hundreds of tillandsia ionantha air plants

Small Air Plants: Our Top Picks for Mini Displays

by Jamie Beck

Searching for the perfect air plant to fit in your mini planter or terrarium? With the vast variety of sizes and species available, choosing a plant that is the right fit can be overwhelming. Here at Air Plant Shop, we have created a list of our favorite little Tillandsias that will stay small throughout their lifetime and are ideal for your mini displays. 

When referring to small air plants, the Ionantha is often the first species that come to mind. The first part of our list consists of different types of Ionantha variants. These tillys grow up to 3 inches tall and will boast different features due to elevation, climate, and conditions in their various native regions which include Mexico, South, and Central America.

Tillandsia Ionantha Guatemala

tilllandsia ionantha guatemala air plant

Our first featured Ionantha air plant is the Ionantha Guatemala. Reaching up to 3 inches tall, the plant has rigid pointed leaves with visible trichomes. When in bloom, the Guatemalan plant has vibrant red and orange blushing colors. These Ionantha are a great fit for hanging Beach or River Stone Terrariums. 

Tillandsia Ionantha Rubra

tillandsia ionantha rubra air plant

The lovely Ionantha Rubra is the prettiest of the bunch with symmetrical rosettes and curving, fountain-shaped leaves. The 1 to 2-inch plant has a light pink blushing color and purple, crocus-like flowers. The Rubra pairs nicely with preserved Reindeer Moss in a Gray Ceramic Stone display. 

Tillandsia Ionantha Mexican

tillandsia ionantha mexican air plants

Ionantha Mexican air plants are small and hardy and the go-to plant if you are looking to grow Ionantha clusters as they are prolific pup producers. Admire the vivid red and orange blooms from your kitchen or desk when the 1 to 2-inch plants are displayed in our cute Magnetic Seashell Planters

Tillandsia Ionantha Scaposa

tillandsia ionantha scaposa air plant

The Ionantha Scaposa air plants are taller than they are wide. Growing up to 3 inches in height, the long, crescent-shaped mint green leaves will flaunt beautiful pink and red blushing colors when in bloom. Multiple purple blooms are often seen on the Scaposa! Their narrow ship makes them the perfect fit for Magnetic Wine Cork Planters

Tillandsia Ionantha Fuego

blushing and blooming tillandsia ionantha fuego air plant

Quick Spanish lesson: Fuego means fire in Spanish! It’s no wonder why these tiny tillys received their name as they boast fiery red and yellow blushing colors when in bloom. Prebloom, the Ionantha Fuego have bright green, waxy leaves. We love these plants in our Teardrop Terrariums with Black Stones.

Tillandsia Argentea Thin

tillandsia argentea thin air plant

The Argentea Thin air plants have a unique shape with their round base and wispy, thin leaves of a silvery, mint green color. Their long, slender bloom spike shows off red and purple flowers when in bloom. These little 2 to 3-inch guys are adorable in small Cholla Wood displays. 

Tillandsia Funckiana

tillandsia funckiana air plant

Funckiana air plants are a caulescent species that have spiky leaves growing from a 3 to 5-inch long and curvy woody base. Beautiful bright red buds and flowers bloom from these funky plants. Attach them to a rustic Cork Bark display for natural décor indoors or on a covered patio. 

Tillandsia Tenuifolia

tillandsia tenuifolia air plant

The bushy Tenuifolia have bronze to beige-green stiff leaves that turn a deep violet color when blushing. The plants produce impressive neon pink blooms. Hang one up in your favorite space in a Hanging Metal Pendant

Tillandsia Filifolia

blooming tillandsia filifolia air plant

The Filifolia have a body type similar to the Argentea Thin but with a darker base and 2 to 4-inch long, thin, forest green leaves. The plants also produce tall, stemmed bloom spikes with purple flowers. Create a visual masterpiece when you add one to a DIY Glass Pentagon Terrarium

Tillandsia Butzii 

tillandsia butzii air plant

Butzii air plants are like no other! Varying from 2-10 inches tall, the plants have long, narrow, tentacle-like spotted leaves. Impressive bright pink to red bloom stalks will emerge with small purple flowers. Hang the Butzii plants upside down in a Sea Urchin to resemble a floating jellyfish!

Tillandsia Tectorum Ecuador

tillandsia tectorum ecuador air plant

The Tectorum air plants are a rare and premium species. The small Tillandsia are about 1 to 3-inches tall and wide and have bright white, fuzzy leaves with an abundance of visible trichomes. Deriving from an arid climate, these plants are to be watered sparingly. We provide everything you need to know about the Tectorum, including care tips, in our Air Plant Spotlight: Tillandsia Tectorum blog. Add a 3 Pack of these fuzzy favorites to a DIY Glass Diamond Terrarium for an earthy and elegant hanging display.

Tillandsia Bulbosa Guatemala

tillandsia bulbosa guatemala air plant

We have one more must-see small Tillandsia on our list, the Bulbosa Guatemala! This air plant has waxy and wavy bright green leaves that grow from a bulbous base. The smooth and shiny plant will turn deep purple or bright red when starting to bloom and show off purple flowers. Let the other-worldly “arms” reach out of a fun hanging double-hook terrarium

To explore more small plants, check out our Small Air Plants Collection. Need more inspiration for creating air plant displays? Our 5 Ways to Design With Air Plants blog discusses different ways to show off your tillys. 

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