What Are Air Plants? (And… the Best Places to Buy Them!)

I admit it, most of my life, I have hated trends. I like to be original, and blindly following trends seemed so…not! But with age and wisdom, I’ve come to realize that blindly not following trends is just as bad… In fact, many trends today fall right into line with things I love, like nature, simplicity…and lucky me, things that are original. Air plants are one of those trends. What are air plants? Also called Tillandsia, they are easy, interesting, unique, and because of their habit of not needing soil, can be used in decor! (Oh, and they fit into small spaces wonderfully!)

Find out the answer to the question… “what are air plants?”, and also learn some really creative air plant display ideas! (Because you know you are going to be getting some of these adorable plant pets for yourself after this!) Oh, yea, we will tell you where to buy air plants, too!




What Are Air Plants

Air plants are the newest plant pet craze, and the truth is, they aren’t so new. Also called Tillandsia, these pretty little plants were super popular in the 1960’s and 70’s, but have found a new resurgence of popularity in the last few years. These plants are epiphytes, which means they naturally grow on another tree or plant, but are not parasitic. Which means, they may use another tree as a home, but they collect their own water and nutrients from the air and elements around them. And it’s true, they do not need soil. Hence the name, air plants! Which makes them one of the easiest plants to grow. And, they are awesome for using as plant decor, and we do! Another plus? They are non toxic for cats and other pets.

There are lots of different varieties, but if you know just the two main types, you will be well on your way to understanding air plants and choosing the right ones to show off in your home.

Be sure and check out our post on how to water & care for air plants on our sister site: The Garden Glove.


Xeric Tillandsia

Xeric air plants are from areas with less rainfall, and therefore don’t need to be watered quite as often. You can tell a xeric Tillandsia by its white outer “trichomes”, which is a fancy word for scales. These types of air plants tend to have a white, fluffy appearance, and can often survive well with regular misting, instead of water soaking. These air plants are a great choice for a warmer spot with more light, and are a bit more tolerant of neglect.

What Are Air Plants?


Mesic Tillandsia

Mesic air plants come from tropical areas, and require regular soaking in water to thrive. They tend to be a brighter green color with a smoother surface. They look a bit more lush, but look awesome set next to a xeric variety for contrast. Below, the air plant on the left is mesic, and on the right, xeric. Place your mesic air plants somewhere they are easy to access so you can take them out for deep soakings once a week.


Display Ideas

Air plant display can be as easy as setting them on a shelf, or into a tiny pinch pot, or getting more creative… And we are figuring that since you are reading this post, you might be the more creative type! We have air plant displays that run the gamut, and we love to use them to add life to almost any little design vignette.

This first idea is from Etsy seller FalconAndFinch. If you’re feeling crafty, I’m sure you could DIY something very similar. Or just head over to this Etsy shop and buy!

What Are Air Plants?


Jump on over to our post on our DIY Branch Chandelier  and check out how we made our own hanging air plant display with driftwood and some twine. We love this project!


And then, go check out our Air Plant Terrarium over at ‘TGG’. This project was so fun, because we switch out the types of air plants in the terrarium whenever we need a change. We did the terrarium with a more minimal feel, and then added other foraged elements to give it a whole new look. Go check it out and see which one you like better!


Check out this geometric airplant hanger from Etsy seller ‘TheColorLifeStudio‘. We love the contrast between the brass hanger and the airplant!

What Are Air Plants?


These cube atrium gardens (below) are unique, but if you try to DIY this project from ‘Flora Grubb‘, remember, the plants require air to live. You can’t just turn a vase upside down on them. Look how they used these air plant cubes to create an amazing tablescape!



More inspiration from Flora Grubb… did you ever do string art? It would take nothing more than some scrap wood (the older the better) some small brads or tacks, and some string. Oh, and an air plant! This is an easy work of art.



The Paper Mama‘ has a great tutorial for this air plant display made from a picture hanger and some clay! Check out the site to see how she uses air plants as wall art in her home, it looks amazing!



Read this step by step for a color blocked air plant pot from ‘My Cakies‘… Easy, and made from inexpensive doll heads found at the craft store!



Finally, we have this simple and minimal piece of art from LBrandt… Can you see how easy this would be to create if you choose not to purchase such a piece? Love this!



Where to Buy Air Plants

If you want to give these great plants a try, you can find them in many nurseries or order them online as well. Here are our favorite places to buy air plants…

We get ALL our air plants from Etsy seller ‘Spyloh‘. The plants are always the best quality and a great price. The selection is great, she even has some rare varieties for when you truly get addicted! And we love the little care cards  you get with them. And very importantly, she knows how to pack them properly, especially for winter delivery. Take heed of her advice to add heat packs to your order in the winter, and you will have zero problems. She also sells some very cute pots for air plant display. We have 4. 🙂 Don’t believe us? Go check out her thousands of five star reviews.

Local nurseries – Most local nurseries carry air plants in their indoor plant department. So if you want to shop locally, give them a call.

Amazon – The only seller on Amazon we have had good success with is ‘Plants for Pets‘.  Their quality isn’t as good as ‘Spyloh’. But if you are looking for decent plants in bulk, they have some really good deals on variety packs. This can be a good deal of you are buying them to make wedding favors, or to make crafts to sell. But if you are buying for yourself and quality is important… well, you know. ‘Spyloh‘.

Ok, so now you know the answer to “what are air plants?”, you have some great air plant display ideas, and you know where to buy air plants. So, what are you waiting for?

We think you will also want to check out our posts on Indoor Vertical Garden Planters and Indoor Plant Shelf Ideas. Also, you may be interested in Growing Seeds Indoors is Easy, Winter Plants for Pots or Top Garden Seed Catalogs on our sister site ‘TheGardenGlove.com’.

Pin for later!

What Are Air Plants?

Image Credits: Flora Grubb, Flora Grubb, BHG, My Cakies, LBrandt
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates & Steve Bates (co-owners) – Woodard Bates Media LLC consisting of three blogs: TheBudgetDecorator.com, OhMeOhMyBlog.com and TheGardenGlove.com.

Kathy Bates’ previous writing credits include:

Former home decorating expert for Lifetime TV, Galtime and Country Woman Magazine.

Her book spent time at #1 on Amazon’s Home & Garden Topseller List in 2002.

Published or featured in numerous national publications, including:

Country Sampler’s Decorating Ideas magazine, Woman’s Day magazine, HGTV, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Marketwatch, Decorating Solutions magazine, Decorating Ideas magazine, The Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, Kansas City News, The Oklahoman, Akron Beacon Journal, Pensacola News Journal and The Telegraph.


  1. Lesly
    December 10, 2020 / 6:34 am

    Awesome, I’ll try to do something for example LBrandt. Do plants need to be watered or just air?

    • Kathy Bates
      May 5, 2021 / 9:34 am

      If you read the post, you will see that air plants definitely need water!

  2. September 12, 2019 / 8:28 pm

    Love all these great, awesomely unique ideas for my Air Plants.

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