Have you ever fallen head over heels in love at first sight? With a plant? I have, which is really kind of funny since I’ve always had a brown thumb. You could even say brown thumbs run in my family. I remember once long ago a friend of my mom gave her a dead plant as a gag gift for her birthday with a note: “Here Ruth, lets see if you can kill this one.”
I’ve tried to break the cycle, sadly with only pots of brown plants to show for it. I planted some hanging baskets in the kitchen bay window with herbs since I love to cook. They kept dying off on me too, though I tried to hide it from my honey by replacing them on a regular basis. John would come home and say, “Sweety, the plants look great. You must have replaced them again”. I guess I didn’t fool him at all.
And then I meet a strange little plant and fell in love. It was a Tillandsia, or what some folks like to call an air plant. I fell for it’s quirkiness right off the bat, but was reluctant to get into another relationship that I was sure would only end in heartbreak. But the little bugaboo whispered to me to give it a try. You see, Tillandsias are different from your regular run of the mill houseplant. They don’t sit in pots of soil for me to over or under water. They don’t need soil at all! They have a different outlook on life, that boils down to three simple things. Light, Air and Water.
The Light and Air, well that’s pretty easy. Even I can’t mess those up. Filtered bright light near a window, and maybe some good full spectrum fluorescent light in our long Michigan winters to help out. Some ceiling fans to keep the air moving and some open windows weather permitting. I do that anyways. It’s that Watering part that has always gotten me in trouble in the past. I’m not good at guessing how much to water, the soil always ends up too wet or too dry. For Tillandsias though, I just give them a bath twice a week and let them soak up as much or as little as they want, then let dry before popping them back into their globes. Fill a bowl with water (rain water is awesome) and let them soak for 20 minutes or so. If you have a bunch you can even give them a shower in the sink or tub. Easy peasy, and I finally have a house full of happy healthy plants!
No more brown thumbs for me 🙂