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Reviewed by Kevin Tipple
In a way air plants are the cats of the plant kingdom. They require little maintenance to thrive and will work almost anywhere. In Living With Air Plants: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing and Displaying Tillandsia by Yoshiharu Kashima and Yukihiro Matsuda, readers are taken step by step through the world of air plants.
Because no dirt is involved, you don’t have to worry about dirt or special soils. As long as you have air, you are good. If you don’t have air, you have bigger problems and this book absolutely will not help you at all. Instead of using soil, air plants take in water and nutrients by absorption through the leaves and are often hardy in dry conditions.
The very colorful and informative book is broken into three parts. “Part 1: Cultivating Air Plants” is where readers learn that air plants are separated into two categories- silver and green leaf color. The silver ones are slow growers and are more resistant to dry conditions. They are also less suited for terrariums because they tend to grow mold. On the other hand, the green ones don’t do well in direct sunlight and usually like steamy conditions so terrariums work well for the. While air plants can be easy to deal with, it is important to getting the right ones for the right situation. Advice on location, sunlight, ventilation, watering, and other cultivation tips dominate this section.
Now that you have your plants and things are going well, you may have decided you wish to show them off a bit. That is where “Part 2: The Fun of Displaying Your Air Plants” comes into play. Starting on Page 27, various ways of showing off your air plants are offered and they are not just limited to standard pots on a shelf or a table setting. Using on old display rack, a hanging mobile, as a sort of wild chime, and other suggestions are offered as are terrarium options, a doorway bouquet, bird cages, and more.
With more than 110 types of air plants depicted in the book, “Part 3: Air Plant Reference Guide” is rather important. This part begins on page 54 and leads off with an explanation of their guide to plants. That is immediately followed by the 48 plants that make up their “Easy-to-grow Varieties Recommended for Beginners.” Each plant has a picture, an idea of their size when in bloom, how much sunlight is needed, and a short text about the plant that is chock full of information. These pages, starting on page 55, are color coded a light green color making them easy to find when flipping through the book.
They are followed by the light blue color coded pages. These signify the plants that are “Specialty Varieties.” Hard to find plants that can be difficult to grow. They outnumber the easier ones as there are seventy varieties in this section.
A two page index of the Latin name of each plant brings the book to a close.
Living With Air Plants: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing and Displaying Tillandsia is exactly as marketed. Filled with large color pictures and plenty of informative text, this is a book aimed primarily at folks new to gardening with air plants. This good book primarily serves as a resource for people new to this type of gardening but also has plenty of tips and information for seasoned air plants gardeners as well.
Living With Air Plants: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing and Displaying Tillandsia
Yoshiharu Kashima and Yukihiro Matsuda
Hardback (also available in eBook form)
Material supplied by Twyla Marr, Publicist, Tuttle Publishing with no expectation of a review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2019