What are air plants ?
Air plants, also known as tillandsia, are epiphytic plants that grow by absorbing moisture and nutrients from the air. With their minimal root systems and low maintenance needs, air plants have become increasingly popular houseplants. Caring for them properly allows these exotic beauties to thrive indoors. If you’re new to air plants or want to improve your care routine, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a complete guide on how to care for your air plants.
Providing the Right Growing Conditions
Air plants prefer warm, humid environments with plenty of air circulation. Recreate tropical conditions at home for your air plants to stay healthy.
Bright, filtered light is ideal. An east, west or lightly shaded south window works well. Avoid direct hot sun which can burn the leaves.
Aim for daytime temperatures of 70-80°F and 60-70°F at night. Keep away from hot and cold drafts.
High humidity of 50-70% should be maintained. Group plants together or place them on a pebble tray to boost moisture levels. Mist frequently. If you live in a dry climate or during the winter months when indoor humidity drops, it’s beneficial to increase the humidity around your air plants.
Good air flow prevents fungal diseases. Use a small fan to circulate air around the plants. Rotate plants periodically for even exposure.
Watering Your Air Plant Correctly
Watering properly is key to keeping air plants alive. Their roots absorb moisture from leaves, not soil.
How to Water
Submerge air plants in water or soak by misting thoroughly. Let excess water drip off before returning to display. To water your air plants, mist them thoroughly using a spray bottle or dunk them in a bowl of water for a few minutes.
Water 2-3 times per week in hotter months, 1-2 times in colder months. Leaves will curl and take on a silvery tone when thirsty.
Type of Water
Use room temperature filtered or rain water. Tap water with minerals can burn the leaves over time.
Feeding Air Plants
While air plants get most nutrients from air and water, supplemental feeding maintains health.
Use a bromeliad fertilizer high in nitrogen or weak solution of balanced houseplant fertilizer.
Fertilize monthly in spring and summer during active growth periods. No feeding is needed in fall and winter.
Mix fertilizer solution at 1/4 strength and spray onto plant. Also soak in fertilizer bath every 3-4 months.
Mounting and Displaying Air Plants
Air plants grow as epiphytes attached to trees, rocks and debris in nature. Recreate this look at home.
Attach plants to pieces of driftwood, bark, rocks, tiles, hanging baskets, wreaths and wall hangings. Use fishing line, floral wire, string, glue or moss.
Hang or place mounted plants in bright, humid spots. Take down occasionally and soak the plants before remounting. Rotate for even light exposure.
Avoid using metal and wires that can rust and retain too much moisture against plants. Check for rotting.
Common Air Plant Problems
Discoloration : Indicates too much sun. Move to shadier spot.
Leaves Curling Inward : Signals dehydration. Mist and soak plants more frequently.
Rotting : Caused by overwatering or insufficient air circulation. Cut away rot and improve conditions.
No New Growth : Can be due to inadequate lighting or fertilizing. Increase light exposure and feeding.
With proper care by optimizing their environment, watering, feeding, and display, air plants will continue to thrive and add unique beauty to your indoor spaces or glass terrariums. Their sculptural forms and minimalist features make them fascinating houseplants to grow.