This Kid-Friendly Project Will Teach You How to Grow Air Plants

You don't need a green thumb for this gardening project.

Air plants are a hidden treasure in the plant-growing world. Yet, many people have never even heard of them. If you want to know how to grow air plants and bring some life into pretty much any corner of your home, then give this project a try.

So what are air plants exactly? You’ve probably seen them before but just didn’t know their name. Air plants (they go by the botanical name of Tillandsia) thrive outdoors in warm climates like Mexico, South America, and even part of the southern United States. They grow without soil or water because they get the nutrients they need from the air around them. Kind of amazing, right?

Outdoors, the plants often attach themselves to trees, rocks, and other plants. They look like something you might see in a Dr. Seuss book, with their spiky leaves and interesting shapes. Indoors, most people use them as houseplants, and they’ve really taken off in popularity in recent years. Air plants often contribute to a feng shui aesthetic, and you can often find them “growing” in decorative glass bulbs or atop reclaimed wood centerpieces.

Air plants make great projects for kids because they are so easy to keep alive. Plus, they’re great to combine with a project like string art, macramé, or the sand art project in the video below. A special thanks to Birds & Blooms for working with us on this project—they have more information on air plants here. And another thanks to Air Plant Supply Co. for providing us with all these cool plants. They have some of the best selection for air plants in the country. I’ve ordered from them personally many times and always get good plants! Here’s a video showing how to grow air plants and make this project for yourself. Then keep reading for step-by-step instructions.

What You’ll Need:

  • Air plants
  • Clear container
  • Sand in different colors
  • Funnel
  • Spoon

Step 1: Create your sand art.


Fill the clear container with sand, one colorful layer at a time. We used a funnel and a spoon to create our designs and give a nice even layer. It takes a little longer to do it this way, but you get a lot more control of your design overall. We recommend using at least two or three colors for a fun design.

Step 2: Add your plants.


This next part is simple. You just take your air plants and nestle them down into the sand. You can arrange them any way you want. It works really well to mix in different styles.

Step 3: Put them on display.


Put two or three air plant displays together to finish the look. Then a couple times a week, gently spray the plants with a little bit of water. That’s it! You might have thought it would be hard to learn how to grow air plants, but it really is that easy!

If you want to try another gardening project, check out this DIY fairy garden.