Air plants.


So, it keeps snowing here and our cat eats pretty much all my stuff, including my houseplants.  (Of course, she leaves all my hubby’s possessions alone – his newspaper apparently doesn’t taste nearly as delicious as my research notes or my library books).

My solution?  Grow air plants. You do this indoors so the snow doesn’t matter a whit. The air plants I can afford are tiny.  They don’t need soil (soil, another thing Smudge thinks is seriously PAWsome – um, did I just write that?!). I can put them in jars and other decorative containers and hang or place them out of cat reach, which is an actual zone in the house with a fixed length and breadth that has taken me a year to get a solid grasp of.

Anyway, now I fear I may want to collect the darn things.  (The air plants, not cats.  Smudge is ALL the cat).*  I accidentally went to the garden centre the other day (had to take two trains and walk three blocks uphill both ways in the blasting wind) and came home with yet another air plant.  I would have bought the large red one as well (it was RED!) except it was priced at the equivalent of a few hours of my salary and I thought maybe my hubby might be a bit grumpy with me.  So I’m saving up for it.  I’ll tell him it’s cheaper than a new car, and he cannot argue with that.  I just wish they would label the silly things so I would know the cultivars. Tillandsia doesn’t help me; I knew that already.  😉  And I BEG and PLEAD that the ones in some of the grocery stores would be treated with more dignity and not GLUED into their containers.   They cannot be watered properly and they’ll keel over at some point from neglect.  Air plants are not made of plastic.  They are actually alive and need some care.

While meandering through reams of information about air plants for an article I recently wrote, I came across some fantastic titles at the library – if you are interested in this captivating genus, track down Air Plant Care and Design by Ryan and Meriel Lesseig and Zenaida Sengo’s Air Plants.  The Lesseig book, in particular, is brilliant, impeccably researched and extremely detailed.

Do you grow air plants?  

Do you have an indoor cat (or cats)?  What creative solutions did you come up with to maintain your houseplants in the same space as your curious feline?

*Pic here. ♥


  1. Hey Sheryl. Yes, we have grown airplants before and the plants did very well for a while. You can get pretty decorative with them too, if you really wanted to. I need to get another one or two but they can be out of price range depending on your situation, and they Do need loving care, just like any other plant.

    Have no cats, just dogs. They tend to stay away from our plants. Thank goodness.

  2. I brought home a couple of air plants a few years ago but they didn’t last long. I think they are very neat and someday I will give them a try again. There are eight cats here but only one stays in the house now. When I moved back to the farm with my parents in 2013, there were 20 cats. I had them all spayed and neutered to end the increase in population. Some were very old and eventually, there were only five left. Then my son moved in with two cats that always stayed in the house. Then a friend needed me to take a kitten that came to his house, so she stayed in the house for a while. Then, a deputy found a small kitten along the highway and gave it to Nathan… So, that makes nine cats now. GEEZ! Jade, Nathans female cat who is spayed and declawed, is the only one that stays in the house now nut she is older and just primarily sleeps all the time… In my bedroom. The kittens have to stay outside because they think everything they can find is their toy. Everything that will move! Nathans other cat, Simba (a male) is very well behaved and can stay in the house but he is forever hungry. Since the kittens were in the house for a while until they got used to being here, they constantly try to come in when I open the door to feed. So while trying to keep Simba from coming in, the two youngsters dart in under him. GEEZ! The reason the kittens have to stay outside is because of the plants inside.

  3. Air plants sound intriguing, especially since one of my least favorite things to do re: indoor gardening is to have an going battle with fungus gnats (and no matter what growing medium one uses, there are going to be fungus gnats, lol.) I see some research in my future…

    • Ughhh fungus gnats, definitely an indoor gardener’s nemesis! You may enjoy trying to grow air plants – they are largely free of pests. I find them really low maintenance – the regular watering sessions are the biggest task you need to keep up with.

  4. Oh, what a naughty cat you have, Sheryl! 😀 I only had indoor cats for a short while (until we moved from a flat to a house with a garden) and that was – GASP – nearly forty years ago. We don’t have pets anymore as both my daughter and I have developed an intolerance to animal fur. I don’t think I ever managed to stop my cats eating/destroying whatever they wished to eat/destroy!
    I have never grown air plants and am shocked to see from your post that some grocery stores actually glue the poor plants into their pots! I am waiting to see whether our local supermarkets will be stocking for Christmas those poor plants which are sprayed with glitter and dyed horrendous colours. Ugh!

    • Naughty, definitely – but so unbelievably cute I cannot resist her! I ended up putting most of my plants up as high as I could so that she can’t get at them…but I did give away quite a few plants as well. It’s worth it, though, to be able to have her around.

      Some of the practices used to sell plants are completely cringe-worthy! I agree – I am always so sad to see the dyed and glittered plants as well, they can’t live for very long. Such a shame.

  5. The tillandsias are on a gnarly log in the garden. They are under trees for protection from the minor frost. The only cats there are bobcats and maybe puma, but I doubt they are interested.

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