Grow Air Plants – Brown Thumb Green

This centering activity challenges the story:
I can’t grow anything, and I kill everything

IMG_2506 These are my actual air plants in my actual shower, and they’ve seen me naked. Plenty of us out there are showering with our plants, because they thrive on the humidity. Here’s a little secret: You thrive on the smallest bit of dedication they require.

Gardening is not for everybody, but growing plants is a centering activity that I’ve discussed before. Your ego will show up like the Cat in the Hat, and it’s going to be up to you to show the door. By the way, this centering activity still works even if you kill the plants! Your thumb will be greener for it.

Air plants are Tillandsias, and they are epiphytes. This means they do not grow in traditional potting soil. Naturally, they’d be found in tropical parts of the world nestled in trees or even clinging to billboards. They grow where they grow, and there is a huge market for them. Why? The soil part seems to be what freaks people out about gardening. So, let’s get down to it.

Check to a site called for the specifics on varieties and care. Basically, they can be set in indirect light and misted 2 or 3 times a week. That’s it! They can even help you build up the confidence and move onto another elegant epiphyte: the orchid. The following are ways you can make this activity your own.IMG_2507

  • Find a shallow container or glass terrarium and fill it with pebbles or sea glass. You may also fill it with aquarium glass, stones, or crystals. Set your air plant inside.
  • Use sand to create a desert setting in a shallow or see-through container. Find other found objects and place them along with your air plants to create a true miniature setting. This can be made up-scale or kid-friendly depending on what you set in with your plants. I like plastic dinosaurs or giant plastic bugs, but you can use miniature goddess statues, Buddha, Mother Mary, or Legos.

How does this work if you kill the plant?

Experience creates knowledge, and knowledge creates confidence. Don’t personify plants to the point where it stops you from growing them. They die all the time. New ones grow all the time. When they die, the only thing to take from it is information. Don’t hand your self-worth to a plant. Work with plants.

Now, I am also showing you some examples that I’ve done with succulents. Succulents do require well-drained soil and restraint with the watering can. Use these for creative inspiration, because you can make these fun compositions with air plants too. You can find all sorts of miniature statues at a site called

Found objects I like: abandoned bird nests, abandoned wasp nests, moss, sticks, acorns, bark, lichen, etc.



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