IonanthaAbout Tilandsias

Tillandsias, or air plants, are epiphytes, a type of plant that grows above the ground surface by using plants, rocks, or other objects for support. They are not rooted in the soil, nor are they parasitic (they do not directly harm the plant they are growing on). By growing on other plants, epiphytes can reach positions where the light is better or where they can avoid competition for light. Tillandsias are highly specialized epiphytes that have tiny scales on their leaves which absorb water and nutrients from the atmosphere. These scales, called trichomes, collapse or flatten during dry periods and form a plug to prevent water from leaving the leaf. When moisture is present, these cells rise and form channels that allow water to move into the leaf and obtain the moisture and nutrients needed by the plant. These adaptations make tillandsias a low maintenance and highly adaptable plant to a variety of environments.

They can survive in indoor or outdoor conditions and in a variety of light conditions. In temperate climates, they can spend the warmer months outside and be moved indoors during the winter.