The 10 Most Beautiful Air Plants [Features and photos]

Air plants are a very specific group whose main characteristic is that they do not have roots.

Interesting, right?

Air plants, as their name implies, grow in the air, or attached to a surface such as a rock or tree trunk.

Lately they have gained a lot of popularity because they are ideal for decorating interior and exterior spaces, as well as their minimal care requirements.

The family of air plants is called tillandsias and today we want to talk about some of them

Do you want to discover them with us?

air carnation

  • Scientific name: Tillandsia Aeranthos.
  • Common name: air carnation, aerial carnation.
  • Height: less than 20 centimeters. Sometimes a little more, but it is not common.
  • Light requirement: medium to low, establishes itself under the shade of trees.
  • Temperature: it is a hot climate, between 10 and 30° C. Below that temperature it could die.
  • Irrigation: not required if it is in a habitat with a good level of humidity. In case it is dry, spray the leaves daily.
  • Subscription: you don’t need it. It collects its nutrients from the air.

This is the most common and most popular tillandsia among those who decide to have an air plant specimen.

It is prone to live attached to certain trees, so if it invades its trunk with numerous specimens it can become harmful. It is easy to control visualizing the suckers.

The carnation of the air reproduces easily, without help, thanks to the formation of suckers in the very structure of the tree where they are found.

Tillandsia Gardneri

  • Scientific name: Tillandsia Gardneri.
  • Common name: Tillandsia Gardneri.
  • Height: around 10 centimeters.
  • Need for light: high, taking care of direct sunlight, especially at noon.
  • Temperature: between 15 and 30° C. It needs warm temperatures to flower.
  • Irrigation: Spray on the leaves once a day in summer and once a week in winter.
  • Fertilizer: not necessary.

Like its sister tillandsias, this is a rootless plant native to tropical and humid climates, such as the forests of Central and South America.

One of its most striking aspects is the color of the leaves, which are not the characteristic green but vary between grayish and blue.

It emits a flower spike that could be considered the most attractive. This is usually pink, lavender or red and rises above the leaves being easy to see.

Tillandsia Andreana

  • Scientific name: Tillandsia Andreana.
  • Common name: Tillandsia Andreana.
  • Height: maximum 15 centimeters.
  • Light requirement: high, although sometimes in nature it can be in partial shade.
  • Temperature: warm, not less than 15° C because it would suffer.
  • Watering: Spray the leaves once a week with a spray bottle. If the environment is very dry, increase the frequency.
  • Fertilizer: not necessary.

The tillandsia andreana is a very attractive species of air plants that can be placed on top of rocks that offer the necessary support.

Its leaves are thin and long, like a kind of hair that grows in all directions.

It generates an attractive flower in a prominent color, usually red, which causes it to stand out easily against the foliage.

Tillandsia Maxima

  • Scientific name: Tillandsia maxima.
  • Common name: Tillandsia maxima, tillandsia australis, yellow spear, giant carnation, giant air carnation, payo, tank bromeliad.
  • Height: more than 30 centimeters.
  • Need for light: high, due to its conditions it usually receives direct sunlight at some time of the day in the middle of nature.
  • Temperature: stay between 10 and 30° C.
  • Irrigation: only daily sprays on the leaves.
  • Subscription: you do not need it.

In the tillandsia family, this is the largest plant, which is more than enough reason for its name.

Due to its structure, the flower is large and long, coral red in color and stands out above the leaves.

Tillandsia Ionantha

  • Scientific name: Tillandsia Ionantha.
  • Common name: sky plant.
  • Height: about 8 centimeters.
  • Light requirement: high.
  • Temperature: warm, always greater than 15° C.
  • Irrigation: direct sprays on the leaves of the plant every day or every two days depending on the weather.
  • Fertilizer: you do not need it, since it absorbs nutrients from the environment.

Another of the tillandsias of the bromeliad family that is a favorite among growers is the tillandsia ionantha.

This plant has the peculiarity of developing thin, pointed leaves that are dark green at the base and turn purple as the structure progresses.

