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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… plant? Yup, an air plant. These little warm-weather lovers have swept across Pinterest and the home decor industry with their tendril-like leaves, fun colors, and easy planting (like, ridiculously easy planting).

There are over 100 common types of air plants that range in size and color, and one (or 10) of them might be perfect for your home.

Get ready for the 411 on some of the most popular (and attractive) kinds of air plants. Our air plant rundown can help you decide on a variety that fits your climate, skill level, and interest.

Air plants belong to the genus Tillandsia, a group of epiphytes. Yeah, don’t feel bad if you don’t know what epiphytes are. That just means they don’t grow in dirt. Instead, they grow on other plants.

They’re native to Central and South America, Mexico, and the Southern U.S., where they hang out in the shaded branches of trees and other plants. In their native habitat, they absorb moisture from the air.

Their dislike of dirt lets your creativity run wild. Honestly, you don’t have to put them in anything. They can sit on a windowsill (though not in direct sunlight), hang out in a corner, or peak out of a candlestick. No water. No dirt. Oh, the possibilities.

And while they’re not foolproof (er… plant-killer proof), some of these plants stay green with very little effort no matter the color of your thumb.

Sky plant (T. ionantha)

  • Mature height: 5 inches
  • Hardiness zones: 9b–11b
  • Key feature: violet and yellow flowers

The sky plant, aka blushing bride, has green/silvery leaves except in late fall and early winter when it blooms with striking violet and yellow flowers. This little guy needs daily misting in the blooming season.

Fuego (T. ionatha fuego)

  • Mature height: 4–5 inches
  • Hardiness zones: 11–12
  • Key feature: bright red leaves

The fuego’s leaves start out a standard green/silvery-green color except when it’s time to bloom. The leaves turn a bright red, fading back to green at the center. This plant needs to completely dry in between waterings to prevent mold or fungal growth. (Ew.)

Maxima sky plant (T. ionantha maxima)

  • Mature height: 4–5 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 9
  • Key feature: color-changing leaves

The maxima’s silvery-green leaves turn a light peach color when given a little extra light. Temperatures between 50°F (10°C) to 90°F (32°C) keep the maxima happy.

Druid sky plant (T. ionantha druid)

  • Mature height: 5 inches
  • Hardiness zones: 9b–11b
  • Key feature: white flowers

The druid sky plant has the ionantha’s rosette silver-green leaves, but this plant produces white flowers in the late fall and early winter. The tips of the center-most leaves turn a peachy yellow come blooming season.

Pink quill plant (T. cyanea)

  • Mature height: 10 inches
  • Hardiness zones: 11 and higher
  • Key feature: pink flower

The pink quill plant is one of the few Tillandsias to grow with (or without) soil. (Every family has a rebel. 🤷) The name comes from the pink, quill-shaped flower that develops after the plant reaches maturity.

Black tip (T. stricta)

  • Mature height: 2–4 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 9
  • Key feature: dark purple “black” leaf tips

There’s a whole lot of Tillandsia stricta varieties. The black tip is one of the more exotic, known for its deep purple leaves that almost look black at the tips. One of the hardy varieties, it develops “pups” or offshoots that can either be removed to start a new plant or left in place to create a unique plant bunch.

Mad pupper (T. aeranthos bergeri)

  • Mature height: 10 inches
  • Hardiness zones: 9–11
  • Key feature: grows pups throughout its life

Most Tillandsia only produce pups once in their lifetime, but not the mad pupper. It creates a mad amount of pups throughout its entire life, giving you a chance to start new plants or let the pups stay on the mother plant for a wilder look.

Snowball (T. tectorum)

  • Mature height: 3–4 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 10
  • Key feature: fuzzy, white leaves

The snowball looks, well, like a snowball. The spindly white, fuzzy leaves grow in a round shape. This hardy Tillandsia doesn’t need quite as much water as other air plants, so it works well for those who might forget to water once in a while. *clears throat and raises hand*

Kolbii (T. scaposa kolbii)

  • Mature height: 2–5 inches
  • Hardiness zones: 9–11
  • Key feature: bright green leaves

This cute little plant’s bright green leaves almost look like Easter grass. It develops a fountain shape as it grows and reaches maturity.

King of Tillandsias (T. xerographica)

  • Mature height: up 3 feet high and 3 feet wide
  • Hardiness zones: 9–11
  • Key feature: grows a 6- to 15-inch flower

The king gets its name from the sheer size of the mature plant. It can reach up to 3 feet in all directions. Make plenty of room for this one and plan on a tall flower, too.

Brachycaulos (T. brachycaulos)

  • Mature height: 6 inches
  • Hardiness zones: 9–11
  • Key feature: red tipped leaves

Brachycaulos’s gentle green leaves droop below the plant, curling back toward the center. Plus, the leaves get a stunning red tip as the plant matures.

Shirley Temple (T. streptophylla)

  • Mature height: 12–15 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 11a
  • Key feature: tightly curled leaves

Shirley Temple’s signature ringlets meet their match with the streptophylla. It has (relatively) broad, tightly curled leaves that weave themselves into a bundle of green.

Bulbous air plant (T. bulbosa)

  • Mature height: 5–7 inches
  • Hardiness zones: 9–11
  • Key feature: bright red or yellow blooms

The bulbous air plant’s tentacle-like leaves curl in, creating a tube-like appearance. They snake their way into the air and eventually develop bright red or yellow blooms when they’re fully mature.

Peach (T. capitata)

  • Mature height: 5–8 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 10
  • Key feature: peach colored leaves

The peach gets its name, you guessed it, from the pinkish peach color that develops on the leaves as they mature. There are many varieties of the capitata, but the peach is one of the most popular.

