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October 13, 2021

Air plants Tips & Tricks

Photo by Marina Leonova on Pexels.

Air plants also known as Tillandsia plants have become popular over the past couple years and everybody’s asking “What are they?” And “How do you keep them alive?”

This month I’m going to share with you what has worked best for me. I found out about air plants 3 years ago when I first started my small business. Air plants have been a staple in my shop ever since.

There are at least 444 different types of air plants and countless hybrid varieties. Did you know all air plants can bloom and they also produce babies! I really love these plants. Air plants can be easy to take care of but they can also be finicky if not properly cared for. The most common cause of death is either dehydration or root rot. Where you live is going to determine how you take care of your air plants.

Air plants need sun, water, and air to survive. They thrive best in humid and warm environments. This is why you can find wild air plants growing in trees in certain parts of Florida! The dryer the environment the more frequently you will need to water and the colder it is the less water they will need.

First things first, don’t plant your air plants into soil. You’d be surprised how often I see this! Air plants get their name from being able to survive in the air. They don’t need soil but they do need water. Air plants like weekly water baths or the occasional misting. I personally submerge my air plants in a rain water bath once a week. I use rainwater specifically because of all the natural minerals present. City water can be harsh on plants and make them dehydrated and eventually die. If you don’t have any rain water collected you can also use spring or well water. They also work great! If tap water is your only option than fill a bowl full of water and let it sit out for 24-48 hours. This will allow chemicals like chlorine to evaporate.

I water my air plants according to how they look. If the tips are brown or leaves starting to curl inwards this means they are thirsty and I will soak them for an hour. Most air plants have what looks like a white residue growing over the plant. These are called trichomes and they mean your air plants are healthy. Trichomes are the little hairs that allow your air plant to absorb nutrients and water from the air. When water from rain, fog, mist, etc. comes in contact with these hollow trichomes, they swell up and absorb the water. If your air plant appears to be living its best life, I will soak for 15-30 minutes.

My biggest suggestion for beginner air plant owners is to let your plant dry upside down. Also, shaking any excess water off and emptying any air pockets will help ensure your plants don’t get root rot. They need good air circulation and to be able to dry within two hours of a watering.

Wherever you place your air plant you want to make sure there is sun to help your plant grow! They love window sills and they love morning sun. Too much sun during the heat of the day can dry your air plant out. Once you find your perfect spot and get a watering schedule down, these little plants will brighten up any area. I use “Water me Wednesday” or “Thirsty Thursdays” as my reminder!

Think “rainforest environment” when taking care of your air plant. Occasional misting throughout the week is okay. If you notice your plant start to turn pink or purple this is a good indication that it’s getting ready to bloom! Contrary to popular belief not all air plants die after blooming. It depends on the variety. Some air plants will bloom and then start to produce babies!

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