk plant or replace it with a live Air Plant… the choice is yours. To purchase this beautiful kit, simply follow this link.
Variations to Air Plant Terrariums
YOU SHOULD KNOW: There are more than 450 varieties of Air Plants with a couple of hundred more hybrids.
Air Plants are anything but “traditional” if you don’t live in tropical or sub-tropical environments. Feel free to make your displays non-traditional, as well! Simply glance around your house with Air Plant-colored glasses on, LOL!
I enjoy using clear glass in my decor. Since I already have a terrarium featuring Air Plants (like in the photograph above), I wondered what else I could use. Look at these ideas in the photographs below. They can be assembled in less than ten minutes from items likely in the kitchen cabinets right now!
Example A is just a shot glass with a string of colorful plastic beads I got from Mardi Gras. Air Plants in a shot glass are an instant accent piece when displayed in a well-lit curio cabinet, or behind a bar in the den. What a great way to use a memento or display your favorite libation!
TIP: clear holders with colorful beads like these, or stones make great decor ideas for kids and kids rooms.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with adding nothing but an Air Plant to a container or terrarium display, either! The Air Plants make quite a statement in the example (B) below, don’t they?
What might you utilize from your home? A tea set like the example in the photograph below? You can do that!
Do you have some fun novelty coffee mugs you rarely use but don’t want to get rid of? Pull them out of the cabinet and plop an Air Plant in them! Easy-Peasy!
Really, how fun is that?!? Speaking of fun, when it comes to a great project to embark upon with your child(ren), Air Plants have a lot to offer! Teaching children to nurture living things is one of the most important things we can instill in them. Air Plants are a great project for kids!
- Air Plants aren’t messy because they require no soil!
- Air Plants flourish with minimal human interaction, providing they are displayed in a well-lit area and watered occasionally.
- Air Plants are easy to tend to, even for children!
- Air Plants teach children responsibility!
- Air Plants reward children’s care with beautiful and unique blossoms!
- Children can have fun creating displays for their Air Plants!
- Air Plants clean the air in your child’s room more efficiently than any other plant!
Fun Air Plant Displays for Children
YOU SHOULD KNOW: No variety of Air Plant is toxic to humans or pets. Hooray!
When it comes to creativity and imagination, the children I know far exceed me! Kids have a unique vision and perspective that, in my humble opinion, should be nourished and encouraged. If you have kids, let them get involved in your Air Plant journey.
Challenge them to create age-appropriate displays from the items they have on hand. There’s not a doubt in my mind that they will amaze you! Children as young as three years old already have a nurturing trait, and Air Plants can help enhance it!
A display in a child’s room can be as simple as winding yarn around a clothes hanger, then hanging small Air Plant varieties like Ionantha, Juncea or Abdita from varying lengths of yarn. Voila! An Air Plant mobile is born!
As the child ages, their displays will become more complex, interesting, and uniquely tied to the child’s tastes and interests. Here are a couple of “kid-approved” Air Plant displays I’ve found:
Are those sweet, or what? If your child is brand new to the world of Air Plants, I would recommend you purchase a variety-pack assortment of Air Plants like I did to get them started on their adventure. They were inexpensive and arrived in great condition! Additionally, the variety pack gave me an idea of which Air Plant varieties caught my eye (and my heart) the most.
You can purchase this variety pack at the other end of this link.
Then, simply drop those Air Plants in the container of your child’s choice, help them fill a terrarium, or affix the Air Plants to whatever display your child desires. I’ve gathered some links to kid-friendly Air Plant displays from Amazon for you, keeping quality, safety, and budget in mind. Check these out:
This set of Air Plant holders would go great on a child’s dresser, desk, or windowsill. They are simple with a fun design and they are unbreakable! Grab a pair for your child right here.
This simple 8-piece set is as colorful as your child’s box of crayons! Each colored pot has a color-corresponding tray for underneath, and the whole set holds my favorite quality when it comes to products for children… they’re unbreakable! Simply fill the bottom of the pot with marbles, sand, pebbles or moss and plop an Air Plant on top. Get your 8-piece set from Amazon here.
