How To Display Air Plants

Air plants should be displayed in ways that suit their unique form. What are some ways to display them?

It’s no secret that air plants are adored—and incredibly popular—because of their low-maintenance needs and easy-growing nature. Undoubtedly, most people have seen them displayed attached to the quintessential piece of driftwood or stuck in a cute seashell. If this isn’t your preferred aesthetic, don’t let this dissuade you from buying one, or even more than one, for your home. 

Since most air plants, or Tillandsias, are classified as epiphytes and don’t need soil for their roots to grow like most plants, you can use just about anything your heart desires for growing them. There are many creative ideas well beyond the stereotypical driftwood or seashells. 

So let’s talk about fifteen creative ways to display air plants. Some of these ideas are ingenious, and others use simple items, so your plant is the main focus of the display.

15 Creative Ways To Display Your Air Plants

1. Wire Frame Shapes or Ornaments

These wire “shapes” are often used as table decorations or knick-knacks to sit on your bookshelf, but they make fantastic air plant displays. You can set one larger plant inside the frame or use the openings between the wires to place plants around the outside of the shape. Put them on a shelf or hang them for a unique decoration.

hanging air plants using a metal frame

2. Tree Stump Display

Playing off the typical driftwood display but giving it a unique twist, you can use a chunk of a tree trunk to showcase your air plant majestically. Opt for a wide piece that isn’t very tall or a smaller branch with more height. Use a hole saw drill bit to create a hole in the surface to hold your plant. 

If you’re using a wider piece of wood, drill numerous holes to create a “platter” of plants.

An air plant sitting on top of a tree stump

3. Vintage Tea Cup

Whether you have a family heirloom you want to use, a favorite mug that isn’t usable anymore for tea, or you’ve found a great cup at your local thrift store, this is a great way to showcase air plants. Set the cup upright or tip it on its side and place a single plant in it or clump multiples together. 

vintage pink tea cup used as a planter

4. Ceramic Figurine Planter

There is no shortage of whimsical ceramic planters in stores and online. You can find an array of figurines in a wide range of colors to match your personality and decor. Mix and match colors or pair vibrant green with glossy white porcelain. You can give the figurine some wild and crazy hair or a fun, creative personality using air plants. 

dinosaur figurine as air planter

5. Glass Milk or Soda Bottles

Old milk or soda bottles are another creative way to display air plants. Group them—always try to stick to an odd number of bottles—or use a single one for a solo display. To add extra color, go a step further and fill the bottles with sand, marbles, rocks, or a combination of materials.

Glass bottles as air plants container

6. Geometric Modern Terrarium

Terrariums were trendy in the 1970s and are making a comeback again as an attractive way to display both air plants and succulents. Beyond the classic round design, there are plenty of new products with beautiful, intricate shapes. These modern, geometric terrariums often have an open side to make it easy to remove the plant for watering.

Blacks modern geometric terrarium

7. Mason Jars

Quart mason jars—especially vintage ones or ones made with colored glass—are a great way to create a miniature air plant terrarium. Add a layer of sand to the bottom, and then pair your air plant with seashells or conches that complement the plant’s looks, making it seem like the perfect setup for a miniature aquarium.

Mason jars as planters

8. Wine Cork Fridge Magnets

Honestly, this design is one you’ve probably seen already, but it’s worth mentioning. If you have wine corks sitting in a drawer, you can easily turn them into unique magnets. Glue a magnet to the back of your favorite cork, and then attach small air plants to the front or top. 

They make adorable gifts for the wine-lover in your life and are incredibly easy to keep your plants watered. Simply pull the magnet off the fridge, and dip it upside down in some water.

Wine Cork Fridge Magnets with air plants

9. Wire Birdcage

It doesn’t matter if you have an old birdcage in the garage or attic or you bought one from the flea market; a wire birdcage is a brilliant way to showcase your air plants. Especially if it has a little antiquing or rust on the wire! Use it to display multiple plants and then hang it from the ceiling.

10. Hanging Teardrop Planter

These delicate little hanging terrariums are typically used for succulents, but they are a great way to display your air plants. The side opening lets you access your plant when it needs water, and the sturdy rope attached to the top makes it easy to hang the teardrop planter wherever you want. Perfect for hanging above your kitchen sink or in the bathroom!

assorted air plants hung using a teardrop glass planter

11. Air Plant Picture Frame

The possibilities are extensive with this idea! Start with a frame of your choosing—metal or wooden, simple or ornate—and remove the back panel and front glass. Attach a bunch of floral wires in a grid pattern to support your plants. Once finished, hang it on the wall or prop it on a shelf.

12. DIY Spiral Wire Holders

You can make spiral wire holders to hang your plants from a hook or use them as a base to set plants in. Take bendable wire and wrap it around your fingers or something cylindrical to create a bowl shape for the plant. Loop the wire closer as you get to the bottom, and then create a hanger or base.

spiral wires as air plant holders

13. Decorative Table Centerpiece

Create a gorgeous centerpiece for your table, using tall, slim flower vases, candelabras, or even narrow metal candle holders to display your plants. Mix a variety of heights and materials to create a stunning centerpiece, and add candles (or the battery-powered flickering LED lights to keep your plants safe) for an extra touch of elegance.

14. Woven String Embroidery Hoop

Like the picture frame idea, take an embroidery hoop and create a web through the center opening using cotton crochet thread or thin floral wire. Once you’ve completed your design, you can pop your air plants into the spaces. If you’re feeling really creative, you can even paint the embroidery hoop to match or accent your decor.

15. Custom Hanging Air Plant Mobile

Most of us are familiar with crib mobiles that display shapes or figurines and are meant to hang above a crib to help entertain a baby. While you may not want to do this above a crib, the idea is similar. Buy a circular wire frame or DIY mobile frame, and then hang air plants from it using different string lengths.

You can either tie small mugs to hold the plants or attach the plants directly to the string.

air plant hung on mini ceramic pots

How To Decide What To Use As A Display

When choosing something to display your Tillandsias, your options are plentiful. You can use almost anything with a little bit of creativity on your part. The main thing to consider is you need to be able to water your plant easily. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the display needs to be waterproof.

What it does mean is the air plant is easily removed from the display, the display can get wet, or you can dunk your plants in water without removing them from the collection.

Basic Watering Instructions for Air Plants

For most air plant types, plan on watering it once seven to ten days. If you live in a drier climate, you may need to water your plant once every five to seven days. Set the plant face down in water for ten to twenty minutes, and then gently shake off any excess. 

Carley Miller
Carley Miller is a horticultural expert at Bustling Nest. She previously owned a landscaping business for 25 years and worked at a local garden center for 10 years.
More ArticlesHouseplants