Gardening Pots

Make Your Plants Levitate!

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Levitating air plant (Tillandsia spp.). Illustration courtesy of LYFE

I saw something remarkable at the TPIE exhibition in Florida on Wednesday: two different plants that floated on air. Yes, the pot literally levitated! It was suspended in the air about ¾ inch (2 cm) (my estimation) above a wooden base. Moreover the pot and the plant were constantly turning. What that cool or what?

How Does It Work?

No, there is no magic involved.

The geodesic pot (designed to better show off the pot’s movement, as it creates constantly shifting shadows) contains strategically-placed magnets while the oak-plated base, plugged into a standard electric current, is electromagnetic and pushes the pot away and therefore up, allowing it to levitate. Add a small plant — in the image above, a tillandsia was used, but any small plant (cactus, succulent, foliage plant, etc.) would work — and there you go: a plant that levitates.

Caring for a Levitating Plant

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Tillandsia juncea (left) and T. caput-medusas (right). Illustration courtesy of LYFE

You’d have to care for the levitating plant just like any houseplant: a spot with good light and humidity and average indoor temperatures would suit most plants you might think of trying.

As for watering, you’d have to be careful: the pot has no drainage holes. The manufacturer insists it contains a hidden reservoir… but that isn’t always helpful: a reservoir in a pot with no drainage doesn’t remove the risk of overwatering and the rot that could ensue. Just make sure you wait until the soil is dry to the touch… and then only add a few spoonfuls of water at a time, at least until you get to understand your plant’s needs.

If you grow a tillandsia, also called an air plant (Tillandsia) in the pot, as shown above, you could probably keep it happy just by spraying it with water, solving the watering dilemma.

Other Advantages

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Rotating parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) seedlings. Illustration courtesy of LYFE

The manufacturer’s website, LYFE, also suggests that the magnetism will stimulate the plant’s growth and that movement will also benefit it.

The first statement is doubtful (they give as an example that “magnetic fields accelerate the ripening of certain fruits”, but I fail to see how that applies here), but it is certain that when a plant receives light from all sides, as it will if it rotates, that should stimulate good symmetry. Also, the tillandsias used by the manufacturer need greater air circulation than most plants and the pot’s movement ought to help ensure that.

Where to Buy a Levitating Pot?

I don’t believe this product is currently available in stores, although that will likely come over time, but you can get one straight from the Swedish manufacturer, LYFE, for the modest sum of… $229 US or €199.

Whoa! At that price, I think I can wait for the cost to drop a bit, but if you’re out to impress your friends with something totally new — or are an amateur magician — you might want to jump on the opportunity.20170124alyfe_rotation20170124alyfe_rotation

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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