In this step-by-step air plant guide I will teach you how to care for your air plants. Also, I will show you step-by-step how to make 2 different DIY air plant terrariums with a coastal look using seashells, urchins, & driftwood.
If you’re looking for a fun and easy DIY project, creating your own air plant terrarium is a great place to start. With just a few simple materials and a little creativity, you can make an air plant terrarium for your home or office.
The ones that I am going to show you have a coastal theme with a variety of shells, driftwood, and sand.
Today I’ll walk you through the steps to create your own air plant terrarium, from choosing the right container to selecting the perfect plants and accessories.
These cute little plants don’t require soil and can survive with just a bit of misting or soaking every week or so. Plus, they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, making them perfect for creating beautiful terrariums.
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Understanding Air Plants
About Air Plants:
Air plants, also known as Tillandsia, are native to the Americas and can be found from the southern United States to Argentina.
They are what is known as epiphytes, which means they do not need soil to survive but instead grow on other plants or objects. The air plant absorbs nutrients and moisture through its leaves.
There are hundreds of species of air plants each with its own unique shape, size, and color.
Care and Maintenance
Air plants are relatively easy to care for and require minimal maintenance. Here are a few tips to keep them healthy:
- Water: Mist your air plants 2-3 times a week, or soak them in water for 30 minutes once a week.
- Light: Air plants prefer bright, indirect light. Do not place them in direct sunlight because it can burn their leaves.
- Air circulation: Good air circulation is essential for air plants.
- Fertilizer: Air plants can benefit from a monthly dose of fertilizer. Use a fertilizer specifically designed for air plants (here is one).
Air plants are so fun and look so interesting. It’s an easy way to add a little greenery to a space, even if it’s the corner of your office desk! Plants just make you feel better.
It will depend on the time of year and natural humidity as to how often you will need to mist your air plants. When the air is dry you may have to mist every other day and in the humid days of Summer, it may be every 3 days.
I also recommend giving your air plants a bath once a week (maybe every 2 weeks if you are in a humid climate). Just pop them in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes.
It is very important that after you remove the air plants from the water they are allowed to dry out completely. Just use paper towels to absorb the excess moisture. This will help prevent rotting and fungus on the plants.
Why DIY An Air Plant Terrarium?
As someone who loves plants (seriously can’t make it out of a home improvement store without a new plant baby to bring home!!) I am always looking for new ideas for incorporating plants into my home.
But I think that even if you are a beginner a DIY terrarium is perfect place to start. Perfect if if you aren’t a green thumb or are just starting out in your first apartment or dorm.
They don’t need soil and can be displayed in unique and creative ways so that makes them so fun!
There are a lot of reasons why I prefer to make my own air plant terrariums rather than buying them pre-made but for me, it comes down to cost!
Here at Cottage on Bunker Hill, I am always trying to bring you the most budget-friendly options for everything in your home. So making your own terrarium is a cheaper option than purchasing a pre-assembled one. Plus you can customize it to whatever your style is and add what you want.
Overall, making your own air plant terrarium is a fun and easy way to add some greenery to your home. It’s a low-maintenance project that can be completed on a budget, and the end result is a beautiful and unique display that you can be proud of.
Air Plant Terrariums
Choosing the Right Terrarium
When selecting a terrarium for your air plants, there are a few things to consider. First, you want to choose a container that is clear and allows plenty of light to reach your plants. This will help ensure that your air plants thrive.
Additionally, you want to choose a container that is the right size for your plants. Air plants come in a variety of sizes, so be sure to choose a container that will accommodate the size of your plants.
For this project I am using smaller air plants, I actually ordered them from Amazon (this is the set that I ordered). They are all super healthy and were all in good shape when I opened the box.
You can make any size terrarium that you like depending on space and where you want to display it afterward. So even if you choose a smaller container you can still follow this guide and just adjust your supplies. Today I will show you 2 terrariums: a low dish and a taller glass cylinder vase.
Supplies For DIY Air Plant Terrariums
- Air plants
- Terrarium containers
- Tall cylinder container
- Variety of Seashells
- Larger Shells
- Urchin Shells
- Gravel, stones, or sand
- Spray bottle
Step-by-Step Guide to Making Air Plant Terrariums
For the first terrarium, I am going to show you how to make a bowl. Using a wide clear glass container allows you to decorate it with larger shells and add more air plants.
Thrift stores are a great place to look for containers to use for terrariums! When I am out thrifting I always see lots of clear glass.
Since this is a beachy, coastal-themed terrarium I used sand to fill the bottom of the bowl. Small pebbles or rocks are also fine to use for an air plant terrarium since you don’t need soil.
Starting out with a piece of driftwood that has a natural split that just happens to be the perfect size for one of the air plants!
Since I grew up in coastal New England I love collecting driftwood and shells. For these terrariums, I am using driftwood that I already had.
If you can’t find driftwood look for interesting sticks! The craft stores may also have driftwood pieces. Amazon does have driftwood but it is so expensive that I won’t link it.
