I do believe it was 1970-something when I first saw an Air Plant. It was displayed near the cash register in the supermart, stuck on a magnet. The sign said, “AIR PLANTS NEED NOTHING BUT AIR TO GROW!” The sign was wrong. My first Air Plant died before my eyes stuck there on the side of my refrigerator!
Air plant popularity has come a long way since then, and so has my knowledge about these exotic and beautiful plants! I have learned that Air Plants DO need more than air to live, and I’ve learned a thing or two about displaying them in more creative ways than gluing them to a refrigerator magnet.
I’m glad you’ve dropped by! Today we’ll take a look at some imaginative and beautiful ways to display Air plants on the wall. Of course, we could still make that refrigerator magnet, but ours will live so much longer than mine did so many years ago because we know how to keep Air Plants displayed AND alive! We’ve got a lot to go over today, so let’s get started…
Wall-Mounted Air Plant Displays
Any time I discuss displaying an Air Plant collection, I always mention using what already exists. Air Plants add a breath of life and color into the things you might already have hanging on your wall(s). Notice how the display just above was for a votive candle? Not anymore! Just a little imagination and the enthusiast has a custom Air Plant Display!
Ways to Mount Air Plant Displays on Walls
Mounting an Air Plant display to a wall can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. Even large Air Plants weigh next to nothing! An Air Plant is considered large if it is over 10 inches (25cm) in diameter or over 6 inches (15cm) tall. The weight comes from the container you display the plant in or mount it to.
A simple push-pin can get the job done with ease and is minimally invasive to the structure of the wall. If you’d rather not put any holes in your wall at all, command strips are an easy and convenient alternative. Each hook can hold up to 5 pounds, and they’re easy to remove without damaging the paint on the wall one bit!
Wall Display: Frame Your Air Plants
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to display a variety of small Air Plants on the wall is by “framing” them. You can create your own imaginative displays using picture frames, or you can buy the frame already made and simply add your Air Plants to it.
In the photograph above, I purchased the frame online and simply tucked my Air Plants in the openings in the wire weave.
In Photo B, the Air Plant enthusiast tacked string into a star-like design and added an Air Plant right in the center. How creative is that?
In Photo C (above), simple twigs are used in the frame to create a natural-looking and attractive “habitat” for the Air Plants. Additionally, you can easily customize a framed Air Plant Display to blend beautifully into whatever your taste in color is! Air Plants are different, unique and fun, why not display them in different, unique and fun ways, right?
Wall Decor: Air Plant Wreaths
You may have thought of the holidays when you saw the word “wreath” but the holidays aren’t the only time of year to enjoy an Air Plant wreath! Add a taste of the tropics to any room by making a tillandsia wreath (see example 1).
When the holidays do roll around, you can customize an Air Plant wreath to correspond to the holiday you’re observing. The simple holly berries and big red bow on the Air Plant wreath in example 2 transform it from a tropical paradise to a winter wonderland!
Example 3 (below) is a slight variation of an Air Plant wreath. It’s made of wicker and has a “pocket” o the bottom. Wicker is a great material for displaying Air Plants because they “grab” on easily for their structural support. Did you know that the roots of an Air Plant serve no purpose but to anchor the plant to its host?
I have found a lot of unique wicker pieces in stores with a basket selection like Pier One Imports. Even my local thrift stores usually have some sort of wicker baskets or unique wall pieces as in example 3.
Unique Wall Display for Air Plants
Without a doubt, I will own the unique “Dream Catcher” Air Plant display featured on Amazon! I love that it’s sleek and trim, it takes up a lot of wall space without taking up any space in the room. The dream catcher Ar Plant display would be great for smaller rooms, foyers or hallways, providing the lighting is sufficient. More information about lighting Air Plants adequately is coming up, please continue reading.
Just above, you can see how easily a few twigs and Air Plants create a relaxing environment in a bedroom. On top of that, scientific studies have proven that Air Plants clean the air in their environment more efficiently than any other plant of comparable size! You’ll rest easy knowing the air you breathe as you sleep is as clean as it can possibly be!
