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Last Update 06/03/08

Plant of the Month


 Air Plant

Air plants are those strange little evergreen epiphytic perennial bromeliads Florida gardeners often find clinging to the branches of their larger trees and shrubs. Tillandsias. are members of the Bromeliaceae family and only perch on their host plants deriving no nutrition from them -- they are not a parasitic plant and cause no more harm than making their hosts look a little shaggy. The best known member of this genus, for Southerners, is Spanish Moss.

Air Plant on Surinam Cherry hedge

Spanish Moss on Australian Pine

Plant Facts:

Common Name:   Air Plant, Spanish Moss

Botanical Name:   Tillandsia argentea (Air Plant), T. usneoides (Spanish Moss)

Family:  Bromeliaceae

Plant Type:  Evergreen perennial bromeliad

Origin: S. US, Central and South America, West Indies

Zones: 9 - 11

Height:  10" to indefinite length

Rate of Growth: Slow

Salt Tolerance: High

Soil Requirements:  

Water Requirements: Mist daily

Nutritional Requirements: Dilute, balanced liquid fertilizer monthly

Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light

Form:  Short and dense to long and wiry

Leaves:  Scaly, gray-green and slender 1-3in long

Flowers: Solitary, tubular greenish-yellow or blue, sometimes scented


Pests or diseases:  

Uses:  Epiphytic specimens on trees

Bad Habits: Makes trees and shrubs look shabby and unkempt

Cost:  $0 - $ -- Free to very reasonable

Propagation:  Seeds sown on sphagnum moss or offsets taken in spring

Sources:  A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants

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