The air plant stays perfectly in place! The gap was wide enough that the plant stands upright and can be easily removed when the plants need to be soaked.
The next piece that I am going to add to the terrarium is going to be a beautiful urchin shell with one of the air plants tucked right inside.
Then a starfish was added right into the sand.
For this step-by-step tutorial, I am only going to use 3 air plants so I can show the details clearly, but you could add quite a few more in a container this size.
To finish off this terrarium I scattered a few colorful shells around the sand and a piece of moss.
What’s fun about creating a terrarium is that you can add your own personality to it as you are decorating. If you don’t love shells then you could find a cool piece of wood or interesting rocks to use to fill yours.
Hanging Air Plant Jellyfish Terrarium
Now, this DIY terrarium is so fun! Wait until you see how it comes out.
For this terrarium, I am using a tall glass cylinder vase. This one is 6 inches wide by 9 inches. Just find one with a wide enough opening to be able to add plants to it.
To start I poured a layer of sand into the vase as the base.
Next, I scattered a few larger shells around the sand.
The opening in this seashell will be the home for this interesting air plant (Tillandsia Caput Medusae)
Then I really filled it up with smaller shells, a beach rock, driftwood, and a grassy-looking air plant.
Now for the super fun part…to make a “jellyfish” out of an air plant and urchin shell! To hang it in the terrarium I am using a piece of driftwood that is wide enough to hang across the top of the glass cylinder vase.
Drill a small hole through the driftwood and run a piece of jute string or even clear fishing line through the hole; tie a knot large enough to secure the string onto the wood so it won’t slip through.
If you don’t have a drill you can simply wrap jute string around the driftwood or a small stick.
The urchin had a hole in the top of it already wide enough to run the jute string through.
First I figured out how low I wanted the urchin to hang in the vase ( I held up the driftwood to the edge of the vase while using my other hand to hold the urchin) then I trimmed down the jute string and tied a few knots in the end so the string wouldn’t slip out of the urchin shell.
I tried a few of the air plants to see which one fit snugly into the bottom of the urchin. One fit perfectly and stayed put.
Another option would be to use a couple of drops of glue on the bottom of the air plant and secure it to the top of the inside of the urchin shell.
The final touch was to lay the driftwood across the opening of the vase to let the “jellyfish” hang down into the terrarium…I told you this was a cute project!!
Finished Air Plant Terrariums
Definitely recommend this DIY project! It was really easy to do and I was pretty impressed with myself!
It would be a fun DIY project to do with your kids or grandkids this Summer.
The little jellyfish is the best part I think and I smile every time I pass the entryway table.
If you try this DIY project I would love to see it! Send me your picture at: email@example.com
Tips for Successful DIY Air Plant Terrarium
There are just a few things to remember:
- Give them enough light: Air plants need bright, indirect light to thrive. Be careful not to place them in direct sunlight as this can scorch the leaves.
- Mist regularly: Air plants absorb moisture through their leaves, so it’s important to mist them regularly. Use a spray bottle filled with filtered or distilled water and mist the plants every 2 or 3 days.
- Fertilize occasionally: While air plants don’t need fertilizer to survive, it can help them grow and thrive. Use a fertilizer made specifically for air plants. Fertilize once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) and stop during the dormant season (fall and winter).
By following these tips, you can create a beautiful and healthy air plant terrarium that will bring a little bit of nature into your home.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Let’s hit on a few common air plant problems & how you can fix them.
Issue #1: Browning or Drying Leaves
If you notice that the leaves of your air plants are turning brown or drying out, it’s likely due to underwatering. Air plants need to be misted or soaked in water regularly to stay healthy. If you’re not giving them enough water, they’ll start to show signs of stress.
To fix this issue, try misting your air plants more often or soaking them in water. You might also want to consider using filtered or distilled water instead of tap water, which can contain chemicals that can harm your plants.
Issue #2: Mold or Fungus Growth
If you see mold or fungus growing on your air plants, it’s usually a sign of overwatering. Air plants don’t like to be constantly wet, and if they’re left in standing water for too long, they can develop mold or fungus.
To fix this issue, make sure you’re not overwatering your air plants. Only mist or soak them when they’re dry, and make sure they have good air circulation. You might also want to consider using a fungicide to get rid of any existing mold or fungus.
Issue #3: Wilting or Drooping Leaves
If your air plants are wilting or drooping, it’s likely due to underwatering or too much direct sunlight. Air plants need bright, indirect light to thrive, but too much direct sunlight can damage their leaves.
To fix this issue, make sure your air plants are getting enough water and are not in direct sunlight for too long. You might also want to consider moving them to a location with more shade or diffused light.
Creating my own air plant terrariums was fun! Not only did I get to be creative but I also learned a lot about air plants and their care.
Overall, I highly recommend trying out a DIY air plant terrarium if you’re looking for a fun and easy project. Not only will you end up with a beautiful piece of decor, but you will also fall in love with these cute plants!
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