Air Plants – The Journey of a Plant Killer Towards Redemption
I am notoriously bad with plants. Many years ago, not knowing anything about plants or gardening, I decided to buy myself some cacti, as I thought those were probably the only plants I would be able to take care of. Wrong. Little by little my cacti started to wither no matter how much or little, often or rarely I watered them in my attempts to resuscitate them. Gradually I gave up on them. I was sure I just wasn’t cut out to keep plants if I couldn’t even keep a cactus alive.
A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon a post on Instagram featuring air plants. I was intrigued, as I had never even heard of plants such as those. However, I decided to do nothing about it, though I kept the thought of them on the back of my head. Moving into my current apartment last year, I got myself a lot of new stuff and made my place as homey and cozy as possible. I gave in to my aversion of fake plants and bought some small fake succulents from Ikea to get some small resemblance of greenery to my space. However, I didn’t quite know how to feel about them and they just didn’t feel the same as real plants (I still do have them on my windowsill though). Once, after I’d had a bunch of friends over, I started to feel kind of self-conscious about not having plants in my apartment. Everyone else seemed to have all these beautiful pieces of greenery all over the nooks and crannies of their homes, and mine was kind of just – well, not very green.
They say you should never make decisions based on comparison to others, but this is one of those cases in my life where the exception trumps the rule. I remembered air plants, did a little bit of googling and took myself plant shopping. And here I am now, the owner of six more or less thriving air plants.
Air plants, also known by their Latin name, tillandsia (fun fact: they were named so after the Finnish botanist Elias Tillander), originate from South and Central America. There are several different types and sizes of them. And here’s their thing: they do not need soil or dirt to grow and they tend to cling to whatever they happen to be near. They take the humidity they need from the air using their leaves. This makes them incredibly easy to take care of: no potting or planting or extensive watering is needed. To take care of an air plant, you need to just mist them with a spray bottle every few days, or alternatively immerse them in the water for about fifteen minutes every couple of weeks. The silvery leafed types endure direct sunlight pretty well while the greener types prefer a more filtered light. It’s too straightforward for even myself to fail at – or, at least, I’ve been able to keep them alive the few months I’ve had them (knock wood).
There are ever so many ways to style your space with air plants! You can use different kinds of glass terrariums, hang them from the ceiling, and play with stones and shells for a base for them to sit on. On the other hand, you can also simply put them wherever you fancy without any casing: I, for example, have a couple of them just sitting on my bookshelf by themselves. Air plants are super simple and minimalistic in both in style and maintenance so I, for one, am very glad that I found out about them.
It’s the little things that can make a space! Suddenly my windowsills and bookshelves look much better and livelier with the subtle greenness inserted into them through the air plants. I plan on getting even more of these babies someday, remembering the studies I’ve read about that state having house plants has several health benefits. Both health and prettiness with minimal effort? I’m all for it.