Please keep in mind that all Air Plant displays for your child should be age-appropriate. Look at what children who are a little older can create for their Air Plants (below). How fun!
Grab a “Paint it Yourself” Air Plant display here on Amazon.
Toss the traditional thinking… and the soil from this fun kit for kids! Instead, allow your child to create a Fairy Air Plant Garden! You’ll find the Fairy Garden Kit (pictured below) right here.
Caring for Air Plants in Terrariums (or Out)
I added the “or out” to the heading of this section because all indoor Air Plants require the same care. The routine changes slightly when it comes to outdoor Air Plant displays, and I promise we will cover that a little further along in this article. For now, let’s talk about the care for your indoor Air Plant(s).
Get the Light Right for Your Air Plants
We’ve already covered how much light Air Plants require to reach optimum health and to have a prolific reproduction cycle. To recap, adequate lighting means 8-12 hours of bright and indirect light daily. Your Air Plant may live with less or diminished lighting, but it likely wouldn’t blossom, and you certainly don’t want to miss that display of beauty!
In areas of your home that are naturally darker because of which direction the window faces, or during winter months when the days are shorter, you may want to consider lighting your Air Plant displays with lighting designed to promote plant growth. This can be as simple as a lightbulb that fits into a standard fixture or lamp like this one from Amazon.
If you have several Air Plants, you may want a “grow light” more specific to your needs (or your taste. Here are two more options for you to choose from:
Watering Your Decorative Air Plants
There are two popular methods for watering Air Plants, by submersion or by misting with a spray bottle. My recommendation is that you combine the two methods. Please allow me to explain. Misting is easy and convenient, and it is the method I most use. Most Air Plants do well when misted every third day or so, depending on temperature and light exposure.
Yes, fellow Air Plant enthusiasts, that is me misting some Air Plants on my lanai. Even though misting is the easier and more convenient method for watering, it has two drawbacks. The first is that the mist often dries before the Air Plant has had the required time it takes to assimilate the moisture. The plant may live with misting alone, but it may not flourish to its full potential.
The second drawback to misting is that it’s a “hands-off” approach to tending to your Air Plant. Getting your hands on that plant gives you the opportunity to carefully inspect the plant for signs of over-saturation (which will cause the Air Plant to rot) and to inspect the plant for its overall well-being.
Submersion watering is exactly what it sounds like. To water by submersion, you simply fill a container big enough to submerge your Air Plants completely underwater and let them soak for 30 minutes to an hour.
As I mentioned, I mist my indoor Air Plants about every third day. One of the great things about Air Plants is that they are flexible to your schedule! (WHEW!) I try to maintain a routine knowing that I’m wanting to see the flowering show sure to come with ultra-healthy plants! But sometimes life gets busy, doesn’t it? Another great reason behind my watering method combo.
Once a month or so, I remove my indoor Air Plants from their displays and terrariums, inspect each one carefully, and give them a full submersion watering.
Whether you use the misting method for watering or the submersion method there is one thing critical to the watering process. You’ll want to allow each plant to dry fully before returning them to their container, lest you should inadvertently promote plant rot. You can tilt the plants to allow for drip-drying, gently shake them dry or lay them out on a towel for a bit as I do.
Watering Flowering Air Plants in Terrariums (and Out)
If your Air Plant is showing the promise of a brand new bloom or has already flowered, you’ll want to be cautious in your watering. Whether you mist or submerge, do so without getting the blossom wet. It’s true that the blossoms get wet in nature when it rains, but we can help prolong the life of the bloom by keeping the flower dry. After all, we want that beauty to last as long as possible, don’t we?
