Tillandsias are known as air plants because they don’t grow in soil. This silvery beauty is often called “King of the Air Plants” because it can grow to over 3 feet across. The leaves curl, taper and twist to form a living sculpture. Mist or soak the plant up to twice a week to keep it healthy.
For a low-maintenance indoor garden, cluster several tillandsia together and step away. This large-scale air plant grows without soil, extracting its needed nutrients from air and water. These giant tillandsia are from Terrain.
A large vase set on the vertical and a mini cube holding a Tillandsia can result in sleek and elegant terrariums, says Wil Gonzalez, a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers. Tillandsia and succulents are ideal for home decor because they are low-maintenance, says Gonzalez, owner of W/E Flowers in Ukiah, Calif.
Soak tillandsia every two weeks in water and set back into place in your arrangement. In creating a tablescape you can vary combinations like this—of tillandsia, white aquarium pebble, amethyst and purple agate in a black container—with succulent and sand cubes to offer variations on shape and form.
This outdoor shower gives new meaning to the words "green design," with low-maintenance tropical foliage built right in. The sleek vertical shower column is surrounded by Tillandsia, or "air plants." These twisting tropical blooms grow without soil and need little moisture to thrive, making them an ideal choice to bring life and color to this outdoor space.
A cube-shaped terrarium has clean lines that lend themselves to modern design. When Jeffrey Schneider of Jeffrey's Terrariums creates his displays, the plants are sized proportionally to the vessels. "I like to think of the layouts as miniature landscapes," he says. This air plant terrarium holds Tillandsia streptophylla, filifolia, Bulbosa Guatemala, Ionantha Victoriana, Aeranthos and Funkiana, along with horn wood and river stone.
Air plants placed in small globes add a small, organic touch against an urban-style wall painted by a graffiti artist. Air plants are wonderful hands-off decor as they absorb the water and nutrients they need from the air through their leaves.
The Pitcairnia bromeliad group is the second largest in the bromeliad family (Tillandsia is the largest). Pitcairnia altensteinii is native to Venezuela. The flower structure on this pretty bromeliad offers a refreshing tinted beauty, with green and white bracts skirting white blossoms. Many Pitcairnia blooms often last months.
Large cylinder aquarium scenes with Tillandsia "sea creatures" are a hit with adults and kids, says Wil Gonzalez, owner of W/E Flowers in Uriah, Calif., and a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers. In this one, he's used sedum and the "sea creatures" with stones.
The cardinal airplant (Tillandsia fasciculata) is native to Florida, as well as Central and South America. In the wild, this pretty epiphytic often grows in clusters, forming colorful bundles of greenery punctuated with bright red blooms. Indoors, grow cardinal airplant near a bright eastern or southern window and with good air circulation.
Bruce Holst for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
The back of this built-in bookcase is lined with Novogratz Constellation removable wallpaper. The off-white peel-and-stick paper with gold foil design creates striking contrast against the deep green walls and dark wood shelves and can easily be removed or replaced. Accessories like a "hello" sign made from wire, astronaut artwork, a moon LED night light and a brontosaurus tillandsia planter add to the whimsy of the display.
Agate, geodes and the fun addition of porcupine quills add an unexpected flourish to this tablescape featuring echeveria, tillandsia and cactus. “This is a simple design to try at home,” says Sara Fried of Fete Nashville: Luxury Weddings, a wedding and event planning firm. “Unlike many high-end tablescapes, succulents and cacti can be a fool-proof design option. They arrive with personality.”
“I love when a client chooses to about-face from the traditional and opt for succulent tablescapes,” says Fried. “I’m beginning to see a shift with what was once a minimalist look into fully-designed, color-driven pieces packed with design elements that span geode, quills, feathers, stone, and wood. It’s striking in a way that floral often can’t provide.”