In the photo above, an old window shutter is used to display Air Plants. I never would have thought of that! How about you? The shutter can be mounted to the wall with anchoring screws, or it can simply lean against the wall, the choice is yours! Used shutters are easy to find in thrift stores and resale shops, but they certainly don’t have to be old, either. Home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot carry a variety of shutter styles, colors, and sizes.
Lighting & Wall Mounted Air Plant Displays
Air Plants will flourish best when they receive 8-12 hours daily of bright and indirect lighting. In nature, you’ll find them attached to trees and other plants near the top and in the shade. Too much light will scorch the plant, and too little light will stunt its growth.
When growing Air Plants indoors, this means you will want to keep them in brightly lit rooms near the window. Now, don’t get me wrong, they will live with less lighting, but they may not successfully reach maturation, where the blooming cycle occurs. And let’s face it, we don’t want to miss out of those exotic blooms!
If you have areas in your home that are naturally darker, take heart! Those areas are not exempt from displaying Air Plants, you just may need to provide a lighting “supplement” by purchasing a light designed to promote plant growth. These lights can be as simple as a single bulb that fits in any standard fixture or they can be elaborate lighting systems. The choice is yours!
A “grow light” isn’t expensive, can light a room just like a “regular” bulb and also come in different wattages. You’ll find them in any garden department, and Amazon has a plethora of lighting choices to suit your needs.
Lighting & Outdoor Air Plant Wall Displays
Air Plants can really bring outdoor living areas to life! Many pool decks, patios, porches, and lanais have some traditional potted plants around and are certainly lovely, but the walls can sometimes feel barren! Bring them to life with Air Plants!
In the photo just above Air Plants in Sea Urchins are hung at varying lengths with fishing line attached to a simple plastic chain. What a simple way to decorate outside! The Sea Urchins are inexpensive and you can purchase them naturally colored, or buy colors that match your taste and/or decor taste.
I also want to mention that some Air Plant varieties flourish better than others when hung upside-down. Since there are more than 450 varieties, plus a couple of hundred hybrid varieties, I would encourage you to learn which varieties prosper for you in the upside-down position through trial and error. If an Air Plant becomes limp and listless upside-down and prospers when you flip it right-side-up, you have your answer!
If you’d like to learn more about the many, many Air Plant varieties, you’ll certainly enjoy this article right here on Air Plant central!
The Xerographica pictured above was affixed to an outdoor window frame. You can’t see it, but there is a length of some flexible wire gently wrapped around the base of the plant and just “tucked” into the window frame.
Both plants pictured are displayed under the cover of the roof, giving them plenty of sunlight without the light being directly on them. Air Plants can tolerate a small portion of direct sunlight daily, but several hours f direct exposure would certainly be detrimental in the long run. To ascertain how much lighting any specific outdoor area receives in a day, simply observe the area every two hours for a full day.
In the Northern hemisphere, the South-facing side of a home typically receives the bulk of daily sunshine. If this is the side of the house you want to display your Air Plants, be sure they have shelter from long hours of harsh daylight!
Watering Wall-Mounted Air Plant Displays
I’m often asked which is the best method for watering Air Plants that are mounted to displays on walls. Personal preference rules here, but I’ll go over a few things here that you’ll want to consider when it comes to watering wall-mounted Air Plant displays.
When it comes to my outdoor Air plants, I simply set my spray bottle to the “mist” setting and let it rip!
Indoors, though, I’m a lot more careful with the misting. When misting, you do want to saturate the entire Air Plant, but you also want to be careful not to allow water to pool up in the center of the plant. This can promote plant rot, a difficult situation to remedy. Air Plants need to be watered about every third day when using the misting method.
The second method for watering Air Plants is by using the submersion method. It’s exactly what t sounds like. The plant gets submerged completely in water for 30 minutes to an hour, then allowed to drip dry at an angle (to prevent plant rot) before being returned to their display. The submersion is method can be done about once every week-ten days for best results.
The benefit of using the misting method is convenience and ease. The benefit of submersion watering is that the Air Plant is able to fully assimilate the amount of water it needs. The draw-back to misting is that often, the mist dries before the plant has had time to assimilate the mist. The draw-back to submerging wall-mounted Air Plant displays is that the plants must first be removed from their mounting, and replaced after the watering procedure (and proper drying).
