9 Air Plants That Grow the Most Unique Flowers

Rayna Skiver - Author

Jul. 3 2023, Published 10:21 a.m. ET

Flowering air plant growing out of tree trunk
Source: ISTOCK

Plant parenting can be challenging. Between deciphering each plant’s individual needs and actually trying to keep them alive every day, it’s pretty easy to want to give up after a few inevitable failures.

However, we have great news for everyone struggling: There’s actually a plant that thrives on mostly air. Not only are these plants easy to care for, but they’re also super unique. Some air plants even flower — check them out below!

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Tillandsia ionantha

Tillandsia ionantha plant
Source: ISTOCK

The ionantha, also known as the “sky plant,” is an easy-to-grow air plant that produces a tubular, purple flower with yellow stamens. In terms of care, regular misting and bright, indirect light are essential for this species' survival, according to North Carolina State University. It can take quite some time for the flower to appear, so be patient.

Tillandsia caput-medusae

As its name implies, the caput-medusae has long, curvy leaves that look eerily similar to Medusa’s snake-filled hair. If your goal is to end up with a gorgeous, blue-red flower, the plant’s growing conditions must be just right. Planet Desert suggests placing the caput-medusae in a warm, bright environment and only watering it occasionally.

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Tillandsia xerographica

The xerographica sprouts a lovely (and spiky), red flower, which is perfect if you’re looking to add an interesting element to your home or garden. However, this species only sprouts once in a lifetime, and that’s only if it’s totally thriving.

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Tillandsia kolbii

Kolbii’s always look slightly windswept — it’s one of the plant’s most identifiable traits. Be sure to water your kolbii once every week or two, place it in bright, indirect light, and keep it in a warm environment, The Spruce instructs. Once it matures, you might be lucky enough to watch it sprout a tubular, red, or purple flower.

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Tillandsia cacticola

Cacticola’s are pretty rare, so if you’re fortunate enough to have one, it’s important to take good care of it. Make sure this plant is placed in a bright and well-ventilated environment, and water it once a week. Don’t worry, according to Just Houseplants, all of this meticulous effort will pay off — after a cacticola reaches maturity, it will produce a long, lavender bloom with small white flowers.

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Tillandsia ionantha fuego

The ionantha “fuego” is a smaller, low-maintenance air plant. It might not be an imposing species, but it certainly makes a statement with its eye-catching, bright red foliage and purple flower. Plant parents can keep the fuego happy with enough warmth, humidity, and bright light.

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Tillandsia chiapensis

This species produces a light pink flower with a long, tubular, and scale-like appearance. Be sure to mist your chiapensis a few times a week and place it in an environment with plenty of indirect light, Air Plant Central recommended. If you take care of it, it will thrive for many years.

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Tillandsia stricta

Strictas have extremely unique blooms — the unique cone-shaped and pink ombre-colored flowers will definitely be a topic of conversation. The only catch is that the flower lasts just a single day. Your efforts won’t be a total waste though; the bright foliage surrounding the bloom will last much longer.

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Tillandsia funckiana

Just Houseplants described the funckiana as a “long, twisting plant” that looks like a pine tree. Once it reaches maturity, this interesting species produces one orange-red bloom — a rare occurrence for air plants.

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