Alan Chan is a passionate plant lover, gardener, blogger, school teacher and visual artist. He lives in a small studio city apartment in Sydney, Australia. Living in a high-rise concrete jungle meant that Alan had to think creatively to incorporate greenery into his tight-spaced home. When Alan is not teaching, or making art, he loves researching and learning about unique and rare house plants. His favorite plants are tillandsias and he has a growing unique collection! Alan uses his background experience in Sculpture and Installation Art, applying his artistic thinking into the garden.
Tillandsias (Air Plants) are super-easy to look after and they make excellent and stunning home décor in city apartments, as well as in small and larger-style homes. There are around 650 unique varieties of air plants coming in different sizes, designs and shapes. With such a large variety to choose from, there is bound to be one that suits you, your personality and your home! Air plants have evolved over time to be able to retrieve all of its water and nutrients through the surface of its leaves. As soil is not required, air plants can adapt, grow and thrive in unique small and tight spaces in your apartment or home. If you are time or space-poor, air plants are the perfect choice of greenery!
Air plants require a good dose of indirect light every day. It is very important to ensure your air plant receives enough light, which will keep them happy and encourage new growth. Suction stands can be used to display your air plants on glass surfaces such as windows or mirrors. By displaying them vertically on your window, you save space while giving your air plants plenty of light. You can also use the suction stands creatively in your bathroom! They stick to the surface of tiles and you can mix and match different air plants and create a visually beautiful work of art, which will sure to impress your guests! These plants look amazing, displayed in beautiful ceramics, glass containers and vases. You will be surprised at what you can find already in your pantry or recycling bin. Try re-using old jam jars, glass drinking cups, dessert containers or unused vintage glassware. The options are endless! Alternatively, you can find some affordable glassware or unique containers from second-hand shops or discount stores. You can sit these containers on your window sill, where your plant can retrieve light. Attach air plants to driftwood to create a vibrant table display or make beautiful terrariums without the need of using soil.
Watering your air plants is essential to keeping them healthy and green. While misting them with a spray bottle can be beneficial for your air plants, it is important to also give them regular water baths. If you live in a warmer climate, once a week is ideal, in cooler climates, once a fortnight is sufficient. All the air plants can be submerged into a sink basin full of cool tap water. You can also use a large bowl or container, big enough to submerge your air plants in. Generally, 15-20 minutes is enough time to give your air plants a good soak and drink. This also, allows your air plants to give themselves a good clean from any accumulated dust on its surfaces. After giving your plants a water bath, ensure you shake off any excess water and leave to dry upside down so no water is left in the crevices of the plant. Any excess water left behind may cause the plant to rot.
Some all-time favorite air plants to look out for include the Xerographica, Seleriana, Ionantha, Houston and Stricta. With a bit of love and creativity, you can turn small and tight spaces in your city apartment into a green and relaxing retreat!