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5 Starter Air Plants for the Beginner

If you've ever wanted to try your hand at air plants but weren't sure which were the best ones start with then we've got you covered! The five air plants below are very easy to care for and perfect for beginners. Although each vary in price, they are some of the hardiest air plants you can find.

The first three have a low price range anywhere from $3-$10 depending on the size. The last two are a bit more pricey, ranging from $15 to $25 and up to over $100. Of course if you're spending over $100 then you're most likely a collector because those are plants that have grown for a very long time and are quite large. Since you're a beginner, stick with the lower end price range on the last two air plants. Keep reading to learn a little bit about how easy it is to care for these air plants!

Air Plant #1

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ionantha-air-plant
ionantha-in-planter

Tillandsia ionantha
(Tih-land-zee-uh Eye-oh-nan-tha)

Small, cute, colorful and hardy Tillandsia ionantha is one of the easiest air plants to care for. Its low price and minimal care make it perfect for those who are new to air plants. The ionantha can go for long periods without water because it can absorb it directly out of the air! However if you want to keep it extra happy follow these simple steps to get the most out of this cute little air plant:

Can grow up to: 5 inches tall
Native to: Mexico & Central America
Bloom color: Purple

1. Mist 2-4 times a week with filtered or distilled water (or soak for 30 minutes 1-2 times a week if you're a super busy person).

2. Water more often when it's extra dry inside your home and less when it's extra humid. (Depending on the humidity levels inside your home, ionanthas can stay healthy for up to two months without water. Although it's not recommended to go this long without watering.)

3. Place your ionantha where receive bright light. Next to a window or under a full spectrum lamp is best. (It can even handle direct sunlight for a couple hours a day.)

4. Fertilize with tillandsia or bromeliad plant food. Standard house plant food like miracle gro all purpose plant food can harm your air plant. Most plant foods container copper and zinc which can make them unhealthy and slowly kill them. So stick with tillandsia specific plant food.

ionantha-clump

Now that you know how to care for ionanthas we hope you're excited about possibly giving one a try. A happy ionantha will eventually flower and turn into a lovely clump just like the one in the photo above! When the little baby pups are large enough you can snap them off the parent plant and stick them all over your house like the crazy plant lady (or man) you are! Or you can let it continue to grow in clump form and years from now it will become a spectacular globe of many little ionanthas.

Up next! An air plant that looks a bit like a tumble weed.

Air Plant #2

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fuchsii-outside
tillandsia-fuchsii-on-driftwood

Tillandsia fuchsii
(fook-see-eye)

This adorable air plant with super thin, soft leaves and a ball like base makes it look a bit like a tumble weed. It can certainly tumble around if a gust of wind catches it. An inexpensive air plant that is easy to care for makes it an attractive starter plant for the beginner. So if you're new to these unique and rewarding plants you'll want to try this one out.

Can grow up to: 4 inches tall
Native to: Mexico and Guatemala
Bloom color: Purple

1. Because of their very thin leaves you'll need to water the fuchsii more often than the ionantha. Mist 3-5 times a week with filtered or distilled water or soak for 30 minutes 1-2 times a week. If you start seeing the tips of their leaves turn brown water more often.

2. Allow your fuchsii to dry 4 hours after watering to ensure a healthy plant. If it's still dry after 4 hours place it where it will receive airflow, like by an open window or near a fan.

3. Keep your fuchsii where it will receive bright indirect light. Near a bright window is best or under shade. Unlike the ionantha, the fuchsii can't handle direct sunlight for any part of the day.

4. Fertilizing is not a necessity if you use filtered water but will definitely help keep your fuchsii extra healthy. Always fertilize once a month if using distilled water. Remember to avoid standard house plant foods and use tillandsia or bromeliad food only.

fuchsii-on-cactus

With these easy care steps your fuchsii will grow happy, healthy and eventually bloom. Just like the ionantha it will eventually have little babies (pups) and become a clump!

Next up, a tall, thin leafed air plant that looks just like grass!

Air Plant #3

tillandsia-juncifolias
tillandsia-juncifolia-misted
juncifolia-grass

Tillandsia juncifolia
(joon-suh-folia)

A beautiful tall air plant with a grass like appearance makes it very attractive indeed. You can display it in many applications including wreaths, driftwood displays or simply wire wrapped. Juncifolia is an extremely hardy air plant and almost impossible to kill. With these simple care steps you'll have a healthy and happy plant for years to come.

Can grow up to: 15 inches tall
Native to: Guatemala
Bloom color: Purple

1. Mist with distilled or filtered water 2-4 times a week. Adjust accordingly when it's extra dry inside your home. Unlike the fuchsii, it's best not to soak it. If you decide to make sure to put a timer on for a half hour. You don't want to leave it in the water longer than that otherwise you could damage it.

