Unique and hassle-free indoor plants, air plants (Tillandsia) add significant visual charm to your home. These unique plants come in a variety of sizes, have health benefits for your home during the photosynthesis process, and need very little upkeep from you, which appeals to busy professionals. How can you know whether your air plant is healthy considering that they require less maintenance than other plants?
Hydration of the plant is essential to avoid underwatering and determine the health of your air plant. To determine whether the plant is getting too much or not enough moisture, regularly look for discolored leaves or dry or wet rot. An air plant is in good health if it blooms and produces fluff.
There are numerous techniques to determine whether your air plant is healthy, and the majority of them only require a visual examination. They could quickly get ill by doing some unexpected activities. Continue reading to learn more about 11 quick ways to assess the general health of your air 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 can you tell if an air plant is still alive?
The leaves of a healthy air plant should range in color from green to gray. The plant should not break when you lift it up. In other words, leaves should not fall from an air plant that is healthy.
You can do a variety of things to resuscitate a plant. Here are the steps I take to aid in the recovery of my air plants’ health.
Give the Air Plant an Overnight Soak
When I’m trying to revive an air plant, I always start by watering it. Keep in mind that although air plants don’t need soil, that doesn’t imply they don’t need water. Water is a necessity for all living things, even air plants.
Since air plants don’t have roots, they must instead collect moisture and water through their leaves because they lack soil. I’ve heard it much too often that garden centers advise misting air plants with water a few times per week. This is not enough water, in my opinion, and the plant will become thirsty. Sadly, if this persists for a long enough period of time, the air plant will die.
How Long Should I Soak my Air Plant?
I give my air plants an hour-long bath to make sure they receive the water they need. I do this on a weekly basis during the summer when it’s warmer and roughly every three weeks throughout the winter. I enjoy using rainwater because I live in a rainforest. But you can also use regular tap water! To let the chlorine vaporize, simply leave the water out for 24 hours.
Simply take the air plant out of its current container and place it in a bowl of water after that. The basin needs to be big enough for the plant to fully submerge. After a half-hour or so, remove it from the bath. To make sure that water isn’t gathering in your air plant’s leaves while it’s upside down, give it a couple gentle shakes. After that, return the plant to its location. It’s that simple!
Make Sure Your Air Plant has Air!
Even though it might seem simple, your air plant requires oxygen to survive. There are numerous pictures of air plants being kept in tightly sealed jars floating about, and they make me scoff since plants cannot survive in that kind of environment!
The answer is simple.
You can continue to preserve your adorable jar terrarium, but be careful to keep the lid slightly ajar or open to allow air to flow freely.
Remove Dead Leaves
A sick air plant should also have any dead leaves removed by gently tugging on them to check if they fall off. They are dead if they are simple to remove. Unfortunately, you have a dead air plant that has already perished if the entire plant crumbles when you do this.
Your air plant will survive, though, if only a few leaves fall off and the interior leaves are green and healthy-looking.
Look at the Tips of Your Air Plant
Try using rainwater or unchlorinated water as mentioned above if the tips of your air plant are starting to turn brown. Your plant may not be getting enough water if you are not giving them chlorine yet they are still turning brown.
After giving them an overnight bath, make sure you give them baths more frequently.
What if my Air Plant Falls Apart?
You have a dead air plant on your hands if your green air plant just falls apart. This probably happened as a result of spending too much time in water that was left standing or from not adequately shaking off after a bath.
Reread the section about watering, and the next one will undoubtedly go more smoothly.
How should air plants appear?
These are some of the hardier, more accessible, and more adaptable air plant species that provide a wide range of design and presentation options.
Best Beginner Air Plant: Ioantha
There are several types of these low-maintenance plants, which are typically one to three inches tall and have pointy leaves. Many grow blooms that are red, orange, pink, or purple. It prefers regular misting and filtered sunlight.
Best Beginner Air Plant: Caput-medusa
This plant ages well. This makes it suited for a variety of presentations because it will grow straight whether mounted horizontally or even upside-down. It can also handle less watering.
Best Beginner Air Plant: Aeranthos
The Greek words “aer” for air and “anthos” for flower are used to create the name of this typical starter plant. Its stiff green leaves grow upward, and a purple flower ultimately appears from its pink bud. It is a sturdy plant that requires less watering. Size and color variations exist among its many kinds.
My air plant appears to be dry.
Xerographica air plants don’t require much water to survive, but if they don’t get enough, they will become dehydrated and start to exhibit symptoms like; looking a little dull; the tips of the leaves are drying up; and they are beginning to u-shape and become droopy at the same time.
There’s no need to freak out if you notice these symptoms in your air plant because it’s simple to save a dehydrated air plant. Simply adhere to the guidelines listed below, and they ought to quickly begin to thrive once more!
- Your air plant’s dead portions should be removed.
- Put it in a bowl of water and soak it there for a minimum of 5-8 hours.
- Instead of through their roots, air plants absorb water through their leaves. So make sure the water is completely covering all of the leaves.
- Use unchlorinated or rainwater whenever possible, especially if you see that the tips of the plant’s leaves are already turning brown. There is a good probability that your air plant is still not getting enough water if the leaves are turning brown even though you are not giving them water that has chlorine in it.
Do my air plants need to be misted?
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.