Top 10 Most Expensive Air Plants to Grow

Expensive Air Plants to Grow

Heard of air plants recently and seeing them all over your social media feed? It is hard to keep your hands off such a unique and beautiful type of plant that possesses diversified characteristics and is one of the most expensive plants.

There are more than 500 types of species in the Tillandsia genus, a part of the Bromeliad family. Many of them have not been allotted any name yet and they are simply known as air plants.

These little plants are not just unique looking, but the fun fact is that they do not need soil to thrive, unlike other plants. Air plants absorb moisture from the surrounding air for thriving. They relate to arid, warm, and filtered light conditions.

Most of these plants are grown inside the house, under fluorescent light. They are widely used for decoration too; their small size makes them the nicest addition everywhere.

Here are the top 10 most expensive and extraordinary air plants that you can consider growing in-house.

1. Tillandsia Cacticola

Tillandsia Cacticola

This plant is rare as it produces very few offsets and has got its name because it grows on cacti. However, the flowers of this plant are worth tracking down, they grow a lavender flower that lasts for a couple of months and leaves that form a rosette of silvery green color and are slightly curved.

They are native to the Peru region, require warm temperature, moderate humidity, and much bright indirect sunlight. If you find this one, take good care.

2. Tillandsia Bulbosa Belize

Tillandsia Bulbosa Belize

This one is larger than others and is also tough, less water is needed, but ample sunlight is a must. The base is round and bulbous, thus inspiring its name as Bulbosa, and is native to Belize. Its leaves are formed like serpents and are very smooth just like a snake, many people consider its appearance as some sort of deep-sea creature.

3. Tillandsia Streptophylla

Tillandsia Streptophylla

Shirley Temple is the nickname of this plant; it is obvious that the leaves all curled up look like her hairstyle. We are talking about Shirley temple from films, not the one you get in a bar(cocktail).

Did you know that these plants are xeric plants? Meaning they need water in the tiniest proportion for growing, so if you are one of those people who often miss watering their plants, then this one is for you.

As mentioned above, this is a xeric plant, which also means they are used to dry and hot climates. Tillandsia Streptophylla is native to the lands of the west indies, Mexico, and Central America, the climate there is usually dry.

Another rare thing about it is that these plants are smaller in size, and the big ones are like finding a pin in the haystack. So, if you ever manage to get your hands on a big one, it is worth boasting about.

4. Tillandsia Ionantha ‘Fuego’

Tillandsia Ionantha ‘Fuego’

These plants grow up to be just 1-2 inches in size, tiny but are rare. At the blooming stage, these plants change their color into bright red, which looks exotic, and in Spanish ‘Fuego’ means fire! Most plants lose their colors after blooming, but Fuego remains in the exact color for a couple of months. Their tiny size makes them perfect for terrarium ideas.

5. Tillandsia Funckiana V. Recurvifolia

Tillandsia Funckiana V. Recurvifolia

Air plants come in all shapes, colors and sometimes weird yet beautiful forms too, take the example of Tillandsia Funckiana’s variety. If you take a better look at leaves, you can figure out that they are different from others and may seem like pine branches or thin and long greyish white color thorns. These leaves are said to be grown even in the backward direction, they recurve, that is how it got the name “Recurvifolia”, finally a name we can relate to.

This plant is tough, it withstands on its own, so little supervision is needed. They require indirect and bright sunlight and are suitable mostly for warmer temperatures. Tillandsia Funckiana travels all the way from Venezuela, South America. A great plant for indoor space to add a bit of nature inside your house, they would look great in office spaces too.

6. Stricta


Consider this one for your air plant collection, which is native to the lands of Trinidad, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, and northern Argentina. They grow in a variety of climates, so it will not be a problem for you to grow.

Their leaves are silver, green mostly and produce beautiful pink and purple flower pups. They require a place where fresh air is in abundance, so make sure you place it somewhere well ventilated, near a window or balcony would be ideal.

7. Tillandsia Tectorum

Tillandsia Tectorum

This is one of my favorite air plants, they are literally like a snowball or a plant that is covered in white snow. The white things you see on the leaves are neither snow nor mold, they are called trichomes.

Only a few plants have trichomes on them and they are not there just to make the plant look pretty, they have an important responsibility of assisting the plant leaves absorb nutrients out from the water and air.

The trichomes make this of its kind plant and quite rare too. They belong to Peru’s coastal deserts and mountains of the Andes in Ecuador. They are somewhat like succulents, and as they belong to the dry climate zone, and they absorb water from the air for thriving. The task of absorbing and storing water is done by trichomes as they are in great numbers.

8. Brachycaulos


Tillandsia Brachycaulos can be the star plant of your air plant collection, its beauty is worth staring at. It is native to Mexico, Central America, and Venezuela. You should water them once a week and put them where there is sharp indirect light. They are of brilliant green colors, at the time of the blooming stage, you can see them turning into red and bright purple color which looks alluring.

9. Xerographica


Tillandsia Xerographica also grows impressively large, is native to Mexico & Central America, and requires bright indirect sunlight or mild sunlight. Leaves are shaped like ribbons of smooth Gray-green color that are curling beautifully and are wide, unusual for any air plant. New leaves that are very thin sprout from the middle of the rosette. It is a picture-perfect air plant for your next Instagram story.

10. Tillandsia Ionantha ‘Druid’

Tillandsia Ionantha ‘Druid’

Ending the list with this cute, rare, and attention-grabbing plant. It is truly impressive because of the different colors it turns into. Most of the time leaves of Druid are of green color, the leaves grow in clumps and look beautiful.

The leaves absorb a lot of sunshine, at the blooming time they turn into a mesmerizing orangish pink color.

The flowers of this plant are small and white. A cultivar type of this plant would be more interesting, they can grow dark purplish colors of flowers instead of white and the leaves can also bloom in different colors.

Their origin is from Mexico, south & central America, and requires bright sunlight which is not direct for growth. Sounds like something you would like.

Asher Pollan
Asher Pollan, with a Master’s in Botany from the University of Chicago, has been a plant enthusiast and educator for 16 years at a university. He joined our editorial team as a freelancer, sharing his knowledge of plant physiology, indoor gardening, and botanical science. His background includes roles in public gardens, as a horticultural therapist, and researcher, and taught the skills of everyday gardening to people in weekend workshops. He enjoys botanical illustration and participates in plant conservation initiatives.

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