I originally created Tpots for small cacti and succulents. However, since they have no drainage hole, they can be poor choices if one does not understand how to water cacti and succulents without drowning them in so much water that it drains out the bottom. One day a neighbor came over because she was fascinated with the conversion of my yard from nandina, agapanthus, liriope, and native brush to cacti and succulents, and even more fascinated with my Tpots. She bought five Tpots and, a few months later, invited me over to show me what she had done with them. Her main interest was air plants, but where we live in Winter Gardens is not conducive to growing them, especially outside. She had over a hundred, growing fairly well, but she showed me the five in Tpots, which, she said, were growing better than all the others.
Most air plants (Tillandsia sp.) are epiphytes native to the forests and mountains of the tropical areas of North, Central, and South America. Some, however, are aerophytes and are native to the tropical deserts. To put it simply, the two major issues with growing air plants is that they don’t like the base of their stems (Figure 1 & 2)to be constantly wet. For the most part, though, they do like high humidity or regular watering that dries quickly. Tpots make it much easier to get air plants to grow and bloom.
Here is how to use your Tpot: First, of course, buy a Tpot you love, like my favorite in Figure 3. Each Tpot is a special creation since no two Tpots are exactly alike. Once you have your Tpot—they range in price from $20 to $80—fill it a quarter to half full with pebble rocks. I usually fill it up a quarter (Figure 4) but certainly no more than half; you’ll understand. Now that you have it filled partially filled with pebble rocks, pour enough water in so that the pebble rocks are covered. This water will evaporate through additional pebble rocks to be placed in the Tpot (Figure 5), providing an important source of humidity for your air plant. Next, find an air plant that you think will look good in the Tpot. Dig into the top layer of pebble rocks and place your air plant (Figure 6). Do not place the air plant so deep in the pebble rocks that its base is in the water you poured in earlier, which is why we didn’t use more than half of the Tpot for that first layer of pebble rocks and water. Move the top layer of pebble rocks around to hold the air plant in place. I usually use a tablespoon (Figure 7) to move pebble rocks closer to the underside of the air plant to ensure that it will stay in place when I move the Tpot.
Now put your Tpot and air plant wherever you’d like. I have ten indoors, one in each room, including the bathrooms. Because air plants like light and moisture, I rotate my plants on the first Saturday of each month so that they all get an equal amount of light during the course of the year. At the same time, I remove the air plant and pour the rocks out to ensure that the Tpot is free of mold, algae, etc. I also rinse the air plant to remove the dust that settled on it. Once I have done that, I redo the Tpot. This takes about 30 minutes each month, and since I really like my air plants, it’s 30 minutes that I like spending with them. All Tpots are tested for being leak-proof before being offered for sale. Buy Tpots here at russelrayphotos.com, at my Etsy shop (etsy.com/shop/RusselRayPhotos) or at any of the cactus & succulent club meetings, shows, and sales that I attend.