a peek inside the fishbowl

30 Nov, 2017

Gifts for people who have everything, part 3: an air plant

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno|Oh! Things!

I’m continuing my exploration of gift ideas here on the blog because I think that everyone needs a little bit of help in the gift-giving department. If you’d like to read part one and two, this link will display the list so far.

I believe it’s time to reconsider the idea of Houseplant As Christmas Gift. Plants aren’t exactly the kind of item that is traditionally given as a gift, unless it’s for a housewarming party. Is it because houseplants can be impractical? Or is it because they generally aren’t considered very hip or cool? Violets aren’t exactly cool, nor are spider plants, for example (although I have both). BUT, I recently purchased a very cool-lookin’ plant for myself and it got me thinking that it could make a nice gift for someone who could use a bit of greenery in their lives.


Air plants!

It’s an air plant! I love the look of it. It’s spiky, but not in a prickly cactus kind of way. The spikes make a different kind of statement: They say, I ain’t no shrinking violet. I’m a tough sonofabee.

It’s hard to tell by the photo above (I’m a bit too zoomed in there), but the glass container is a teardrop shape that fits in the palm of my hand. It sits flat (which is great for me and my shelf) but it can also be hung by a loop in the glass. I can totally picture it suspended on a curtain rod over the kitchen sink or in a bathroom window. And guess what, air plants don’t need soil! This eliminates a whole host of problems: over watering, spilled dirt etc.

Here’s where I confess that I’m not exactly a green thumb as it pertains to living plants of any kind. I have killed one of these air plants before, chiefly because I didn’t know how to care for it. Now that I have discussed air plant care with someone who knows what they’re talking about, I feel fully qualified to be the owner of an air plant and recommend them to others.

My other air plant died because it wasn’t getting enough water. It IS called an air plant, and you’d be forgiven if you assumed that it will get all the moisture it needs from its immediate environment (in other words, from the air). Well, friends, that’s not the case. It’s too dry here, so air plants need human help. Spray misting is insufficient! (This was my mistake.) Watering is an easy task: Just take the plant out of its container and soak it in water for about 15-20 minutes, once a week. I’m doing it on the same day I water my orchids so I won’t forget.

I purchased this one for $15 at a holiday pop-up show and sale last weekend. The expert who helped me out and gave me the confidence I needed is from a shop in Russell called Beyond the House. I just took a look at their website and I may have to motor out there at some point. In the meantime, I’ve seen air plants at all kinds of flower shops; most recently, at Tivoli right here in Westboro. Buy them in a pretty terrarium or improvise with something you already have lying around the house. I really like these elegant wire air plant hangers. There are a ton of air plant-related ideas on Pinterest, but if you click you will be sent down the rabbit hole, so consider yourself warned. You can read more about caring for air plants on the HGTV website.

Generally, I wouldn’t advocate for the kinds of gifts that need extra care, but these are so easy! Surely we can make an exception?

6 Responses to "Gifts for people who have everything, part 3: an air plant"

1 | KristaR

November 30th, 2017 at 2:49 pm


what?! Huh?! I Love this – and had no idea it was a thing until just this moment. Thanks for the great idea!

2 | Anne Rodrigues

November 30th, 2017 at 3:24 pm


I’ve never heard of an air plant until now. Great idea for a Christmas gift – we do the White Elephant gift giving for Christmas so this would make a great gift idea. Thanks for the tips on how to care for them.

3 | andrea tomkins

November 30th, 2017 at 3:39 pm


They’ve been around for awhile but seem to really be gaining traction this year! I got stuck in that Pinterest vortex. Now I’m thinking it’d be neat to have a series of them hanging on a wall in a bright room… hmmm.

4 | Claudette

November 30th, 2017 at 4:41 pm


My mom has great success with air plants…this is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

I wonder, do air plants help purify the air in the way some other house plants do? I’ll put this on my ‘things to google’ to do list. :)

5 | andrea tomkins

December 1st, 2017 at 9:41 am


I have read that they purify the air, but I’m not sold on the fact that it might do a better job than other plants.

6 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Gifts for people who have everything part 4: DINNER. - a peek inside the fishbowl

December 5th, 2017 at 3:25 pm


[…] written about mittens, giftie things that make the world a better place from Me to We, and air plants. Today, I am putting forth an idea that I KNOW everyone would like but wouldn’t immediately […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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