My Air Plants

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Over the last few years, I have picked up a few. My Grandma had one when I was a kid, and I was always intrigued with the idea of plants without roots.
I think they are in the Tillandsia genus, but never really looked it up, they did not come with names.
I dip them under the faucet maybe twice a week, more in hot weather. Once or twice a year I soak them in dilute miracle grow for 5 minutes.
How do you display yours?

#1 Has lived in this wall vase for years, grows slowly.
#2 I dropped it on the begonia, for lack of better idea- it has lived there quite happily.
#3,4,5 I got these "jellyfish" last month. They came in the sea urchin shell.The one on the left has made a flower bud. I couldn't help it, I have a strange sense of humor.

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Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

All kinds of mounts here, cypress knee, cedar, driftwood, oak, and cork.

Ken

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Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Ken, how do you have them affixed to the various "woods"? I'd like to do something like that with a couple of mine.

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Anna, I just got home from Tuscaloosa and I am bummed. My # 1 Dawgs lost 25-20. I will explain what I do tomorrow.

Ken

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

Mine is so scary it has to live in a cage...

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Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Nice thread and nice pics everyone.
MLML, Those jellys are pretty cute.
Ken I will be interested in hearing how you mount those.
Momlady, That is a pretty good looking air plant, those little hairs does make it look a bit like it needs caged. LOL
I mounted mine on a wreath, that live outside all summer, moved it into the GH for the winter. Here is a pic from earlier this summer when one of them bloomed for me. A mix of Spanish Moss and Tillandsia

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Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Here is my wreath and ball form. A few of them have died in the ball form, but there are some nice big ones that I'd like to mount on the cork and see how big they can get.

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Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Look good, Anna. They should all do well mounted on cork. I mount my epiphytes on eight different woods, and cork is absolutely the best mounting material, hand's down.

Ken

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

The ball form doesn't look near that good now, but there are a few nice big ones on there.

Sooooo..................a Cliff's Notes tutorial on air plant mounting on cork would be great. LOL I mounted a few phal orchids on cork...........put a bunch of spaghnum moss on the cork, held the orchid on the moss, put some more wet moss on the roots, and used an old nylon stocking to keep the moss in place. Is that pretty much how you do the air plants?

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Well...........sort of.

I decide where the plant(s) are going to go on the mount and then drill four small holes in a square, about 3-4" apart. I use green florist's wire and will thread that wire, starting in one hole (from the rear of the mount), then going diagonally through the next hole (in the front of the mount). So the first wire will be a diagonal wire, say through the lower right hole and then through the upper left hole. Then I do the same thing with the other two holes, through the lower left hole and then through the upper right hole. I do this with one piece of wire but you can do it just as well with two pieces of wire. Leave plenty of slack in the wire because you want to be able to put your moss/coir/plant(s) under that wire.

I do use long-fibered sphagnum behind the plant(s). I also use a thin layer of coconut fiber (I buy it by the 30' roll!). I will tease that coconut fiber under the bottom edge of the sphagnum moss, tuck it over the plant's roots, and tuck it under the wire. The coconut fiber just sort of holds the plant and sphagnum moss in place.

The wire should be poking out of the back of your mount, either two or four ends. Cinch that wire tight, thus securing the plant(s) firmly to the mount, and twist it to hold everything in place.

I will try to take some pictures of what I do if my explanation thorough confuses everyone.

Oh, there is nothing wrong with using strips of panty hose and many people use light-weight, monofilament fishing line. I have trouble tying that mono and I think the florist's wire is more esthetic than hose.

Ken

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Well described.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Well, at the time that is all I had............I am the Queen of "make-do". LOL We farm, and there isn't much you can't hold together with electric fence wire or baler twine. LOL

I will have to try that. I have some time this morning to fritter away and don't have to be at work till 1. (I work at the local sale barn during the calf sale portion). Those little fellas are gonna be cold back there today, high of about 15 and wind chill in the below zero range. Pffttt......And I have to be back there with them. LOL

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Oh, upon reading that again, I do have to ask...........how the samhill do you hold all that from the front while you wire from the back????

