It is preferable to soak your air plants in a bowl of water for 20 to an hour once per week to 10 days. Totally submerge the plant. Even though they are constantly wet in nature, if your plant is in bloom, you might want to keep the bud above the water to avoid disturbing it.
How frequently do air plants need to 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.
Do air plants need to be misted or 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 to Water an Air Plant
The most challenging aspect of caring for air plants is watering them. Some individuals use misting religiously, others immerse their air plants, while yet others utilize a mix of misting and soaking.
In our experience, watering air plants is challenging because the plant’s requirements differ significantly depending on the environment. Additionally, some species need particular care. Assessing your environment is the first step in watering your air plant. How much light is reaching your plant? What’s the temperature like inside your house right now? Is there a lot of dry air there (is your plant close to a heater or fireplace)? Is it also really humid?
Following your responses, you can modify the air plant watering schedule to meet your specific requirements. Here is what we suggest as a place to start:
- Every one to two weeks, give your air plant a 5- to 10-minute soak in room-temperature tap water (or, if you can get it, rainwater or pond water).
- Once your plant has soaked, gently shake off any extra water. It should be placed on a towel upside down in a well-lit area. This is very crucial. If extra water is allowed to stand, air plants will quickly decay.
- The plant should be able to dry completely in 3 hours once the soaking process is finished. More time than this could cause your plant to decay. Try putting it somewhere brighter with better airflow to encourage quicker drying.
- Mist your plant well once a week (instead of watering it). Make sure the entire surface is saturated (but not so much that there is water dripping down into the plant).
- You need to water more when the air is hotter and dryer (summer, early fall). Your air plant will require less water during the cooler and more humid seasons (winter and spring). Just be mindful of your plant because heaters and fires dry out the air.
- Water everything in the morning. Evening sopping or sprinkling interferes with the plants’ ability to breathe at night and prolongs the drying process.
Is My Air Plant Getting Enough Water?
The tops of your air plant’s leaves may turn brown or crispy if you’ve been neglecting to water it. When an air plant is under-watered, its leaves’ inherent concavity tends to become more pronounced.
Unfortunately, it’s frequently too late to save an overwatered air plant. Your plant has certainly succumbed to rot if the base of the plant turns dark or black and leaves are falling out or off from the center.
Regarding temperature, air plants are fairly tolerant. They thrive between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature difference between daytime and nighttime is roughly 10 degrees.
To maintain your air plant healthy, include orchid or specific air plant fertilizer in your watering routine once or twice a month. Simply sprinkle some in your water, then carry on as usual. Your air plant will blossom and propagate if you fertilize it (or pup — more on this later)
How are misted air plants watered?
The final technique in our series on watering air plants is misting, which you can employ in between regular soaking or immersing. Read more in our earlier blog posts to learn more about the dunk method and soaking.
If you notice that your plant’s leaves are starting to seem a bit dry or if you live in a dry region with low air humidity, misting is an excellent approach to give it a little additional hydration. Misting is probably not enough water for your plant to grow, therefore you shouldn’t utilize this method as its only supply of water.
The T. tectorum, which has a lot of trichomes, is an exception to this rule and prefers misting to soaking or submerging. In a temperate area, you might only need to mist once a month with one of these guys, or once a week in a hotter environment.
In contrast to other plants with bigger leaves, plants with wispy leaves such the T. ionantha, T. andreana, or T. fuchsii v gracilis may require misting more regularly in addition to weekly watering.
- It’s easy to spritz plants; just use a spray bottle or hose attachment set to the “mist” setting. Make sure the entire plant gets soaked before misting. As previously mentioned, if this is their sole source of water, this is not the greatest approach for watering. If you mist your plants, remember to additionally soak or dip them once a week at the very least.
A useful generalization to remember is that a healthy air plant will have leaves that are wide open, whereas a dehydrated air plant would have leaves that curl inward. Bring on the mist if you see that your plant is starting to appear a touch dry between your regular waterings!
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.
Can you soak air plants overnight?
Yes. Your plant is clearly showing indications of dehydration. Your plant is dehydrated if the leaves seem lighter in color or feel softer. You can give your air plant a water soak overnight if it appears to be parched or dehydrated to bring it back to life.
Can you water air plants with tap water?
Tap water is suitable for air plants, but be sure the tap water in your location is of a high standard. The majority of the time, tap water lacks crucial minerals and contains contaminants.
Use water from a well, pond, spring, or lake wherever possible. However, rainfall would be the ideal type to employ.
