Tillandsia, often known as air plants, are among the easiest plants to care for, but they still need attention and the right climate to thrive. Despite being referred to as “air plants” since they don’t need soil and get their nutrients from the air, they still require water, fertilizers, and light to survive. Technically speaking, air plants are epiphytes, which means that they naturally grow on other trees, hosts, or objects. They just use their host as a place to live and grow; they do not steal nutrients from it. To collect nutrients and moisture from the air, air plants have tiny trichome-like capillaries all over their leaves.
Because they don’t need soil (and the majority of Tillandsia shouldn’t be planted in soil), they can grow and thrive in a variety of environments, containers, and areas. Since air plants may be employed in a number of situations thanks to their adaptable development, Tillandsia have become more and more popular as interior decorations for homes and businesses.
Despite their reputation as being simple to produce, air plants nevertheless require care in order to thrive and maintain a healthy life. Tillandia can live for a number of years with proper care, and it may even produce “pups” for you to enjoy for several more years.
How are air plants maintained?
Here are 5 easy guidelines to remember when taking care of tillandsia:
- 1) Give your air plant regular waterings. Your air plant will require routine watering.
- 2) Supply light to your air plant.
- 3) Allow your air plant to breathe.
- 4) Maintain a Pleasant Temperature for Your Air Plant.
- 5) Don’t harm your airplant by doing this.
What do air plants require to survive, and where do they acquire it?
Tillandsia, sometimes known as air plants, are indigenous to the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America. They can survive in warm climates while being neglected. These unusual-looking plants, which come in over 650 varieties, can live without either soil or water.
Using their unique leaves, air plants draw the water and nutrients they require for survival from the air. The air plant’s roots serve just to anchor it to the earth, rocks, trees, and other vegetation. Most air plants have elegant funnel or tube-shaped flowers and long, triangle-shaped leaves, which provide lovely architectural components.
Air plants require regular care to have a long, lasting existence even if they are simple to maintain. Tillandsia cultivars require very little watering and constant air movement to thrive. You can do this by spraying the plants every day or by immersing them in water once a week.
How can air plants develop and endure?
Tillandsia, often known as air plants, are soilless and grow by floating in the air.
- Air plants, which are epiphytes and a member of the Bromeliad family, cling to other plants for support yet are independent of their hosts.
- They use their leaves to collect moisture and nutrients rather than their roots, which are only used to affix themselves to other plants or objects.
- In the wild, they could live alongside a tree or establish an abode atop a rock. As long as they have enough light and air, air plants don’t have many preferences on where they live at home. They are content living on anything as tiny as a wine bottle cork, within a glass globe that is suspended, or even growing from a piece of driftwood.
- These hardy plants offer adaptable home decor additions because there are more than 600 species with different sizes, shapes, colors, and forms.
What kind of setting do air plants require?
Sure! Why not picture yourself sipping an evening beverage on the veranda while admiring a lovely hanging Stricta clump? The plant’s primary requirement would be bright, filtered light, therefore the optimum location would be on a patio or deck where they will receive indirect sunshine. Pick up the garden hose or submerge them in the pond, whichever is more convenient, as they will require more frequent watering than inside plants, especially during dry spells. In particular after any lengthy, heavy storms, make sure the plants are drying off within 4 hours of watering.
How long does an air plant live?
Perennial plants are tillandsias, also referred to as air plants. According to the source, they have a lifespan of between two and five years, which indicates that they normally survive longer than two years.
The type of air plant and the growing conditions have an impact on how long they live, though. They reside in deserts, on various surfaces, and on tree branches in their natural habitat (other surfaces they can grow on).
Air plants only experience one flowering during their existence, which marks the culmination of their development and maturity.
Depending on the species, the flowers might remain in bloom for a number of months. However, the air plant will begin to die when the blossoms start to wilt and fade. Air plants develop pups or offsets before they die to carry on the same growth cycle.
Despite the mother plant dying, you can take the pups out and raise them separately. Separating the pups from the mother is referred to as “division is a method of air plant propagation.
As an alternative, you might leave those puppies grouped together ” (also known as “tillandsia balls).
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.
How often should my air plant be soaked?
I wanted to go into more detail about this because our Facebook Page gets a lot of questions about how to water air plants. Although tillandsia, often known as air plants, are simpler to maintain than many other plant species, they still need some care and attention, and water is crucial to their general well-being. Here are some frequently asked questions about watering air plants along with our suggestions:
This mostly relies on your climate, where you’re keeping the air plants, the Tillandsia species itself, and the environment in which it naturally grows (learn more about mesic vs. xeric air plants here). Since most of the year is humid where we live in Tampa, Florida, we don’t run the heat in our home as often as our friends in the north do (I’m not trying to pick on them, I swear!). We typically water our plants twice a week, but drier climates require more frequent watering. Depending on the season, you may discover that you need to water your plants less. Additionally, it depends on where you put them at your house or office. The plants will stay more wet in a humid bathroom, but you’ll probably need to water them more frequently if they’re close to an air vent or a heat source. (Note: We don’t advise keeping your plants close to heat sources.)
