It only occurred to us after we received our wholesale order of 50 air plants that we had no place to put them! I had ordered the lot for my new acrylic air plant habitats (coming soon) — and I guess we got too excited to see Tillandsia nursery Airplants4u offering wholesale prices to the general public on orders totaling over $75. Can one really have too many air plants, we asked ourselves? Are we tillandsia hoarders?
When the box of air plants arrived we scrambled to figure out a temporary home for our investment. Well, the temporary home that we came up with has now become a permanent one. It’s been over a month and the plants are happy as clams. Green, velvety, epiphytic clams.
Ordering air plants in bulk is a lot of fun. When they arrive you’ll want to unwrap them immediately and follow the care instructions provided.
What exactly was this temporary home turned permanent habitat? As a quick fix, we took a wire mesh trellis and suspended it from a limb of our guava tree, whose large canopy provides consistent bright filtered light in this location. Being suspended up high also allows the plants to take in nutrients from the coastal breezes.
I initially constructed two wire mesh trellises back in 2010 — one was for our then-juvenile passion flower plant and the other for a grapevine that didn’t quite take. Back then, we wanted these trellises to be nearly invisible in an effort to showcase the vines. The passion flower trellis is still in place, but we stowed the grapevine trellis behind the house after the plant died. After being out of sight for nearly three years, we raised it up again, figuratively and literally. Having lost its initial shine from the weather, the trellis seems even more invisible.
DIY Quick Airplant Cage
This idea is as simple and inexpensive as outdoor garden projects get. With biweekly watering and monthly fertilization (except in winter), your tillandsias will be the talk of the town. (Or at the very least, amongst your friends.)
Here’s how easy it is to make your own cage:
– Mesh: 28″ x 104″ single paper welded wire lath with 2-inch square grid (zinc-coated, made from galvanized wire), commonly available at Home Depot or construction supply stores. This material is typically used in stucco repair.
– 17 gauge aluminum wire (electric fence wire)
– Garden wire (available extensively online, like on Amazon)
– 2 x 4 x 8 stud
– Wire cutter
1. Remove all paper from wire lath (i.e., your mesh).
2. Cut lath to length desired with a wire cutter.
3. Using your stud, bend lath into a cage of desired dimension.
4. Twist and bend excess wire inward.
5. Use 3-inch wire ties every 12 inches to keep shape of cage.
6. Hang or position cage up high using garden wire.
7. Place plants.
Water your plants two to three times a week, fertilizing every month (except in winter) with a liquid or water soluble fertilizer at 1/4 the recommended strength. We use a pressurized sprayer to thoroughly drench our plants.
Could an air plant chandelier — suspended over the picnic table — be next? It’s all up in the air…