air plant overwatering
It’s bad news when you overwater air plants. It is the main cause of death for them. Therefore, it is essential to act quickly to stop any potential lasting harm from happening if you see that their bases begin to become dark and the leaves begin to fall out from the middle or if they have mushy roots and yellowing leaves. And here’s how you can prevent overwatering from killing your withering air plant:
- To prevent it from spreading, get rid of any decaying or diseased components.
- Your air plant should be dried as soon as possible. Using a fan is recommended.
- Make sure to place your air plants on a dry surface, like dry rocks. Make sure the terrarium is dry and has a big entrance for the most airflow possible if they are on show there.
While it is feasible to revive a dying air plant, it is preferable to learn how to avoid such issues in the first place. And this is how:
- Never submerge an air plant in water for an extended period of time. Keep in mind that some air plants should not be submerged in water, especially if you live in a humid environment.
- After you’ve watered your air plant, be careful to shake out any extra water or turn it upside down so that it can dry entirely in around 4 hours. This should prevent the extra water from accumulating on your air plant and allow it to flow down instead.
- Avoid letting your air plant rest on a wet surface; rather, wait until it is entirely dry before putting it back on display.
The bases of some air plants, such as melanocrater tricolor, will be naturally darker. Due to the naturally brown leaves of such plants, you might not notice any rot for a long time, therefore you should err on the side of less water rather than more. Additionally, some leaf dropping is common in healthy air plants, so you should be aware of other symptoms as well.
How can I tell if I’ve overwatered my air plant?
More air plants perish from overwatering than from underwatering. The telltale indicator is when the bottom of your air plant appears brown and slimy. Instead of submerging or soaking your air plants, try misting them with a spray bottle. In between waterings, make sure your air plant has completely dried out. Only mist your air plants 1-3 times each week. Less can be more. It’s crucial to dry your air plant within four hours because they can become overwatered if they don’t. Get a fan for your air plant if it doesn’t dry after four hours of watering, and water it less the following time.
2. Insufficient air causes air plants to lack nutrients. It results in “dry rot.” There won’t be enough food if there isn’t enough air movement around air plants. Keep in mind that air plants consume nourishment. Terrariums and small, quiet locations like toilets shouldn’t be used to house air plants because there isn’t enough airflow in these areas. Instead, pick a place with lots of natural light and fresh air, such as close to an open window, in a large room with other rooms adjacent to it, in a courtyard or on a veranda. Lack of air flow can also lead to overwatering because it delays the air plants’ ability to fully dry up. The problem with air plant holders is dry rot. Your air plant may develop dry rot on the area of the plant that has poor air flow from the planter if the base is placed in a planter, such as a pot, hanger, or pouch, that has no ventilation. Before you notice the rot, it will have spread and your air plant will be dead.
3. Lack of Light – To produce their own nourishment, air plants require light. If your air plants are indoors, make sure they are one meter or less from a window. They’ll definitely perish from lack of sunshine if you put them in a dark hallway.
4. Too much direct sunlight will burn your plant or severely dry the foliage. Generally speaking, 45 minutes of moderate early morning or late afternoon direct sunshine is acceptable. However, it is advised to use filtered sunlight or total shade.
5. Frost – Because they are sensitive to the cold, air plants. They dislike temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. If you live in a chilly climate, you might want to think about bringing your air plants inside during the winter.
6. Humidity – some types of air plants like it when the humidity is high. If the leaves of your air plant are too curled, the air may be too dry for the plant. Spraying or soaking air plants in water just isn’t enough moisture if the air is too dry. Consider soaking your air plant for 30 minutes each week in addition to your regular spraying if you believe it died from low humidity. or daily spray your plant. Additionally, you can put the air plant on a piece of driftwood or any object that can hold moisture. Another choice is to make a bed using a mixture of 50% perlite and 50% orchid potting mix. Spray the mixture every time you spray your plants. Your air plants might even drop roots into the mixture since they are so content.
7. Rust – Your air plant will develop dead areas as a result. Keep your plant away from anything that is rusty. Regular wire might rust in the future. For mounting air plants, use plastic-coated or galvanized wire.
8. Copper wire is well recognized for killing air plants. Copper is poisonous to air plants, particularly when it is regularly moist.
9. It’s typical for the mother air plant to pass away. Air plants develop, blossom, give birth to pups, and then go extinct. If your air plant has already bloomed and produced pups, it’s entirely possible that she is about to die. Don’t get rid of her just yet. Before she leaves, she might surprise you by bearing even another pup.
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Can air plants be over-soaked?
Most air plants with plenty of trichomes (xeric plants) should be often misted or soaked, whereas mesic plants, which have bright green leaves and less trichomes, prefer to be drenched only once a week. In our blog post Mesic Vs Xeric Air Plants, we go into further detail regarding the differences between Xeric and Mesic plants. However, there is one exception to this rule: air plants with bulbous bases, even those with bright green, smooth leaves, should frequently not be wet for extended periods of time as well. Because of water buildup in their bulbous bases, plants are susceptible to internal rot.
