The Best Flowers for Wet Soil

Turn a wet, poorly drained spot in your yard into a colorful landscape feature with these perennial flowers and ornamental grasses.

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Fall Veggies to Plant Now

Grow these cool-season vegetables and herbs to extend your garden's harvests in spring and fall. This list of vegetables includes seasonal vegetables, green vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, winter vegetables, green leafy vegetables, fall vegetables and more.

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Improve Poor Drainage

Follow these tips to transform a poorly drained area into an easy-care garden.

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Tips and Tricks to Keep Plants Blooming

Deadheading is a popular practice ¿ but do you know all the ways to keep flowers on your plants longer? Follow these easy tips for keeping your favorite shrubs and flowers blooming longer.

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Top Plant Picks for Late-Summer Color

Keep the color coming on strong through the end of the growing season with these easy-care, reliable annuals and perennials.

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Plan for a Gorgeous Fall Landscape

See how two great gardeners -- one on the East Coast and one on the West -- created knock-your-socks-off fall yards -- and learn how you can do the same.

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Best Plants for Rock Gardens

Transforming an unsightly slope or mound in your backyard into a colorful rock garden is easy when you chose the right plants. These amazing, low-maintenance ground huggers don't mind poor soil but do need good drainage to survive. Here's a list of our top plants for rock gardens.

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Popular in Gardening

How to Grow Air Plants

Air plants are perfect for those with a fear of houseplants -- it's easy to grow and care for air plants!

The English pop-rock group The Hollies, who once sang, "All I need is the air that I breathe," could have been referring to air plants. There are more than 650 types of air plants (Tillandsia spp.) that can grow -- and thrive -- without soil.

Why are air plants so easy to grow? These bromeliads get all of the water and nutrients they need through their specialized leaves. Air plants use their roots only for attaching themselves to rocks, trees, shrubs, and the ground. Native to the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America, air plants are warm-weather lovers that can thrive on neglect.

Many grow with strap-shape or slender triangle-shape leaves, and most have attractive tubular or funnel-shape flowers.

How to Grow Air Plants

Even though they are easy to care for, there are a few rules to follow when growing air plants:

  • Constant air circulation -- as the name indicates -- is paramount to keeping your plant happy.
  • Air plants need some moisture; from late spring to mid-autumn, mist daily. In winter, mist only once or twice a week.
  • Fertilize monthly in spring and summer using a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer mixed at only one-quarter strength. In general, fertilize weakly.
  • Although they love warm weather, most air plants need protection from full sun. If it's a type that grows naturally wild on trees, keep it in moist, partial shade. If it is a ground type, such as T. cyanea or T. lindenii, grow it indoors in bright, filtered light and outdoors in partial or dappled shade.
  • Don't let an air plant sit somewhere that's colder than 45 degrees; it will die at those temperatures. If you live in Zone 9 or warmer, you can grow an air plant outdoors all year if you keep it dry during the winter.

How to Use Air Plants

Air plants look great alone as architectural elements or in an air plants terrarium. Place varieties such as Tillandsia aeranthos 'Amethyst', also called the rosy air plant, into a pot or against a container that will complement or contrast with its pink flower spike.

Play off the spikiness of the foliage by grouping three Tillandsia ionantha and add a tiny toucan, parasol, or other tropical touch.

Air plants that are naturally suited to growing in trees can be lashed against a protected wooden post using translucent fishing monofilament and a bit of sphagnum moss to add extra moisture. Tillandsia species also make fine companions on a planted branch with orchids since they like essentially the same conditions. Hanging air plants are a popular design element.

Get more great ideas for displaying your air plants.

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