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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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 an overwatered air plant be fixed?
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 does air plant rot appear?
Your air plant seemed great a few days ago. After watering it as usual, it’s now in utter disrepair after just a few days! What is going on?
Sorry to report, but damp rot may have already done damage to your little air plant. Maybe you neglected to shake the extra water off the leaves before placing them back in their spot, or you kept your plants in their bath for a little bit too long. Whatever it was, water found its way into the spaces between your plant’s leaves and base and eventually rotted it. In addition, your air plant may have dry rot, which happens when there is inadequate ventilation and the plant becomes ill. Most often, excessive watering and prolonged wet/damp periods allow fungus and harmful bacteria to establish a foothold and harm the plant.
Your air plant may have rot or fungus if the base is brown and too squishy or mushy to the touch. A decaying air plant frequently loses leaves at its base, may begin to crumble, or may even have the center of the plant come out. It might be difficult to detect inner rot because it usually doesn’t manifest itself until the plant suddenly collapses, usually starting with the interior leaves.
A few air plants, such as the melanocrater tricolor, will naturally have darker bases. Additionally, good air plants may occasionally shed a few leaves. **
The outer leaves can also develop leaf rot and other fungal problems, which are much more obvious than the inner leaves. Dark stains at the plant’s base may be the first indication of this, and they will spread over time. In this situation, it is recommended to try to remove the damaged leaves from the base of the plant in an effort to rescue the plant and halt the development of the fungus/rot.
Below are some images of a T. stricta that has some leaf damage and may have a fungus problem. There is a dark circular portion of the leaf that doesn’t appear normal, despite the fact that it’s typical for some of the leaves at the base of an air plant (Tillandsia) to dry out, become brown, and die off. In order to assist stop the spread of any potential fungus, we carefully plucked a few of the leaves near the plant’s base in this instance. The plant has been cleaned up and the damaged leaves have been removed in the image on the right. It’s acceptable if the base’s very tip shows some browning or appears callused because here is where the stem’s base will develop roots.
There are a few easy techniques to prevent rot:
- Maintain a watering schedule and watch out for overwatering. To avoid overwatering, keep in mind that Tillandsia vary from many typical house plants in that they absorb moisture through their leaves and trichomes rather than their roots.
- Never submerge an air plant in water for an extended period of time.
- According to the type of Tillandsia (air plant) you have, adjust your care and watering schedule. When compared to Mesic green-leaved kinds, silver-leaved cultivars—which are Xeric—need different amounts of water and even require different watering techniques. Check read this post about Xeric and Mesic air plants to find out more about the many varieties of air plants. Visit our article on Air Plant Care for information on general maintenance.
- Once you’ve watered your air plant, be sure to shake off any extra water, and then wait until the plant is totally dry before reintroducing it to your terrarium, shell, or other display container. Avoid misting air plants within their terrariums or placing them near wetness.
- Pay great attention to air plants with bulbous shapes and those with deep pockets at the base of their leaves since they may be more likely to retain water in their base.
- Airflow is crucial! Never put your air plant in a container or terrarium that is completely sealed off. Leave the lid off of your terrarium if it has one. To thrive, air plants require adequate air flow; otherwise, rot might develop.
- If any external leaves are starting to rot or exhibit indications of fungus, remove them at the base. If the plant has inner rot, removing the inner leaves won’t help and probably will do more harm than good.
Rot is unfortunately one of the things that, once it starts, is difficult to stop and save the plant from. Preventing decay is the greatest cure! As a natural fungicide, cinnamon has been shown to help minimize or stop rot/fungus on plant bases, so it might be worth a try! We also advise removing those leaves as previously shown if only a few of the outer leaves are impacted.
fantastic article I can’t believe I let a lovely xerographica go to waste recently. Additionally, I spotted clumps of odd-colored fragments of a sticky gel-like substance.
I tried cleaning it, but it made no difference. A other plant with pockets and a bulbous shape experienced this. They resembled rounder balls; could they perhaps be eggs?
When submerged in water, an airplane that has rot spreads the rot spores to all the others. I experienced it. In the following few months, I lost 35 plants.
They are daily sprayed well, gently shook, and then placed back on the wall; there are no longer any communal baths. I lost my Tectorum and it mineralized in spring water.
I appreciate you teaching me how to care for my air plants. I need all the assistance I can get because I’m new at this.
Please describe the procedure and recommended frequency for applying cinnamon to plants.