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Good question, Anna. Sometimes that can be a little tricky. For one thing I have a nice work-bench in one of the greenhouses, and all this is done on that work-bench. I just hand-hold the plants/coir/sphagnum moss against the mount, with the mount resting on the work-bench. I use the other hand to tug on that wire, slowly but surely cinching the plant(s) against the mount. I won't twist the wire(s) until everything is tight.

Perhaps these pictures will help some. Some of these will show the florist wire and some were done (a couple of years ago) using plastic-coated wire (found in the garden center of Lowe's) or even just plain galvanized wire. Don't use copper wire unless it is coated. Copper is toxic to many plants.

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Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

Ken, great pictures - thanks, it all becomes clear!

Everybody's arrangements look beautiful.

Covington, LA

I've been inspired! I love the sea urchins and the wreath. If there's one thing I've got readily available down here it's spanish moss.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Oh, rub it in...................as I sit here in single digit temps. Bah, humbug. :>)

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

When I became a Master Gardener several years ago, I asked why there was no Spanish moss in the Starkville area (we are approximately 300 miles north of the Gulf). The MG's said it was just too cold up here and we didn't have the right trees (Live Oaks and Cypress) that Spanish moss loves to grow on.

Well, I decided that I would "grow" Spanish moss and had a friend who lives on the MS Gulf coast bring up a garbage bag full of moss. I draped it on a few lower limbs of some of my oak trees. After a year the moss had grown twice as fast as normal Spanish moss (perhaps because I water and fertilize it along with the rest of my outside tropical plants!). I had so much that I began draping it on a lot of my mounted plants. Three years later I have a great deal of it on all my oaks and even with our severe winter last year (and the beginning of a worse one this year), it is doing fine. My fellow MG's just scratch their collective heads.

As a bonus, my Spanish moss blooms every spring. Nobody that I have ever spoken too has ever seen it bloom. The blooms are bright green and tiny, but they are there. You might have to click on the picture to see the flowers. The second picture shows the spent flower/seed pod from last year's bloom.

P. S. I don't like to be told I can't do something!............LOL

Ken

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Really cool plants you guys have done! Applause for everyone.

Just a comment- I used some coir fiber from a basket liner, along with bark chunks, in repotting a Phalaenopsis and a Dendrobium this year. Both are doing great. Good stuff.

And now we know who we'll blame for the MS Invasion of Moss a few years from now...
just teasing, very cool

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

My new name is Pistil. Much better than mlmlakestevens.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I kept wanting to call you Mimi....

Speaking of plastic coated wire for plants, you can salvage a lot of it by cutting up a string of bad Xmas lights. The dark green hides well. I use loops of it on tree branches to make hanging loops for bird feeders.

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

That's a great idea, Sally. Re-purposing rather than throwing away is great conservation!

Ken

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

That is a great idea Sally.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

I mounted on of my large air plants on a piece of cork. To keep the sphagnum moss and coir fiber where it was supposed to be, I used 2 wires off of a broken plant hangar. Drilled 4 holes in the cork and *X* the wire in the front, twisted in the back. The coir hides the wire.

Yes, yes, I know.........pix, please. I have to go take some. Oh, and I also mounted an offshoot of my bromeliad on a piece of cork, plus my phal orchids.

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Of all the woods I use for mounting (eight!), I love cork the best. It is light (though I have some slabs that are 4" thick and very dense!), has a wrinkled surface so roots can latch on easily, resists mold, and does not retain water (important when growing epiphytes). I might add that cork has a very interesting presentation and not many people have ever seen cork, other than in a wine bottle.....LOL

Ken

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Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Oh, cripes......did I mount this stuff BACKWARDS?????? Was I supposed to mount on the OUTSIDE of the piece????? Sheesh........

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Anna, either side is fine. I just use the smoother side to hang on a shelf/wall. It not only is easier to place a hook in that side and also flatter, but also places the more interesting texture where everyone can see it.

Ken

Danville, IN

Air plants (tillandsias) can also be mounted using water-proof adhesive such as "E-6000", available on line but also in many big box stores nationwide. You can see lots of instructive tutorials on YouTube. Also, great information on different types of the over 500 species of tillies can be found on YouTube. A great source and website is Rainforest Flora in California (www.rainforestflora.com). Nice photos and cultural information on the site. I have a few dozen tillandsias, about 6 different species and have mounted them on local wild grapevine, weathered driftwood, and old fenceposts. There are lots of easy care types.

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