question on keeping air plants in a terrarium

Lynn NevinsJuly 30, 2012

Hi everyone. I recently bought some air plants and some wall terrariums to put them in. These 'wall terrariums' have flat backs so they can hang on the wall, with a round opening up top through which you insert the plant.

My question much bigger will these plants get over time, or will they not grow much at all? One of my air plants has rather spread out 'leaves' and my fear is that while I may be able to stuff it inside the terrarium, that I may have difficulty then getting it out.

It's my understanding that air plants need a periodic water soaking, and then they need to air dry. But if I have plants that I can't get back out from the terrarium, I suppose I could just add water now and then, let it soak for a few hours, then dump all the water out?

Would it be problematic for some reason if some of my plants theoretically stay inside their terrariums and never can be taken out (because they can't fit through the hole)?

I'd also read that the way to know if it's time to water an air plant is that....if the plant feels 'HEAVY' it needs water, and that when it feels LIGHTER it does not need that right? Though that actually sounds counter-intuitive...I would think that when the plant is dry, that is when it would be at its lightest weight...


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One thing air plants must have is air circulation and a heavy plant to me would indicate its water logged.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Any luck with the plants?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 6:41AM
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Lynn Nevins

hard to say....i've been taking them out 2-3 times per week for a soaking....let them dry..then put them back in their terrariums. One looks really's always 'soft' and very a leafy plant would be....another was always a bit more on the stiff side but lately seems more dry and brittle. The third one was always very lightweight.... not much too it...and lately it's become like paper thin leaves and doesn't really seem 'alive'.....

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 10:45PM
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If you could post photos someone might could advise you.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:24PM
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All they need is air and moisture. I have left them in a terrarium(with a fan in it) for months without misting or watering and they GREW in that time. They can easily survive off the condensation of morning dew or high humidity. In a open air environment IMO some types will just not last and others will thrive. You do not need to dunk them if you mist them enough. Of some of the few typical airplants the more leathery, thick leaved ones will do well in the open air "terrarium" where if you have one with stiff, thin leaves it might even die.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 6:23PM
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Would any of you know what the easiest tilly's (airplants) for beginners be? I put these together on this grapewood about a month ago. The ones on the branches are
1. T. leonamiana
2. T.schiedeana
3. T.harrisii
4. T.albertiana x ixioides
5. T. bergeri
6. T. lonantha
7. T.fasciculata
8. T. bergeri
9. T. schiedeana

  1. T. tectorum
  2. T. recurviolia x ixioides
  3. T.caliginos
  4. T.tectorum
    I am going to Rainforest Flora, a nursery that sells tilly's, but want different ones. I live in Zone 10 Southern California. Appreciate your help.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 11:19PM
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Oh thats beautiful...I have 4 I have lost and I do not know why and the odd thing is they all came from th same company I have some from other places doing great. I have mt finers crossed I wish I had a camara way t show pictures I dont I am elderly and dont ave the new products cant afford that and buy the plants to lol.
I have the "Apurima" its croaking meaning looks drying up but not dead I wonder if some go dormant hummm....I will look it up but as I was saying is my fave. Tilly is the duritti one looks weird the other dont weird to. I was told you need two of those by a lovely person on the African violet site. you know the one that looks like "cousin it" I have a board full of those and they are the easiest to get to live in my book.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:44AM
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Tillandsias only need a soaking when the the leaves have "turned into" themselves (dessication). This should only be done for 12-24 hours and only periodically, otherwise a healthy misting where the leaves get saturated is enough.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 6:13PM
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