GARDENING: How to use those shells you found on the beach
Succulents have become a trendy home-decor item. The fact that they are built to retain water and can survive on the smallest amount of care probably has a lot to do with their popularity. It’s really easy to make your own planters for these simple decorations, and there are so many types of succulents to decorate your house with — like cacti, aloe plants, and air plants.
Air plants look striking all on their own without the need for soil or a container. A beautiful display for your home is air plants in seashells. They make for such a perfect pairing of natural elements that would not usually be found together. This is a great project to do with your kids, and all those shells you’ve collected over your beach holidays can be put to good use.
What you will need:
- magnetic tape
- shells – pretty snail or sea urchin shells (some people call them pumpkin shells) with a wide enough opening to fit the base of the plant inside
- air plants
How to make your air plant shell planter:
Step one: Cut a small piece of magnet
Step two: Stick the magnet to the bottom of the shell
Step three: Stick the air plant in the hole of the shell
Step four: Place your air plant shells on any magnetic surface, i.e. the refrigerator door or metal window frames
Should you wish to hang your air plant shell, you will need to complete an additional step
Step five: Cut a piece of wire to the desired length and glue onto the shell – you can now hang your planter in position.
Why not plant a variety of air plants into different shape and size shells. You will then be able to be creative with the way that you display your air plant shell planters.
Place a few air plant shell planters into a glass jar and further decorate with small pebbles. Voila! You have a perfect table decoration. (Don’t close the jar)
How to care for your air plant:
Air plants are easy to care for, as long as you are sure to give them the basics.
Yup, as the name indicates, you must provide lots of air for your air plant. Make sure that it’s not sealed up in a closed container so that fresh air can circulate freely around the plant.
Since they don’t grow in soil, air plants need to absorb moisture through their leaves. Tillandsia are subtropical plants so the frequency of watering will depend on where you live and if the plants are indoors or outdoors. Generally, in Summer you can mist spray them once a week and in Winter every second week. If you live in an area with low humidity (like Gauteng), we recommend that you start misting twice weekly and adjust as necessary, depending on how long it takes for your plant to dry in your space.
Some gardeners prefer to bath their air plants to meet their water requirements. In the summer they need a weekly soak, whereas in the winter it’s once every three weeks or so.
To bath your air plant, remove it from the shell and set it in a bowl that is large enough to submerge the plant in water. After an hour, take the plant out and give it a good shake upside down to remove any water pooling inside the leaves. Put the plant back in place and enjoy its beauty for another 1-3 weeks before it needs another bath.
Air plants prefer bright, indirect light. A sunny window may be too much light, and a dark room will be too little. Find a bright spot in your home where the sun doesn’t directly beam right at the plant.