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Hanging around with Airies...

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Hertswood Airies began when husband and wife, Jonah and Lizzie, combined their passions; woodturning and house plants.

Jonah makes the pots using local timber, largely from National Trust’s Ashridge Estate, and the surrounding area.

Lizzie paints the pots, and pairs them with air plants grown in the UK.

Our Airies are designed so that they are equally happy to be dangling by their string, or standing proud on their base.

Airies are easy to look after and each come with simple care instructions.

A little bit about Air plants…

The air plants we use for our Airies are grown in England, but are native to South America and some southern states of North America.

They are epiphytes, which means that they grow on another host plant or object without taking nutrients from it like a parasite does.

Air plants gather nutrients from the moisture and dust in the air, their roots merely cling on to their host for support while their leaves do the important work of collecting food and water.

There are over 600 air plants in the genus Tillandsia belonging to the family, bromeliaceae along with other tropical plants, including the pineapple.

Are air plants easy to look after?

Air plants are pretty simple to care for…

All they really need is sunlight and water.

Each Airie we sell comes with simple care instructions about when and how best to water them.

When should I water my air plant?

It’s best to water your air plant in the morning…

Air plants can survive in arid conditions that many other plants can’t because they ‘breathe’ at night time.

Most plants have their stomata (tiny pores covering the leaves which allow gaseous exchange) open in the day time so they can most effectively collect CO2 and photosynthesise. Air plants keep their stomata closed during the day when there is more chance of transpiration, this allows them to retain water and thrive where many others could not. They collect their CO2 by opening their stomata at night time, when air humidity is higher. Lacking the suns energy, they store the CO2 as malic acid which can then be converted back and used for normal photosythesis during the day.

Aren’t they clever! And the upshot of this is… ideally water them in the morning or at least in the day, as if you water them at night they will struggle to open their stomata and breathe.

Will my air plant flower?

Your air plant might one day flower…

The process of blooming happens at different times for different species and lasts for different amounts of time. Some species don’t flower for their first year or so.

The first clue you might notice are that the innermost leaves become tinged with red or pink, that tells you are, at some point going to be treated with a flower.

The blooms come in all shapes and forms, their main aim being to attract insects to pollinate, but air plants also have the ability to self reproduce.

‘Pupping’ happens when an air plant produces an offset plant, usually at its base, this pup will then absorb the mother plants nutrients and continue to grow in its place.

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