Cacticola (T. cacticola)

  • Mature height: 6 inches tall, up to 18 inches wide
  • Hardiness zone: 9–11
  • Key feature: white or lavender flowers

The cacticola is a rare air plant only found in the high mountains of Peru. It doesn’t get too tall, but it has a wide base. When it’s mature, it’ll start to bloom white or lavender flowers.

Bailey’s ball moss (T. Baileya)

  • Mature height: 11–13 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 10
  • Key feature: mauve to pink flowers

Bailey’s ball moss doesn’t look much like a ball. Like at all. BUT it has tubular leaves and develops mauve to pinkish flowers when it matures.

Circinata (T. Circinata)

  • Mature height: 6–8 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 10a
  • Key feature: pink and purple flowers

This perfectly coiffed air plant features leaves that all point in the same direction. When it reaches maturity, it produces bright pink and purple flowers.

Fuzzywuzzy (T. pruinosa)

  • Mature height: 5 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 9a
  • Key feature: hair-like growths

The name fuzzywuzzy kind of says it all. This unique Tillandsia has tentacle-like leaves with hair-like growths. It’s small even when fully grown but def makes an impact with its unusual leaves.

Houston cotton candy (T. stricta x T. recurvifolia)

  • Mature height: 5–6 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 10
  • Key feature: blush to rose-pink flower

What happens when you cross a stricta with a recurvifolia? You get cotton candy. This Tillandsia hybrid features the many leaves of the stricta with a hint of silvery green from the recurvifolia. Together, they create pretty blush to rose-colored flowers.

Didisticha (T. didisticha)

  • Mature height: 12 inches
  • Hardiness zones: 9–11
  • Key feature: pink stock with white flowers

The didisticha gets big for a Tillandsia, reaching nearly 12 inches when fully grown. The silvery leaves eventually welcome a pinkish stalk that produces white flowers.

Argentea (T. fuchsii var. gracilis)

  • Mature height: 5–6 inches
  • Hardiness zones: 9–11
  • Key feature: thread-like leaves with red and purple flowers

The spindly leaves of the fuchsii gracilis create a spider-like appearance. This little guy needs plenty of water because of its thin leaves.

Gardneri (T. gardneri)

  • Mature height: 4–12 inches
  • Hardiness zones: 9–11
  • Key feature: pale gray leaves

The gardneri has thicker, tapered leaves. It can tolerate cooler, less humid temperatures than some air plants, but it still needs regular misting.

Air plants are pretty easy to grow. But you do have to think about your home environment. They’re native to warm, humid climates. That means they want your house to feel (somewhat) like a rain forest. Here’s what to think about when choosing one:

  • Hardiness zone. Your hardiness zone makes more of a difference if you want to grow air plants outside. Generally speaking, they thrive outdoors in zones 9 to 11. But some are pickier than others, so check before you buy.
  • Humidity. Air plants like humidity (we’re talking tropical humidity levels), and they absorb moisture through their leaves. But even in a dry climate, they can happily grow as long as you mist them often enough. Consider that the drier your climate, the more maintenance the air plant will require. A cheap thermometer can help you keep an eye on your indoor humidity levels if you don’t already have access to that info.
  • Temperature. Air plants prefer temperatures between 50°F (10°C) to 90°F (32°C), so be careful if you order them by mail in the winter. You may need to request special heat preservative packaging, so they don’t freeze on the way to your house.
  • Light exposure. These little guys grow in the canopy of large trees, so they prefer bright but indirect sunlight. A few varieties don’t mind more shade, but sometimes light exposure will affect their leaf colors.

Listen up, plant killers. You, too, can keep air plants alive. You just need to know how to care for them.

1. Don’t water them with a watering pot

Air plants don’t take water through their roots like other plants. They absorb moisture through their leaves. Depending on your climate and the time of year, you should submerge the plant in water for 15 to 30 minutes once a week.

Let the plant dry completely before returning it to a planter. No one wants a moldy plant. The air plant may need a mist of water every other day or so to stay green and happy. Remember — in dry climates, they’ll need extra misting.

2. They do not like the cold

The cold is no bueno for these heat lovers. Anything less than 45°F (7°F), and you could find shriveled plant corpses. Dead plants are sad, so keep them indoors and warm if it gets cold outside.

3. Skip the direct sunlight

They may love heat, but air plant leaves get crispier than Colonel Sander’s special recipe in direct sunlight. The key: bright but indirect light. Try placing them in a room with southern or eastern facing windows.

Air plants are perfect for quirky, unexpected displays. An empty boot, bucket, or watering can in the garden can make a beautiful house for an air plant. Indoors, grab a cute bowl, jar, or candle holder for a lively surprise.

However, air plant popularity has led to some fun, ready-to-buy options like the 46 & Spruce Air Plant Frame to mix and match air plants with pictures and other decorative pieces.

Jump aboard the macrame train with air plant hanging tassels, or make a macrame holder yourself. You could add a little classic bling with simple gold holders, or go eclectic with a sleek ceramic holder in a fun shape. So many options, so many air plants, so go get 1 or 2… or 22.

Common air plants are easy to care for, though their care is a little outside the norm. Here are the deets to remember:

  • Place them in bright but indirect light.
  • Keep them in temps between 50°F (10°C) to 90°F (32°C).
  • Keep ’em misted.
  • Soak your air plants once a week for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Make sure they’re dry within 4 hours.
  • Check the plant’s hardiness zone if you want to keep it outside.
  • Different types kinds of air plants may have different light, humidity, or watering requirements.