How do you water glued air plants?
Hold the plant under a gentle stream of water or submerge it in water for several minutes while keeping the surface of the air plant mounting dry. After watering, turn the plant upside down until all the water that was trapped in it has been released, and then set it on its side to dry.
Can air plants be soaked for the night?
Tillandsias, often known as air plants, are a common and simple to grow plant. They’ve become incredibly popular and are frequently utilized in homes and workplaces. They naturally grow on another host, tree, or item and are considered an epiphyte, along with orchids and bromeliads, without taking nutrition from its host. They need water, light, and nutrients but no soil to flourish. Through microscopic capillaries on their leaves known as trichomes, air plants can absorb moisture and nutrients from the atmosphere. What a cool thing!
Despite being incredibly easy to maintain, air plants nevertheless require some care in order to flourish. Tillandsias can live for several years with proper care and give birth to “pups” (baby air plants) for added enjoyment. We’ve provided highly detailed care advice that is supposed to be helpful. We merely want to arm you with the knowledge you need to take excellent care of your tillandsias. Keep in mind that air plants are quite simple to maintain.
- Any plant needs light to survive, but fortunately, air plants may survive with filter sunlight or even artificial light.
- Place your air plant between three and five feet from a window or close to a source of artificial light.
- An air plant should not receive too much sunshine, even inside. Choose a spot that is only somewhat shaded if you are growing outside. Few plants can withstand full-day sun.
- The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that each air plant will need a different amount of water depending on its variety, size, and environment of growth. These are recommendations, not unalterable laws.
- Watering air plants at least once a week is beneficial when growing them inside. The location’s humidity affects frequency. In comparison to a plant grown in a more humid environment, an air plant grown close to a heater will dry up considerably more quickly and require more frequent watering.
- Place your air plant face down in water, in a container or in your sink, and let it soak there for 10 to 20 minutes to hydrate it. Alternately, you might repeatedly submerge plants in water. To avoid rotting or damage, gently shake off extra water after soaking.
- Water should ideally be applied early in the day so that moisture can evaporate. After four hours, they should be dry enough to be put back in a container or on display.
- While spraying your tillandsia sometimes can be helpful, it is not always advised.
- Use a houseplant or orchid fertilizer with a low copper content if you want to feed your air plant because they are extremely sensitive to copper. Don’t fertilize your plant too frequently because it’s quite easy to overfeed it; diluting your fertilizer can help.
- You can soak your air plants in water (in a bowl or sink) for several hours or overnight if they ever appear “thirsty” or like they are having trouble. This frequently aids in reviving your tillandsia.
- Rainwater or pond water work best for watering tillandsia. Never use distilled or artificially softened water to water your plants.
- Dehydrated plants’ leaves are closed and coiled, while healthy air plants have wide, open leaves.
- An air plant’s flower or blossom should never be submerged because doing so can cause rotting.
- Your air plants will thrive in a bathroom or kitchen window, where the steam and moisture will make them extremely content.
- The growth and water requirements of air plants can be impacted by temperature. Between 10 and 32 degrees Celsius, air plants thrive (50F-90F). Since tillandsia are extremely sensitive to cold, freezing temperatures are one thing they do not enjoy.
- It makes sense that air plants need clean, healthy air to grow. They require considerable air movement after watering so that they can dry out in 4 hours.
- Although it is fairly common to place tillandsia in containers or terrariums and they have thrived there, it is not advised that they be completely enclosed in them. No air circulation means your plant won’t have any moisture or nutrients.
- Keep your plants away from heater and air conditioner vents so they don’t dry out too quickly and require additional watering.
- Do not ever submerge an air plant in soil. They don’t need soil because it will just make them decay.
- In addition to gaining new leaves, your air plant will also shed some. You can use scissors to clip off any brown or dead leaves for aesthetic purposes. Cut at a sharp angle so that the leaves still have a natural appearance to “conceal” this trimming.
- Although they are not necessary and just serve to anchor the plant to a host, roots may already be present or continue to grow. Depending on your preference, you can either leave the roots on or chop them off.
- You can use E3000 super glue (other glues can come loose over time/when wet or harm your plant) or string to secure your air plant in place on decorative “hosts.” With your air plant, stay away from pressure-treated wood and copper.
- As air plants develop, they can produce both blooms and pups, which are their young. Pups can either be removed when they are 1/3 the size of the mother plant or left on the mother plant to form a “clump” that hangs in a longer string.