I had been walking down my street in Brooklyn and spied a pretty old, beautiful piece of scrap wood outside a construction zone. Admittedly I walked by it several dozen times over the course of two months before I finally picked it up. It's funny, really, because as soon as I saw it I thought what a wonderful piece of wood it would be for an air plant sculpture. Additionally it already had two hooks in the wood for hanging; can't believe I nearly passed up such a perfect piece for the home!
I was a little late to the Tillandsia (air plant) game. They didn't particularly interest me as much as some other plants, so it wasn't until I had quite a vast collection of root-bound soil plants, that I began to acquire air plants.
Tillandsia are often displayed, housed in glass bulbs. This isn't just for aesthetics; Tillandsia prefer humid environments and the glass bulbs help to keep humidity levels higher around the plant. In their natural habitat, they are often found in the crooks and crotches of trees, like shown below, so I figured the slab of wood I had just scavenged, would be an appropriate habitat for a homebound-Tillandsia. Here's how I did it.
- flat piece of wood
- Tillandsia specimens of choice
- measuring tape
- electric drill with various drill bit sizes
- rope or twine (for wrapping Tillandsia)
- chain or heavy rope for hanging wood
- mounting materials (if needed)
- Firstly, I chose eleven air plants for the size of the wood, and took a pencil and lightly marked where I would place each one.
- Next, I measured the bottom of each air plant because you essentially want to drill the hole around the same size of the base of the air plant, with the idea that the air plant would sit nestled into the hole. Any air plant that is heavy, like the larger Tillandsia xerographica, pictured, can be wrapped in twine and tied to another one in back.
- Take your drill and appropriate drill bit size and begin drilling holes in the wood, being careful not to splinter the wood.
- If you're going to hang the wood, screw in hooks into the top or back of the wood for hanging. This piece of wood already had two hooks, so I just used a thick rope to hang above my closet garden.
This may seem to be a hassle for some, but I spray my Tillandsia around 2-3 times a week, to keep up the humidity, and in the summer months will take the sculpture down every week and "dunk" my Tillandsia in water for about 30-45 minutes. Note that you should let them dry out well or they'll rot on you! 🌿