Whether you're a UBC student moving into residence or a new apartment, looking for an interesting gift for the holidays, or just wondering what the items seen above are, I assure you getting one is a fun idea. Most of us look for at least one item to dress up our room, and while yes, we love the poster sales, many of us get a plant. Turns out, a novel new option is becoming much more available as people discover the merits of air plants.
Air plants? Essentially, for the care of one, you put it in a glass container/shell/holder in an indirectly lit but bright area (ideally). Then you just have to remember to soak it with water for 20 mins once every 3 weeks (a quick rinse if they're flowering), and spritzed with water once a week. They only use their roots to attach to surfaces in their natural habitat - no soil necessary.
So how do they work? Air plants, primarily species of drought-resistant epiphytes, conserve water through the use of CAM (Crassulacean acid metabolism) in which they open their stomata during evening/night hours to uptake carbon dioxide and store it in malic acid to aid photosynthesis. This decreases unnecessary water loss through the stomata, and allows them to survive without a regular supply of water (Benzing 85-86); this helps to explain why air plants do not need to be watered often. Air plants need nutrients too, and they absorb them through structures of cells, hair-like projections, called trichomes. These trichomes also aid in the absorption of amino acids, and higher concentrations of amino acids within the trichomes, against concentration gradients in solution, and hint at an active transport mechanism (Nyman et al. 684). Finally, nutrient acquisition is not limited to acquiring nitrogen in the form of proteins through trichomes - Zotz and Asshoff also indicate that phosphorus may be the most important limiting macronutrient for epiphytic growth (121). While many other processes occur within air plants (often epiphytes), this is a brief look into how air plants function.
Where can you buy one? They can be purchased at numerous locations as well as ordered online - however, I recommend Art Knapp Urban Garden at 1401 Hornby Street, or the Southlands Nursery at 6550 Balaclava Street.
RECOMMENDED READS: CATEGORIES "MENTOR SPOTLIGHTS" AND "ALUMNUS INTERVIEWS"
About Me: My major is Integrated Sciences; I'm integrating physiology and psychology, and completing a minor in kinesiology. The movie 'The Imitation Game' blew my mind, and every piece done by the artist Alex Cherry is spectacular. Also, if you look up the definition of a bookworm, you'll find me.
Integrating Physiology and Neuroscience!
I like hanging out at Tower Beach but you can usually find me studying at Ponderosa even though I don't live there.