Air plant can be easily grown at home. Its properties make it actually far more valuable than aloe.
Air plant (also known as cathedral bells or life plant) is one of the most useful plants in terms of its healing properties. No wonder that by many it is more appreciated than aloe. Moreover, it grows and propagates very fast.
Air plant (belonging to the stonecrop family) is a succulent plant native to Madagascar. Away from its natural habitat it is common as a houseplant.
How can we tell air plant from Kalanchoe Pinnata
The air plant was a name originally associated with Kalanchoe Daigremontiana.
This one has got one stiff stem with juicy leaves arranged alternately.
Its dark-green leaves are triangular, with one tip very spiky.
Their edges are serrated and have a thin reddish edge. At their end there are miniature plantlets, as many as 25 on each leaf.
When the plant grows over 12 inches, it needs some support. It can grow up to three feet.
Its leaves are more delicate, consisting of 3-5 smaller ones. They are brighter and the edges are not that sharp. The stem section is rectangular with the plantlets having a long stem, something the other variety does not have.
Air plant is a succulent. It can tolerate long dry periods. Excluding the winter, one watering per week is just fine. In the winter once a month will do.
There should be no water on the plant saucer as this might make the roots rot.
in the winter the plant can be kept on a window sill. In the summer it prefers spots with dispersed sunlight. Direct exposure to sun might cause the plant to fade.
In the summer you can put the plant on the balcony or terrace.
The best temperature range for the plant is 16 – 24 degrees C.
The plant does not look very attractive when it is too tall. You can have some young ones using the plantlets.
Each leaf has got some young plant – plantlets. They have four leaves and roots. When they are ready, they fall off. Thanks to the water content, the plantlings can survive even a week or two without any nutrition. Each leaf can have as many as 25 plantlets.
If you grow air plant for medical purposes, you have to give up on mineral fertilization.
Just like many other species, air plant has to be repotted in the spring. Never forget about the drainage level on the bottom of the pot.
The plant prefers typical cactus soils. They are available at all gardening stores.
You can also mix standard soil with turf and perlite in 1:1:1 ratio. There must be a drainage level on the bottom of the pot to prevent accumulation of water.
When air plant blooms, it becomes an ordinary houseplant. It loses its healing properties as the flowers and seeds weaken the plant.
Air plant – healing properties
The plant has got a variety of medical applications in skin treatment. Kalanchoe Pinnata is really appreciated in herbal medicine. Its properties have been described by numerous scholars and scientists.
Fighting viruses, fungus and bacteria.
It contains a lot of minerals and is rich in vitamin C. Its pulp and juice are used for medical purposes, mainly to treat skin problems.
Kalanchoe Pinnata is also an ingredient of drops and tinctures. The best specimens are about a year old. This is when the skin-healing properties are most effective.
Kalanchoe Daigremontiana can only be used externally.