Air plants feature image

Have you heard of the houseplant that lives in the open air? The Air Plant has gained a lot of attention as a low maintenance houseplant in recent years, but there’s still a lot that people don’t know about its truly unique characteristics.


How to Grow Air Plants

Flowering time: these plants only flower once in their life and it’s as they near the end of it, so expect to only see blooms after they reach at least two years old.

Location: anywhere as long as it’s exposed to the air.

Soil: no soil needed – just air.

Light: medium to bright, indirect light.

Water: depending upon the amount of light, mist on a weekly or multi-weekly basis and soak in water once each week/every other week for 20-30 minutes.

Care: very easy to care for but can be quite slow to grow and flower.

Air plant

Have you ever seen something that looks so much more octopus or squid than plant? These strange, sometimes swirling plants have exploded in popularity over the past few years because of their interesting nature that cause them to live outside of soil and water – hence the name Air Plants! Usually found in the forests and mountains of Central and South America, this genus of plant is epiphytic, meaning it lives on the surface of other plants (mostly trees) but doesn’t harm its host plant. Air Plants appear in all different colours, shapes, and patterns, depending upon its natural environment. While we see small specimens in homes and shops across the globe, these plants can reach enormous sizes when left undisturbed in the wild.

While Air Plants, also known as Tillandsia because of their genus name, grow free of soil most of the time, they have developed interesting ways for collecting nutrients over time. In a home setting, most species of these plant babies love a space with bright, indirect light when possible and direct light as infrequent as possible. Air Plants still photosynthesise with the help of the sun (or artificial light) and need the energy to collect the nutrients and food they need from the air around it. Tillandsia also still need to be watered on occasion, which is best given through high humidity, weekly mistings, and a good dip in the water every other week.

The interesting nature of Tillandsia plants doesn’t end at their preference to live in the air; it can also be seen in the shapes and colours of the different species and in the vibrant blooms they put out in their lives! Each Air Plant has its own growth pattern, with the swirling shape of the Tillandsia xerographica being the most recognizable. Other species can grow in a skinny, straight fashion or more relaxed swirls and circular manners. Each member of the Air Plant family only blooms once in its life and marks the beginning of its decline with this flower, but the flowers produced are unique in their extremely bright colours and equally as unique and individual shapes produced by no other plant in the world.


Air plants


Where can you get hold of an Air Plant?

Each member of the Tillandsia genus is special in its own origin and care needs, but at Pretty Cactus, we carry a wide variety of species and we can recommend care requirements and guidelines for each. Every Air Plant we bring into our store is hand-picked in small batches for their health, rarity, and beauty by the local nurseries we trust to source from. Because of the unique nature of these plants, we also carry special planters to perfectly showcase any Tillandsia you bring into your home.

Pretty Cactus Plants ( currently has stock of these fun and quirky houseplants and they can be ordered online for direct delivery to your door!

Air Plants

About Pretty Cactus

Pretty Cactus is run by Donna and her lovely team from the shop in Brooke, South Norfolk.

Donna started the business in 2018, growing a passion into a business. Donna had always been a plant lover, spending hours in the garden centre and DIY stores picking up sad and reduced pants and nursing them back to health. Her homegrown plants were sold at country fayres and craft markets. Before long, Donna was so busy she decided to give up her corporate job and run Pretty Cactus as a full-time venture. Opening her very first shop and website to sell online.

Donna now works with a team or growers and distributors in the UK and Holland to source plants, trying, where possible, to get hold of more unusual cacti, succulents and other houseplants.

Donna and the Pretty Cactus team are always looking for new ways to style plants, displaying these ideas in the shop and on social media. The Pretty Cactus shop has become an inspirational hub for plant lovers near and far who love to visit the store for ideas, plants, pots, and a bit of friendly plant chat too.

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