Epiphytes, Tillandsias, air plants... Whichever term you prefer, these plants are eye catching and ever pleasing. They are indigenous to the southern parts of the United States as well as South and Central America. Monica Raguckas in Tampa, Florida works with local growers and propagates a few of her own to sell on her lovely Etsy shop, Sea and Asters.
Epiphytes are a fun plant to be fascinated by. Monica grew fond of them while studying horticulture years ago. She shares, "I love how incredibly sculptural and low maintenance they are."
I can personally attest to how easy these plants are to care for because I bought five of them over the last couple years and they're all still alive. Epiphytes do not require soil and get all their nutrients from the air. As Monica informs, "Air plants require bright, indirect light and a good soaking once a week for several minutes or once every two weeks for a few hours. You can also give them a light fertilization (with urea free fertilizer) every two weeks or once a month if you wish to produce faster growth and more offsets."
Because of their low maintenance personality, epiphytes fit in well with almost any owner, with almost any decor. They look stylish in a vase or just by themselves atop a book or shelf. I have my smaller epiphytes lying in a porcelain urchin dish created by Heather Knight and the one large one I purchased this summer sits atop a vintage bottle. The above chalkboard pod is one of Monica's favorite spots to place a plant...
To build your own epiphyte terrarium, you'll first need the right contariner. CB2 makes some inexpensive glass globes that work perfectly. I really love how Monica placed some flowers in the top left side to give this arrangement some height and color. When deciding what to place in your terrarium, Monica warns against beach sand as the salt can be detrimental to the plants. She does suggest preserved moss, shells, river stones, gravel or coarse sand.
Monica describes her shop as part whimsical, part modern. It's also endlessly inspiring. I love my epiphytes and hope, if you haven't found a few for your home yet, that you go and get some very soon. Just try your local garden shop or click here to see the wonderful selection over at Monica's shop, Sea and Asters.
Photos: Sea and Asters Picture 3: John LaSota Content: Sweet Peach