By: Orli Schwartz, Shoresh Intern 2014
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)
In order to gain a greater appreciation for the environment, I always feel it is necessary to care for one of its creations, as Adam and Eve were created by Hashem to care for the garden of Eden. Environmental education and respect should start at an early age and,what better way to teach your little ones about responsibility than to allow them to care for something that grows!
My personal belief is that almost every room in your home should contain a natural green element- bedrooms included. Now I know what parents are thinking… children + soil = huge mess! My own mother thinks the same things about me… and I am 23 years old!
As a respectful compromise, I went out and purchased some Tillandsia, more commonly known as air plants. What are tillandsia you may ask? They are epiphytes, which are plants that derive moisture and nutrients from the air and rain. They are usually found in nature growing on other plants, and yes, epiphytes do not require soil.
These plants are great for kids. They grow in cool shapes and textures and are easy to care for. I bought mine a few weeks ago and they have already gotten so big! Here are some care instructions I have found that worked for me- after doing intense research (I encourage you to do your own and compare with this to find the best way to care for your air plants).
How to Care:
- Keep near a sunny window everyday with filtered light (opening the window once in a while is ideal)
- Be sure not to expose them to direct sunlight for too long a period of time
- Make sure they are receiving a steady flow of oxygen- if you want to keep them in an enclosed space that is fine, just make sure you air them out daily
- You can keep them in an attractive vase or jar (be creative)
- Spray your air plants with a spray bottle 2-3 times a week, make sure to spritz them everywhere, shake off the excess water and leave them in a sunny spot to dry (I spritz mine lightly everyday)
- I use tap water but I make sure to leave it out in the sun for a day to allow for some chemicals to evaporate- treat your air plants with some rain water
- A healthy plant should take up to 4 hours to dry (mine dry in 1 hour)
- Once a week or every 10 days, fill up a bucket with water and let your plants soak for about 10 minutes submerged in water (plants will continue to absorb the water until their supply is cut off, overwatering could happen with this method so be careful)
- Be careful with air plants that contain a bulb as they can become waterlogged and cause the plant to rot.
Well I hope I have encouraged you to go out and buy some of these great, no-messTillandsia plants. You can purchase them at most garden centers and I have even noticed them at some small boutique flower shops. Teach your children all about plant care and the responsibility each of us have towards taking care of Hashems creations. Don’t forget to get creative with how you display these cuties!