It should be noted that while humidity might slow down drying, it in and of itself is insufficient for watering.
Again, you should modify your watering practices according to your climate and the species of your air plants, but for the majority of air plants and surroundings, we advise that you immerse your plants in water at least once a week. Use something that allows you to totally submerge the air plants, like a bowl, bucket, or your sink. Give them a lengthier bath for an hour or more every other week if you live in a dry area. Soak for 30 to 60 minutes at least once a week. You might wish to shorten the soaks if you reside in a location with higher humidity or if your air plant is more xeric in nature.
You should allow the air plants to completely dry after soaking. They can either be let to dry with their leaves facing down or turned over and gently shaken. If water is allowed to sit in the leaves, the plants risk rotting. The plants should be placed in an area with sufficient airflow, and they should be able to dry entirely in less than four hours. Before bringing your plants back home, ensure sure they are entirely dry if they are in a globe or terrarium.
You will observe how open and wide the leaves are after soaking your plants, as well as how much more “happy” they seem. A well hydrated air plant should appear like this! You’ll learn over time that if the color starts to look a little dull and the leaves start to close or curl, your tillandsia are thirsty and you should give them another nice wash. Try soaking your air plant for several hours or even overnight if it is really struggling to see if you can rehydrate the plant. Always allow them to totally dry off before soaking or spraying them once more.
Between waterings, you can spray the plants. If you live in a dry region, this might be a terrific method to keep plants healthy and offer them some additional care. However, unless you have one of the few species of air plants that appreciate low moisture, such as T. tectorum (for which we only advocate misting) or T. xerographica, misting is not a replacement for a thorough soak (which we recommend dunking instead of soaking).
When it comes to water, air plants aren’t particularly finicky; most tap water is suitable, although it depends on the water quality in your location. The most nutrient-rich types of water to utilize are rainwater, aquarium water, or pond water. If utilizing one of these types of water, don’t add any more fertilizer. Allow the water to rest for several hours to allow the chlorine to dissolve if you’re using tap water (maybe 24 hours in some areas.)
Use water that is not distilled since it is too “pure” and will deprive the plants of the nutrients they require. Additionally, artificially softened water should not be used since Tillandsia cannot tolerate its high salt concentration.
We advise soaking your air plants in the morning so that they can dry completely over the day. Additionally, air plants utilize the nighttime hours to breathe carbon dioxide, so if they are wet in the evenings, they won’t be able to do so effectively. This method is known as CAM; to learn more about CAM, read our page on how air plants breathe. You can check on them before you go to night and place them back in their terrariums or displays. Some indirect sunlight will help them dry more rapidly.
These are the queries about watering air plants that we encounter the most frequently. Did we respond to yours? If not, just inquire! Need advice on caring for air plants? Visit our page on air plant care.
Regarding watering the plants with blooms, I have a query. How do you water them if, as I understand it, you don’t moisten the bottoms or the blooms? Do you bring all of your indoor air plants inside during the winter? Although it doesn’t get very cold very often where I reside in Largo, Florida, it does occasionally. Since we don’t have snow, I believe the wind to be the main issue with the cold. Please lend me any assistance you can.
I recently purchased an aquarium, and in order to ensure that my three air plants receive continuous moisture in the office, I planned to tie them to a branch and let them sit on top of the tank. Do I still need to sprinkle and soak them as usual if the water that has evaporated from the tank should be plenty for them to receive?
Our well water passes through a water softener, which I should have mentioned in my previous query. They would be set up here if they could just survive on smoke.
Since we live in north-eastern Washington, rain has not been an option for us. Instead, we use well water, which I won’t even drink. I use spring water to water my air plants because I purchase it and drink it. I haven’t had them long, but they seem to be doing fine. Is using spring water for irrigation problematic?
Due to hydration issues, I do not advise attaching air plants to driftwood. In retrospect, it sounds apparent, but I was new to air plants and lost five of my six because the wood kept too much water when I first gave them a soak.
Do I need to wet my air plant frequently?
I frequently receive queries concerning caring for air plants that are kept in glass globes because they have become so popular. To enjoy your plant in a glass enclosure for many years, follow these few instructions. If you’re seeking for glass globes, our shop has a wide variety of unusual patterns.
- The more attention you can provide your plant, the bigger the globe.
- When you initially get your plant, give it a 20 to 30-minute bath. Keep an eye on the size and color to determine how content the plant is. Consider this “image” constantly.
- Before inserting your plant into the globe, let it almost entirely dry out.
- Every 4-5 days, mist your plant with one spray for small globes, two or three sprays for globes 3-5 inches in diameter, and more if the plant is in a wide open globe. The objective is to estimate the drying time; the longer the plant can retain moisture, the smaller the globe and less circulation. Overwatering will cause the plant to perish.
- Do you recall how your plant seemed after soaking? If it no longer has that cheerful, healthy appearance, remove it, soak it for 30 to 60 minutes, shake, and let it almost completely dry before replacing in the globe.
- Place your globes away from windows or other areas where they will receive direct sunlight. Keep in mind that the glass will make the heat and sunlight more intense. Some plants may even grow in low to moderate light, though indirect light is preferred.