The flowers are deep purple with a series of yellow stamens that create an interesting visual impact. If they live in a suitable climate they can flower all year round.

Tillandsia Usneoides

  • Scientific name: Tillandsia Usneoides.
  • Common name: Spanish moss, old man’s beard, hay, stick beard, salvajina, úcar beards, melena, barbasco, paistle, cuarque, sagopra, salvagina.
  • Height: 6 centimeters, approximately.
  • Light need: medium or high depending on the tree where it stays.
  • Temperature: adaptable to a wide range, from -2° to 35° C.
  • Irrigation: daily sprays to keep it hydrated.
  • Payment: not required.

Spanish moss, or tillandsia usneoides, is a common plant in high- humidity wooded areas, especially in parts of the Americas.

Unlike other tillandsias, in this case the plant is not very likely to emit blooms, so its main attraction is oriented to the compositions that can be made based on its structure.

The leaves are flexible, which facilitates the previous statement. Either way, its flowers are very small.

Tillandsia Caput-medusae

  • Scientific name: Tillandsia Caput-medusae.
  • Common name: jellyfish head,octopus plant.
  • Height: the height is measured according to the extension of its leaves, which can be a maximum of 25 centimeters.
  • Light requirement: high or medium, but never in shade.
  • Temperature: accepts a wide range of temperatures, staying above -2° C.
  • Irrigation: Spray water directly on the leaves, more frequently in summer and less frequently in winter.
  • Fertilizer: it is not necessary because it captures nutrients from the environment.

The tillandsia caput-medusae is an air plant that stands out for the interesting shape of its leaves, which are thin, thick and long.

These are twisted to different sides, which gives it that image similar to the tentacles of an octopus (or a jellyfish).

It blooms with rosettes that come out from the center of the base pseudobulb in an intense red color, which makes it more striking. It can happen from spring to summer or even the first days of autumn.

Tillandsia Houston

  • Scientific name: Tillandsia Cotton Candy.
  • Common name: Houston tillandsia.
  • Height: around 20 or 30 centimeters.
  • Light requirement: between medium and high, it can even be in semi-shade without problems.
  • Temperature: it is capable of resisting down to -4° C without flowering, since it needs a warm climate for it.
  • Irrigation: moderate to abundant, depending on temperature conditions.
  • Fertilizer: it is not necessary to apply it.

This tillandsia is a hybrid condition air plant that was formed by the fusion of tillandsia recurvifolia and tillandsia stricta.

One of the biggest attractions are the leaves, which do not have the usual green but develop with a shocking grayish green. As they open outwards in order, they create the image of a large rosette.

This plant produces purple flowers and pink bracts, so it is very useful to give a touch of freshness and color to the environment where you decide to place it.

pink nib

  • Scientific name: Tillandsia Cyanea.
  • Common name: pink feather, pink feather, cow’s tongue.
  • Height: around 30 centimeters.
  • Light requirement: medium to high, better than direct sun.
  • Temperature: although it can resist up to 10° C, it is better to keep it between 15 and 25° C to keep it healthy.
  • Irrigation: moderate, always spraying the leaves regularly in summer.
  • Fertilizer: it is possible to apply it with a spray on the leaves on spring and summer days. It must be a special fertilizer for this type of plants.

Pink feather is a tillandsia that has become popular for interior decoration because it has the same characteristics of air plants with a very special detail.

This detail is the long and wide spike-shaped bract, bright pink in color and with jagged edges.

Although its purpose is not decorative but to protect the small purple flowers that come out of the center, it is striking and creates a splendid composition to place on a coffee table or in a hanging corner.


Air plants are great to have outdoors and indoors, even in high humidity spaces to help control it, like bathrooms.

They are plants that, for the most part, flourish under the right humidity and temperature conditions, which gives them a greater ornamental value.

And, the best thing is that although they live on trees that you can have in the garden, they are not parasitic.

What do you say? Do you dare to care for and watch one of these air plants grow? What was your favorite?

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