2. Just like the ionantha and fuchsii be sure your juncifolia is dry within 4 hours after watering. This is especially important if you decide to place it inside a vase.

3. Juncifolias prefer a lots of bright all day but avoid placing them in direct sunlight for any part of the day.

4. Fertilize with tillandsia food once a month to keep your air plant happy and healthy. Always fertilize once a month if you are using distilled water.

t-juncifolia-air-plant

The juncifolia is truly a hardy air plant with a low price tag which makes great for the beginner that has never had an air plant before.

Now that you see how easy it is to care for this lovely grassy air plant you'll want to scroll onto the next one. It's white, fuzzy and the hardiest air plant ever!

 


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Air Plant #4

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tectorum-large
tectorum

Tillandsia tectorum Ecuador
(teck-tor-um)

If you've heard of air plants before then you most likely have heard of Tillandsia tectorum and it's perhaps one of the easiest air plants to care for. Why is this? The tectorum is found in desert like conditions in the wild which makes it especially hardy. It can survive these conditions because of the fuzzy white things on its leaves called trichomes. Every air plant has them but this one has the largest of any known species.

So what are trichomes? They are what air plants use to capture food (dust particles) and absorb water. The bigger the trichomes the more moisture it can absorb, the smaller the trichomes the less water it can absorb. Having large trichomes allows the tectorum to absorb as much moisture possible out of the dry air. Even though you can basically just ignore this air plant and it will likely survive you'll still want to follow these steps to keep it extra healthy and happy.

Can grow up to: 8 inches wide
Native to: Ecuador
Bloom color: Light purple to pink

1. Mist once every 1-2 weeks. Avoid soaking as it can damage the trichomes and the overall health of the air plant.

2. Always ensure it's fully dry within 5 hours after watering. Place it by a fan or open window to help it dry if the leaves still contain water after that time period.

3. Tectorums enjoy extra bright light so place them next to window that receives all day sun or under a full spectrum lamp. You can even keep them outside if you live in a mild climate (or in the summer months if you don't). In fact it's one of the only air plants that can handle direct sunlight all day long. Just remember to keep it out of direct sunlight when temperatures exceed 90 degrees.

4. Air circulation is very important for this air plant so be sure to provide it with that. An open window is best or you can blow a fan on it at low speed. This will help maintain excellent health.

5. Just like all other air plants, fertilizing the tectorum with tillandsia food once a month will do it good. Always follow the instructions on the package and never over fertilize. Over fertilization can cause burns on the leaves.

t-tectorum-flowering

Now that you're excited how easy it is to care for the fuzzy snowball called Tillandsia tectorum, you'll be excited for the last air plant. It's probably the most popular one on the market, and for a good reason. Keep reading to see what this delightful and attractive air plant is.

Air Plant #5

12 Inch Extra Large Tillandsia xerographica
large-xerographica
Tillandsia xerographica

Tillandsia xerographica
(zero-graph-ick-uh)

Stiff, silver-green curly leaves and a rosette appearance makes Tillandsia xerographica one of the most popular (if not the most) air plant on the market. If you've never heard of air plants you've probably still seen one of these in a photo online or perhaps in that wedding or style magazine. These air plants can grow quite large (over 12 inches in diameter) and live a very long time. Although not the cheapest air plant, it's very easy to care for. Read on to learn more!

Can grow up to: 15+ inches in diameter
Native to: Southern Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
Bloom color: Purple

1. Mist 1-2 times per week, more if it is extra dry inside your home and less if it's humid. You can also soak it once or twice every two weeks for a half hour each time. If you decide to soak, make sure to tip your xerographica upside down afterwards and shake any excess water that can collect in its crown.

2. Xerographicas don't enjoy being wet for too long so be sure they dry up at least 4 hours after watering. Place a fan next to it after 4 hours if not completely dry.

3. Just like tectorums, xerographicas love light. Place it where it will receive bright light for the whole day. You can also place in direct sunlight, but limit the time to 2-3 hours per day.

4. Fertilize once a month with a high quality tillandsia fertilizer. Remember never to use any old house plant food as this can slowly kill your air plant.

And there you have it! Now that you see how easy it is to care for these air plants we hope you're excited to try one out. A lot of beginners are nervous with air plants because there is a lot of misinformation on how to care for them. Probably the most common way air plants perish is watering too much while not giving it enough light. And visa versa. So be sure to give your air plant enough light and water!

If you ever have any questions leave a comment and we'll be sure to respond to you! Or you can contact us directly and we'd be happy to do our best to answer your questions. Although we don't claim we're experts we do have a lot of experience caring for many different Tillandsia species.

Thank you for reading!

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