YOU SHOULD KNOW: Hands down, rainwater is the best water for your Air Plants! Behind that is bottled Spring Water. The water itself may not kill a plant, but will absolutely have an effect on your plant’s overall health. To learn everything you should know about watering Air Plants, including the toxins certain waters can contain, you’ll want to read this article, right here on Air Plant Central.
Feeding Air Plants in Terrariums (and Out)
Air Plants do not live on air alone, as many people assume. As we’ve learned, lighting and water are critical elements to Air Plant health. The third critical element is food. Say, just like us, huh? Soil-dependant plants absorb nutrients through their roots, but roots on an Air Plant are for support alone. So, how do Air Plants eat, then?
Air Plants grab their nutrients from the atmosphere with specialized cells called trichomes. In particular, these trichomes gather bits of decaying plant life and insect matter. Since the air in your home is likely (hopefully) lacking in these two elements, you’re going to need to use a fertilizer.
Not just any fertilizer will do, though, and “regular” plant fertilizers can kill your Air Plants because they may contain zinc or boron, both toxic to your Air plants. You’re going to need a fertilizer formulated especially for tillandsia or bromeliads. It’s not easy to find in local garden shops, so I found mine on Amazon and am thrilled with the results! You can grab some to have on hand by clicking right here.
Whatever fertilizer you ultimately end up with, be sure to follow label instructions EXACTLY for best results.
Displaying Air Plants Outdoors
YOU SHOULD KNOW: Air Plants can grow outdoors in temperatures ranging from 55-95 degrees Fahrenheit (12-35 degrees Celsius), providing they receive sufficient lighting and protection from extreme temperatures that fall outside that range. For complete information on growing and displaying Air plants outdoors, follow this link for a guide right here on Air Plant Central.
The photograph above illustrates how simply you can display Air Plants outdoors. Isn’t Sheri’s Xerographica awesome?!? Here are some more examples of utilizing nature for displaying your Air Plants outdoors:
How spectacular do all those displays look?!? Adding Air Plants to your outdoor living areas is easy as pie! They don’t just have to hang from trees, either. Please join me on the lanai, which is simply a fancy southern word for “screened in back porch”. I’ll show you a couple of ideas for this area, too.
Did you notice how simple twine performed the task of displaying those outdoor Air Plants beautifully? A simple chain works fantastically too, as well as some chicken wire stretched across a picture frame! Check these out…
YOU SHOULD KNOW: I value your time! I still have more Air Plant display ideas to share with you today, and I’m going to share them, but I don’t want to go any further until I am sure you know how much I appreciate you for stopping by.
I created Air Plant Central as a way to show my love for the unique and exotic beauty Air Plants possess. I learned straight away in my journey there was a lot to learn about the specific needs of my plants, and learn I did! I also found out a lot of fascinating Air Plant facts along the way!
The heart of Air Plant Central, my heart, is to share this knowledge and these facts in a forum that gathers all this Air Plant information together for your ease and convenience. Now, let’s finish off our time together today with more inspiring Air Plant display ideas before your phone or doorbell rings! Stop by again soon~Jackie H
Air Plants and Terrariums and Other Displays (Oh, My!)
In no particular order, here are some more Air Plant Display Ideas too unique to omit from this article. I know by now, you’ve come up with a few of your own!
Sally might sell them by the seashore, but some of us hang them in a window!
Not sure what to do with that piece? Add an Air Plant!
Have you decided yet whether you’ll assemble your own Air Plant Terrarium or buy a kit? Look at these innovative displays…
YOU SHOULD KNOW: The most common and popular Air Plant varieties will always fit in the palm of your hand. An Air Plant variety is considered large if it is more than ten inches in diameter or more than six inches tall. Keep this in mind when designing displays.
Truly, I hope reading this article has been informative and inspiring for you! Display your Air Plant collection in a way that displays your unique personality and taste… you simply can’t go wrong!
Samantha Taylor is the Senior Editor of airplantcentral.com. Her love for plants goes back to her childhood when she spent hours in the garden with her dear grandfather. As an aspiring botanist, she started her own business specializing in air plants.