As I mentioned, I do utilize the misting method most often, but about once a month, I try to water my Air Plants via the submersion method. I do this for three reasons.
- To be positive my Air Plants are receiving adequate hydration.
- To allow for the opportunity to inspect my Air Plants for signs of possible problems.
- To “groom” my Air Plants if needed. This grooming is simple! I simply use a sharp pair of scissors to snip away any browning tips on the plant(s) as well as any dying leaves. Additionally, sometimes the roots can grow in an unruly fashion. Since the roots of an Air Plant do no more than “anchor” the plant and allow it to attach itself to a host plant (or display) it is perfectly acceptable (and safe) to trim the roots to where they look tidy.
FAQ: Can Air Plants be Displayed on a Bathroom Wall?
In nature, Air Plants thrive in tropical or sub-tropical environments. We can know by this that high humidity is good for them. Your bathroom is probably the most humid room in your home, making it a great spot to display Air Plants! As long as the lighting requirement is met naturally or through artificial lighting, of course.
Wall groupings like the one pictured above provide an excellent way to liven up a bathroom with Air Plants! Of course, you can find ones (or paint some) that will match your towels and/or decor.
The walls of your bathroom aren’t the only spot you can “dress up” with Air Plants, either. Hang several from the curtain rod, or create a unique display in an ornate soap dish on the vanity. Remember how well Air Plants clean the air in their environment and don’t hold back on how many you use! Who doesn’t love a fresh bathroom?!?
Creating Your Own Air Plant Wall Displays
I’m not against purchasing wall-mounted displays for my Air Plants at all! In fact, there will be several top-selling options available for you throughout this article, a few of which I own myself. I do, however, also enjoy utilizing what I already have on my walls!
Attach some Air Plants to a wall tapestry, tuck some in the corners of picture frames. Replace candles you never light with Air Plants in wall sconces. Key racks, coat racks..I think you are getting the idea! Everything looks better with an Air Plant in it, on it, or around it.
I opened today’s article with a story about my very first Air Plant being attached to a magnet on my fridge, remember? That story didn’t end so well, but it didn’t make me dismiss the idea of an Air Plant that is a refrigerator magnet, as well.
I saw the adorable pair of pineapple Air Plant holders pictured just above on Amazon the other day. They can be hung on the wall, and also have a magnet on the back. If they tickle your fancy, you can grab the pair right at the other end of this link.
Making a magnet is also an option. I’ve seen Air Plants mounted to a wine bottle cork with a small piece of flexible wire, cord or string, to hold them in place, and a magnet glued on the back of the cork for mounting. Magnets are very inexpensive and can ve found in the crafting department of your favorite store.
A hot glue tool is probably already in your junk drawer, sewing basket, or tool kit. If not, they are also inexpensive and can be helpful in any Air Plant display. I do not recommend gluing the Air Plant itself, but I have seen it done. If there is no other way to affix your plant to its display and you do opt for hot glue, use the smallest amount of glue possible, and allow the glue to cool for a few moments before applying the Ait Plant.
To create a magnet like the one pictured below, use hot glue to attach the seashell that will hold to Air Plant to the shell that will “mount” the plant. Then, glue a magnet on the back of the “mounting” shell. Hang the display on your refrigerator (or filing cabinet in your office) and drop in an Air Plant. Easy-peasy!
Your imagination is the limit for the subject matter or theme of your magnet display(s)!
Fertilizing Wall-Mounted Air Plants
We’ve gone over how much light Air Plants Need and covered how to water your Air Plant wall displays, but I would be remiss not to mention that Air Plants also need nutrition. Outdoors, Air Plants collect their water and their “food” (bits of decaying leaves and insect matter) from the air through specialized cells on the plant’s surface called trichomes. These trichomes resemble fine hairs.
Indoor Air Plants, however, will need to be fertilized, because the nutritional elements they require are not floating around inside your home. It’s important to know that you will need a fertilizer specially formulated for tillandsia and bromeliads. “Regular” fertilizers can contain zinc or boron, two substances that are TOXIC to Air Plants.