Instead of being wet, Xerographica air plants should be sprayed or submerged. These plants, which are xeric in nature, are indigenous to arid areas. These plants can survive more sun and less water. A xerographica should be submerged in a basin or pail of water, then gently shaken to let the water drip off the leaves. To prevent water from getting stuck in the leaves, let the item dry upside-down.
The Tillandsia tectorum is an air plant that you shouldn’t wet because it has a lot of fuzzy leaves. The tectorum’s large trichomes on its leaves aid in absorbing moisture from the surrounding atmosphere. These plants have evolved to survive without much precipitation and are naturally found in arid areas of Ecuador and Peru. Depending on how hot and dry it is where you live, we advise spraying these guys every other week or so. They also favor open air and strong light.
The distinctive feature of bulbous air plants is that they have what are known as “pseudobulbs.” In the natural, ant colonies construct their nests inside of these hollow onion-shaped bulbs, which are essentially hollow themselves. When watering these plants, especially when soaking them, exercise caution. These so-called pseudobulbs are susceptible to water intrusion, which can cause the plant to rot from the inside out. You can either submerge them in water and shake off the extra afterward, or you can hold them under running water while avoiding their bases. The T. caput medusae, T. bulbosa, T. pruinosa, T. pseudobaileyi, T. butzii, and T. seleriana plants are included in this group.
Another reason not to soak T. pruinosa and T. seleriana is that they both have a lot of trichomes. They could decay from soaking because of too much water.
You shouldn’t immerse air plants with delicate leaves like T. fuchsii v gracilis and T. andreana. These plants benefit more from light misting or rapid dunks. You may need to spritz these plants as frequently as every couple of days to make sure they are receiving enough water because of their thin, wispy leaves, which can cause them to dry out more quickly between waterings.
The Tillandsia magnusiana should be misted or dipped rather than soaked because it has a lot of trichomes. These plants’ form and trichome content can make them more prone to decay.
When watering air plants that are in bloom, exercise caution to avoid getting the blossom itself wet. While it would be acceptable to soak the plant’s bottom leaves, we frequently advise pouring water over them or immersing them to avoid wetting the blossom. A bloom that has been moist for a long time may develop rot, which may eventually spread to the leaves and kill the plant.
How frequently should an air plant be watered?
For the best care, your plants should be watered 2-3 times each week in addition to once every week. Every 2-3 weeks, a 2-hour bath should be taken. You will need to water or mist your plants more frequently if you live in a hotter, drier region. Your plant’s leaves will start to feel heavier and more wet after watering, and they will be softer and lighter in color when they require more water. Dehydration may be indicated by leaves that are wrinkled or rolled.
Can you mist an air plant too much?
One of the more unusual types of flora on our planet is tillandsia, sometimes known as air plants. Because they obtain their water from the air and occasionally occurring rainstorms, air plants are frequently believed to be waterless. This is probably certainly true in their home regions, but the air is too dry there to experience abrupt storms. Although they require regular moisture, tillandsia shouldn’t be overwatered. With mounted air plants, this can be a concern, but we’ll go over a few ways to keep your plant hydrated.
Bromeliads and epiphytic plants are air plants. Despite not being parasitic, they often grow on logs, in crevices, and even off living plants. Although some do live in more drier climates, tropical forests are where they are most frequently seen. Like other plants, air plants require regular access to food, light, and water. Because they are in a soilless environment, frequently mounted on something or housed inside a terrarium or glass bowl, they are more difficult to care for than regular houseplants. The problem of how to maintain them healthy arises from the lack of media to hold moisture and nutrients.
The most popular way of watering is air plant misting, however it doesn’t truly hydrate plant roots very well, and if the plant isn’t in good ventilation where leaves dry quickly, it can lead to fungal problems on the leaves. The greatest way to enhance humidity in extremely dry homes and environments is to spray air plants.
Do you soak air plants with their tops up?
It is best to provide air plants with water that is rich in minerals and nutrients because they obtain many of their nutrients directly from the water. The best water is rainwater, although spring water is a close second if you don’t have a convenient way to collect rainwater. Alternatively, you might utilize well, lake, or creek water. Never use filtered or distilled water. Less minerals and nutrients are present in distilled and filtered water. Many municipal water systems include fewer minerals and nutrients and more contaminants. If you are concerned about your pH level, air plants enjoy slightly acidic water. The ideal range for alkalinity is between 5.5 and 6.0. Most frequently, tap water from the city is higher than this range, making it unsuitable for air plants. Do not worry yourself too much about PH levels. Any good, pure water would do.
After watering your air plants, thoroughly drying them off is the second most crucial step. To ensure that your air plants completely dry, put them down on a dish towel on their side or upside down. For the larger species like Xerographica, Streptophylla, and Sparkler, this is especially crucial. Within two hours of their bath, they should be completely dry to the touch. Wait until your air plants are completely dry before putting them back in terrariums and vases. If you water your plants and then put them in an enclosure right away, your plant can get rot. Your air plants will be content and healthy if you follow these straightforward watering guidelines.