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I'm wanting to put together air plant (Tillandsia) terrariums and hanging decor for gifts. I'll be making 8-9, and want each one to look different. I read on a Google search you can use silicone glue/sealant to glue them onto wood and rocks. Is there a type of wood that works best?

Any suggestions on glues? And will the silicone based kind damage or harm the plants in any way? If so, is there a safe plant based option, or DIY kind you can make?

I also see decorative and colored sands and dried moss used quite often. Will either option be safe to use? Or is it only sustainable for a short period of time (meant for temporary decor)? What's the best way to go about making them in a manner that whomever I give them to has the least amount of care possible; Not having to transplant, weeks or months later, but still appear decorative and colorful?

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    I have made only succulent based terrariums, so I don't know about Tillandsia or other air-plants terrariums, but I do know that on some labels of decorative rocks it says that the colour washes off when in contact with water. – Alina Oct 12 '17 at 12:33
  • Ah ha, that is a GREAT point to add, and very important to know. Note taken @Alina , thanks – Christy B. Oct 12 '17 at 13:11
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Your question is a little confusing but I think I can clear up some of your concerns. Air plants are epiphytes, which means that their roots do not need soil or a substrate to grow. In fact, their roots are typically pruned off when people sell them for ornamental purposes because they can acquire all their moisture and nutrient needs through their leaves. Epiphytes are mostly from tropical and subtropical climates where they will grown on trees or even man made things like power lines. They take in water from the air, dew, fog, rain etc. and thrive where it is moist. They are very interesting and unique!

You can use any wood to mount them to safely and I am sure silicone glue or even super glue (cyanoacrylate) will be safe. However, part of taking care of air plants is a routine misting with water and ideally soaking them in water every week or two (depending on temperature, light exposure, humidity, variety etc), you'll want to consider how easy that will be to do if they are mounted to a permanent piece of wood or something. I would suggest using copper wire, seashell or something decorative that the air plant can sit in without being glued to for convenience sake.

Also something to consider is that if air plants don't dry out quickly, they are susceptible to rot. They can hold a lot of water in their cup shaped leaves, some more than others. For that reason you may not want to do a terrarium or use anything that will trap moisture like moss.

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  • And water should be rain water, or at least dechlorinated tap water. – Graham Chiu Oct 12 '17 at 19:27

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