Know the difference between the air plants mesicas and the xéricas

Posted on2 Years ago

Let's talk about the origin and difference between medical and xeric air plants to better understand the care they need.

The air plants are wonderful and surprising plants that live without the need for land. This quality gives them a very different look to the decorative plants that are usually seen in decoration magazines or in the homes of family and friends, although they are increasingly frequent because their appearance is so original that it conquers easily.

Plantas de aire mesicas y xericas

The air plants or tillandsias belong to a very, very extensive family, reaching a figure of more than 600 varieties. It is a decorative plant native to Central America that has spread to the southern part of North America and also throughout South America. The climatic differences of all this vast extension that inhabits is what has generated the classification between air plants, xeric and water.

The origin of the classification of air plants 

The naturalist and botanist Carlos Linnaeus, who gave his name to the tillandsias, was also the creator of the classification of living beings or taxonomy and also one of the fathers of ecology. He established for the tillandsias a classification based on the humidity conditions in which the different varieties live and develop and that gave rise to the water, mechanical and xeric air plants.

xeric air plants

The adjective xeric or xer ophite is widely used in botany. They are adjectives and nouns that refer to the vegetation that is adapted to develop its life in very dry places such as steppes or deserts. They are plants to which the scarcity of water in the area they inhabit does not pose a problem of subsistence. Xeric air plants therefore are those that need very little water to live and to which an excess of water harms them enormously.

Among all varieties of tillandsias, xeric air plants , have more leaves and are also usually thicker leaves to store more water. Trichomes, those white hairs that can be seen in many of the tillandsias or air plants, are abundant and very necessary because they fulfill a double function. On the one hand they protect it against solar radiation that is very high in this type of place and, on the other hand, they help it to collect the food with which to nourish itself because they are intended to trap dust and moisture from the air that surrounds the plant.


Plantas de aire xéricas

These plants are super hardy!

That is why these decorative plants are the most suitable for beginners or for those people who want to have natural plants that do not require too much care.

An example of this type of plant is our YUKI air plant or CAM air plant or XER air plant.

air plants

The air plants are those that live in environments with a higher degree of humidity. If you live in a place where there is enough humidity it is likely that this air plant will last you infinite without having to do almost anything. In nature they are usually found in mountains or areas with frequent fogs. Imagine a Latin American jungle in which suddenly the sky discharges a lot of rain and after an hour it clears again and the environment remains humid. That's the perfect environment for medical air plants. It is important to remember that despite being very humid there is also ventilation.

In addition, these plants have fewer trichomes and therefore a less "velvety" appearance than xeric air plants. Their color is an intense green and they appreciate a current of air that dries them completely after receiving a large amount of water. Not drying it properly is what causes its center to begin to turn dark, soft touch and end up rotting.

Plantas de aire mesicas en Boreen

A clear example the most mystical varieties of the tillandsias are plants such as the BLUB air plant or the TRI air plant.

Of course, in a family as large as that of the tillandsias, there are varieties such as YUKI, a 100% xeric plant or the TRI, absolutely mesica, which represent the extremes of a very wide cataloging. If you want to know all the varieties of air plants that we have in BOREEN, you have them here.

Water air plants

They are those air plants that are in areas of high humidity and therefore need a large amount of water in their environment. It is not very common to find them here, since in nature they live near the water or directly grow in the water so they do not acclimatize to the Spanish European climate. They can be seen frequently in places like Hawaii or in the Amazon delta where there is a great rainfall.  

Plantas de aire xericas en Boreen

Which air plant is best for you?

It actually depends on several factors when making that decision. You must assess issues such as the location in which you are going to place it. It will not need the same care if you place it indoors as if you decide to put it in an outdoor space. Another consideration is the specific climate of the place where you live, and if it rains frequently and therefore it is an environment with a lot of humidity.

What is clear is that understanding the difference between air plants and xeric ones serves to have more clarity what needs our plant will have..

We hope we have solved your doubt in this regard, since it is common to find these definitions of mechanical or xeric plants, but not the explanation of this name and its importance in helping us decide which is the most appropriate plant.

If you want to know more about air plants, their characteristics and peculiarities, check our blog where you will find a lot of information or our care page with all the necessary information to keep them healthy and happy.

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