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The World of Epiphytic Houseplants

Epiphytes are a fascinating type of plant! In the wild they grow on tree trunks, in the forks of branches, on the sides of rocks, and even in aquatic settings. Common epiphytes are some types of ferns, orchids, bromeliads, and cacti. Because true epiphytes don’t require much soil, if any, they make excellent houseplants. Here is a list of 10 epiphytic houseplants that are easy to find…

ANTHURIUM
Care: Bright, indirect light. Water thoroughly and then let dry out a touch between waterings. Avoid drafty areas or areas with large temperature fluctuations.
BIRD’S NEST FERN
Care: Medium indirect light is best, either an east or north window. Keep potting mix evenly moist but never soggy. High humidity is essential though you don’t want your plant to be sitting in water.
BROMELIAD
Bromeliads and air plants are very similar and actually from the same family. The difference is that bromeliads are able to live in soil whereas air plants must NOT be planted! They both absorb nutrients through the air, their stringy roots are just for structural support. Bromeliads are susceptible to root rot from overwatering so make sure the soil is dry before watering. Bromeliads love humidity!
CATTLEYA ORCHID
Care: Keep high humidity but also good airflow. Bright light is necessary; too little light will prevent flowering though foliage might still look healthy and green.
CHRISTMAS CACTUS
Care: Put in a location that will get at least 6 hours of indirect bright light. Allow moisture levels to drop and dry out some between watering intervals and never let the plant sit in water, as this will lead to root and stem rot.
MISTLETOE CACTUS
Care: Medium light (no direct sun) and high humidity will keep this plant happy. Remember that it grows in the rainforest and not the desert!
ONCIDIUM ORCHID
Care: These orchids can withstand bright light. Pay attention to leaf color: Reddish-green leaves signal too much light and dark green leaves signal too little light. Humidity levels should be raised if room temperatures rise.
ORCHID CACTUS
Care: Bright light but no direct sun. Use a very light, porous potting soil. Soak thoroughly and then let dry completely before watering again.
STAGHORN FERN
Care: Water frequently but let medium (soil or moss) dry out between waterings. Provide medium indirect light and fertilize infrequently.
TILLANDSIA
Air plants, the quintessential epiphyte, will grow on many surfaces as long as it is not planted. This allows the plant to be used in quite creative settings! Provide bright, indirect light, high humidity, and a good soak every once in a while.
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