“The poetry of the earth is never dead.” -John Keats
Mounting air plants (Tillandsia) on wood is really easy and very easy to care for. They need no potting soil to grow and normally anchor themselves to a tree and gather moisture and nutrients from the air (hence the name) and other decaying matter like leaves. They are not parasitic and only use other plants for support – unlike Octo-mom who IS parasitic and uses parents for support [Gasp!] I can’t believe I said that!
Step 1: Choose Plants
There are literally hundreds of varieties to choose from and depending on your region, they may even grow in the wild or you can check with you local nurseries. TIP: group plants with similar care needs – it’ll make life so much simpler! Who the hell needs more complication, right? Oh wait, the Octo-mom! I need to shut up…
Step 2: Choose Mount / Base
You will need a support or base to attach your air plants to such as a piece of driftwood, or if you’re like us, just go outside and find a gnarly looking dead tree stump, limb, or stick. Pet stores carry cool driftwood for aquariums that can also work if you feel like spending the money. If you find something outdoors make sure to brush all loose debris from the wood.
Step 3: Attach Wall Mount (if you plan on hanging it)
The support you choose could easily sit on a table top or hang but that’s up to you. If you wan to hang it, wrap wire around the wood making a loop for hanging – you can drill a hole in the wood too if you want and then wire it. It all works.
Step 4: Attach Plants
Apply a coin sized dab of glue where you want to attach your air plant – more for larger plants – just eyeball it. Let glue get tacky, usually about a minute or so. Place plant onto glue – yes even the roots! Press firmly in place. Repeat steps 1 & 2 for every plant. (You can also wire each plant into place if you don’t have glue) When I first heard I was supposed to stick the plant into toxic glue I was shocked but really, it’s fine.
Step 5: Apply Sheet Moss
Sheet moss will camouflage the glue and give a more natural appearance. Dab more glue where the plant is attached to wood and press moss into glue with fingers or wooden dowel. Let the glue cure for 24 hours before watering.
Step 6: Water & Finish
Drench plants in shower or sink, gently shake of excess water, then hang or place in bright indirect sunlight.
Saturate with water once a week and fertilize once a month with multi-purpose fertilizer (weak solution).
It is possible to pull the plant off the glue if you decide you want to change things… just use a little care when you do it….unlike Octo-mom! Oh jeeez, I can’t control myself!