air plants gardening with arthritis

Make Gardening a Breeze With Air Plants

Springtime brings out the gardener in us all. But it can be tough on the joints. Air plant gardening requires no shovel, no soil, no watering can, but the results can be spectacular. Just ask Carolyn Kosanouvong-Walker of Fresno, California, who began air plant gardening as a creative way to ease stress and take her mind off the pain of her juvenile arthritis.

“What I love about air plants is that they are simple to manage and come in different sizes and types,” says Kosanouvong-Walker, 45, who was diagnosed at age 3.

Air plants, or Bromeliad Tillandsia, are tropical plants that absorb nutrients through their leaves instead of their roots, which serve primarily to anchor them to rocks or trees. They are a favorite among people with limited strength or dexterity, says Megan George, author of Modern Terrarium Studio: Design + Build Custom Landscapes with Succulents, Air Plants + More (Fons & Porter, 2015).

Want to give it a try? George and Kosanouvong-Walker offer these three steps to success.

  1. Create Your Garden. Attach your plant to a piece of driftwood with plant-safe glue, or set it in a dish of sand pebbles or in a terrarium (not enclosed).
  2. Give It Sunlight. Put the plant where it will get bright, indirect light at least eight hours a day.
  3. Water It. Mist it twice a week, holding the plant upside down so water won’t accumulate between leaves. Let it dry between mistings.

Author: Mary Anne Dunkin

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