Your indoor Air Plants may not die if they are not fertilized, but they would likely not mature to reach their reproductive cycle, where blooming occurs and Air Plant Pups are created. You can grab some tillandsia fertilizer on Amazon by following this link.
Whatever brand of fertilizer you ultimately end up using, be sure to follow the label instructions EXACTLY.
Wall-Mounted Glass Air Plant Holders
Glass Air Plant holders come in a variety of styles these days and most have an option for wall-mounting. There are even terrariums for Air Plants that can be mounted to a wall. In the photograph just above, you can see that the Air Plant holder can be wall-mounted, placed on a flat surface, or hung. When using a glass container or terrarium, there are two things to keep in mind:
- Make sure there is never water pooling in the container after watering.
- Allow for proper ventilation. Although Air Plants do love moisture, a completely enclosed terrarium will promote over-saturation, making the plant(s) soggy and at high risk for plant rot.
Just below, you’ll find links to some beautiful and creative glass Air Plant holders and terrariums that were made to be wall-mounted. If you already have a glass container you’d like to use, but it has no holes for mounting, you can wrap wire, string, or ribbon around the ‘mouth” of the container and hang it by a string, or whatever you’d like. Displaying Air Plants also displays your own creativity!
Trellis or Lattice Look Air Plant Wall Display
I adore the framed lattice look in the photograph above! Don’t you? Garden departments have all kinds of trellises in lightweight plastic and in varying colors. Pick up a trellis that suits your needs and taste and “dress it up” in any way you fancy! Mount it so it is about an inch (2.5 cm) from the wall to allow for tucking the Air Plants into it, or buy a tall trellis and lean it against a wall.
Although the trellis pictured above is shown in the outdoors, it would also make for a lovely wall-mounted indoor Air Plant Display! Simple paint it the color that suits you, and attach your Air Plants to it in any way you wish. You could hang them from colored ribbons or invisible fishing line, or even cover the back with fine wire to tuck the plants into.
Air Plants on a Wall-Mounted Shelf
Consider shelving as well when it comes to dressing up your walls with Air Plants! There is shelving to match any decor, and it can be made of many different materials like wicker, wood, or even plastic! The varying widths of shelves available make it easy to select ones that suit your need and compliment the size of the room you’ll be hanging them in.
Simply follow the instructions for mounting the shelf to the wall, and add your Air Plant holders to the shelf for an attractive look.
Trouble-Shooting Wall-Mounted Air Plants
The most common issues with Air Plants are similar, whether they’re displayed on a wall or not, and whether they’re indoors or outdoors. Below you’ll find the three most common issues, the probable cause, and the solution.
- Brown Tips are most often caused by too much direct light or inadequate hydration. Double-check the lighting first, and if you’re sure it is correct, increase the frequency of watering. The brown tips can be snipped off with a sharp pair of scissors.
- Yellowing Leaves that feel “squishy” are most often an indicator of over-saturation or misuse of fertilizer. If you’re watering regularly, try allowing more time between waterings. Double-check to make sure you have been following the fertilizer’s directions EXACTLY, keeping in mind you MUST use fertilizer for tillandsia or bromeliads.
- Limp and Listless Air Plants most often need more water or more light, or more frequent fertilizer applications.
A little “trial and error” goes a long way in Air Plant care! What is perfect for one variety may not be ideal for another. Air Plants are healthiest and will mature best when you’ve found the proper combination of lighting, hydration, and nutrition.
Additionally, you’ll want to protect your Air Plants from toxins. It’s good to know that no variety of Air Plant is toxic to humans or animals, but since they assimilate everything in their environment, you should know what is toxic TO THEM. This handy infographic will help. Feel free to save it for future reference!
For more in-depth information about Air Plants that are ailing, please refer to this article.
I want you to know how happy I am that you’ve stopped by! I’m just as excited about your Air Plants looking beautiful and prospering as I am my own! The combination of their ability to clean the air and the exotic beauty of Air Plants make them a fantastic option for bringing any room to life! Thank you for visiting, and HAPPY GROWING!
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.