Updated: Jul 5
Air plants, scientifically known as Tillandsia, are a genus of over 650 species made up of numerous ferns, evergreens, bromeliads, and orchids growing on tree trunks in tropical areas. Most are epiphytes, which translates as 'on a plant', and means just that, they live on other plants or hosts but they are not parasitic, rather just like to hang on. Some can even live on rocks, roofs, and telephone lines, and are called lithophytic. They are easy to care for and can add interesting, living elements to indoor and outdoor spaces in climates like Southern California's.
They are called air plants because their roots are exposed to air and there is no soil covering them. Their small roots are used to help them hold on like feet and do not absorb nutrients like regular roots. Instead air plants use trichomes, sponge like cells on their leaves that can rapidly absorb water and nutrients.
They are very abundant in the Amazon rainforest and are found in their native habitat across the Southern US, Mexico, Central and South America. Since they are easy to care for, people are now growing them all over the world.
A Diverse Genus
There are a multitude of traits making this a diverse genus. Air plants are usually either green or gray in color. The green species come from cool and low humidity climates and prefer the lower, shadier levels of the forest. The leaves are usually softer and do not like direct sun. The gray species like hotter, drier climates and can be found in the upper forests and these are the varieties that can even grow on rocks. Their leaves are usually sturdier and can take direct sun.
One of the flowering species come from the bromeliad family and offer beautiful shades of yellow orange, red, all the way to pink and purple, and multi-colored blooms which are bright to attract pollinators, essential for their survival. Common pollinators are hummingbirds, moths, and bats. The single bloom is a stalk of a paddle, funnel, or spiky shaped flower and leaves that does a great job collecting and holding water.
Air Plant Care
Air plants are so easy, but they do need a little care. Green plants need more watering and less sun than the gray varieties. Even though many say to just mist them with water once or twice a week, they also need a good soak upside down in water for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight, every three to four weeks to really thrive. If the leaves start to curl it's a sign that it needs more water. You can trim the roots back or off, they do not need them.
Temp wise they are easy too, and can be happy in temperatures ranging from 50 to 90 degrees fahrenheit! Good air circulation is important so avoid terrariums with small openings. Plants that are flowering are showing that they are happy and healthy.
Depending on the variety, many air plants can create a pup, a smaller version of itself, off to one side, which can be removed once it is about half the size of the mother plant and it will propagate into an adult.
Air plants can be put just about anywhere making them fun to decorate with, unlike plants needing a pot and dirt. Be creative and replanting is easy! Just move it!
Trees add value to your property and are a great investment when improving your landscape. Not only do they add immense beauty, fruit, flowers, shade and more, they also help clean the air that we breathe. Planting trees should be a priority for all communities. Choosing the right tree for your property depends on several different factors.
Luckily, the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute located at Cal Poly in California, has a data base that will help you select the proper tree for your location and your needs. You can search the site by entering your zip code and the attributes of the tree that you want here: ufei.calpoly.edu/index.lasso
Planting Your Tree
Once you have selected the tree that is best for your property, it’s time to plant! Like everything else, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. Following the correct planting steps is important to growing a healthy tree.
First, make sure you select the right location in your yard for your tree. Make sure the tree you are planting has plenty of room and will not outgrow its location. Then determine that the soil in which you are planting is compatible with the tree you have chosen. Also, make sure that your tree will have the right amount of sun and shade that is recommended for your particular type of tree.
Prepare a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball (some landscaping experts recommend a wider hole, up to three times as wide.) A wide hole will insure fast growth of the tree. The depth of the hole should be determined by the height of the root ball. The right depth will prevent settling.
Remove the plastic or wire basket and/or burlap from the root ball.
Add a starter fertilizer and fill around the root ball with the soil you removed for planting.
Deep water the tree, and water each day for seven days; then water twice a week for week two, and once a week afterwards.
Care and Feeding
It is important to know that mulching is very important to the health of your newly planted tree. Mulch acts to retain water, preventing the roots from drying out, and provide protection from the heat and cold. It keeps weeds away from the tree roots and prevents compaction of the soil around the tree. There are different types of mulch available.
For newly planted trees, water right after planting. Not enough water will damage a tree, but over-watering is harmful as well. The proper amount of watering can be determined by feeling the soil around the tree. The soil should be moist but not soggy. Allowing the soil to dry for a short time between waterings, is good for the tree because it allows the soil to oxygenate.
Consider a drip system with smart controller to efficiently water your newly planted tree and landscape, saving water and money. There are rebates available in many counties throughout California to help implement these systems.
After the first two years, the root structure of the tree should be well established and will not need the kind of monitoring that a newly planted tree requires.
Care must be taken when pruning newly planted trees because poor pruning can damage a tree for the rest of its life. The pruning of these young trees should be done to remove remove dead or broken branches. More aggressive pruning should wait until the tree is two to three years old.
Signs of a Healthy Tree
Is There New Growth: If you have had your tree for a year or more, there should be new growth appearing each year.
Check for Dead or Broken Branches: Since dead and broken branches invite insects and make the tree more susceptible to disease, they should be pruned off. Hint: If a branch is green underneath the bark when scraped with your fingernail, it is alive.
Check the Tree’s Bark: The bark should be intact. If it is loose or peeling, there is probably a problem. The truck should not have large cracks or holes and should be free of fungi.
Examine the Leaves: Leaves should be the appropriate color for the season. Wilting of the leaves indicate stress caused by too little or too much watering, or too much or too little sun. Evergreens should not have bare patches without needles, and deciduous trees should be full of leaves in the blooming season. Areas where leaves are missing can indicate damage or disease.
A proper tree care program will allow fluid growth patterns and wind penetration. This will condition your trees for long term healthy development. All of our pruning practices are based upon the International Society of Arboriculture industry standards.
Our Pacific Vista Landscape Service professionals will provide your property with a complete inventory of all trees and organize these trees on a multiple year tree care plan. We will place the trees on an appropriate plan to best suit a given species.
Contact us or call us today! 661-222-7525
The most dramatic scenes in landscape are driven toward the sky by the majestic trees that surround us. Because trees bring value and beauty to your property, we take our arboriculture service seriously.
One of the most important aspects of our services has been tree care. Trees serve many purposes from stimulating a view to deterring your eyes from some non-attractive scenery; they absorb noise and pollution while cleaning the air we breathe.
Trees in an urban environment are susceptible to many forms of stress including; wind, rain, disease and pest damage. These stresses can be minimized by implementing a routine maintenance program for trees.
A proper tree care program will allow fluid growth patterns and wind penetration. This will condition your trees for long term healthy development.
All of our pruning practices are based upon the International Society of Arboriculture industry standards.
Trimming & Pruning
Our trained professionals prune all trees in accordance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 Standards. This ensures that you get the finest quality tree care available.
Removals & Stump Grinding
Our crews are highly trained, professional arborists who are experienced in difficult and hazardous removals — and do not take chances at your expense.
Tree Management Planning
Our staff will provide your property with a complete inventory of all trees and organize these trees on a multiple year tree care plan. We will place the trees on an appropriate frequency to best suit a given species.
Southern California Landscaping Professionals
Call us at 661-222-7525 or contact Pacific Vista Landscape Services today for all your tree service needs! We also provide landscape installation, maintenance programs, irrigation systems, pest control and serve both commercial and residential clients.