Saturday, 9 June 2012

AIR PLANTS (Tillandsia)

Some years ago I saw some air plants at my local garden centre.  They were so beautiful I had to buy some plants.  I didn't like the pre-prepared displays of plants that were glued onto various stands with quite horrid looking ornaments, so I brought several individual plants  I asked my Father for a piece of branch or a bit of a trunk to put them on.

What my Father found for me was this piece of tree root.  Which I thought (and still think) looks like a sculpture.  Absolutely perfect for air plants with all the little nooks and crannies.  My partner put a couple of screws into the bathroom wall to hang it on and attached a wire onto the back of the root to hang it by.

We hung it up and then had several hot days.  It was then that we discovered to our horror that it had woodworm - root taken quickly out of the house and woodworm Beatles hoovered off the bathroom walls and ceiling.  When the house was cleared the root was given a very vigorous woodworm treatment as far from the house as possible.

the root in fact hangs upside down

Once the root was free from woodworm it was put back into the bathroom and after a few weeks the air plants was arranged on it.

The way to care for air plant then was to glue the plants onto the mount and mist with a plant spray twice a day to give the same effect as the rain forest  canopy.

Sadly the air plants did not thrive.  It may be that the plants were not of a particularly good quality to begin with or that they were just not getting the water they needed from misting them, our bathroom was certainly not as humid as I thought it might have been.  The root remained on the wall though.

During the recent bank holiday we went to the garden show at the Kent County Showground, Detling.  As we walked through one of the display halls I saw a stand selling air plants. 
£22.00 worth of air plants
I really wanted to have another go at growing these amazing plants so I chose three of the smaller ones, I would have liked more but there were other plants I wanted at the show then my partner offered to buy me some more.  Six beautiful plants just the right amount for the root. 

Times have changed since the first time I had air plants - no longer are they glued onto anything.  Now they are rested on the chosen mount and removed to be watered by immersing them in rain water every day and allowing them to dry before returning them to their positions.

This seems to be a much better way to do things (so far).  There is the added advantage that the plants can be arranged in a slightly different way each day.

So now the root is restored to former glory and is again a perfect foil for the air plants.

These plants are of a really excellent quality - the colour is good and the plants feel firm.  I am waiting for the flower buds to open on one of them.  If these are a success I will probably get some bromeliads again.

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