Air plants are members of the Tillandsia genus, which includes more than 500 species. A few are terrestrial, but most live in trees and on rocks in tropical or subtropical regions.
Air plants can grow either as epiphytes or lithophytes. An epiphyte is a plant that grows on another plant for support, not out of necessity. A lithophyte is a plant that grows on rocks or other hard substrates. The two types of air plants often hybridize and share many characteristics.
Air plants do not need soil to survive and thrive in humid climates where there is plenty of sunlight and fresh air flowing through the area. These conditions are found in South Florida and parts of Mexico, Central America, Hawaii and some Caribbean islands.
Air plants live up to 10 years when grown outdoors under ideal conditions such as those found at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida. The average lifespan for an air plant grown indoors is four to five years due to lack of humidity control and over-watering by owners who do not understand how these plants grow best.
Last modified: August 18, 2022