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.
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)
An air plant can you overwater it?
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 long do air plants need to be kept dry?
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An air plant’s best formula for success is proper care. Despite the fact that air plants are among the easiest indoor plants to care for, it is still preferable to give them some attention. Taking care of your air plants include giving them the water they require, the right amount of light, appropriate airflow, and fertilizers like orchid plant food to improve their health.
Without water, air plants may survive for two weeks. Additionally, the plant’s health is compromised even if it is still alive. Regarding the recommended watering regimen, you should bathe your air plants in water at least once every two weeks and spritz them once a week.
Do I need to wet my air plants daily?
Although air plant misting is not the most efficient way to water plants, it is the most practical because it enables you to provide moisture to the plants’ environment. If not, you will need to take out the wire holding the plant in place on the display and wash or rinse it to truly get moisture into the roots.
Misting is a suitable method for providing the plant with the least amount of water throughout the winter, when water requirements are lowest. Additionally, a wonderful water bath in the form of spraying will revive heat-stressed plants throughout the sweltering summer months.
But misting will fall short of your expectations in terms of providing moisture for your air plant if you want it to be really healthy. If you primarily mist your plant to provide moisture, soak or dunk it at least twice a month. This can give the plant the deep water intake it needs to survive in its airborne environment.
How can I tell whether my air plant is content?
Under-watering is the main reason why air plants die in new owners’ care. The overwatering that follows is a close second. According to a longstanding myth, these plants draw all the water they need from the atmosphere and don’t even need to be watered at all. While living in a climate similar to the Tillandsia’s natural environment and having them outside, this may be true, for the rest of us, watering is necessary. No need to worry; your plants will thrive if you follow these easy watering instructions. Pick one of the techniques listed below to water your plants like a pro.
The easiest approach to keep your air plant happy, particularly indoors, is to submerge it. People are frequently shocked to learn that you can completely submerge an aerial plant, but they adore it nonetheless! The only effective method for completely rehydrating your air plant is this. When water enters the plant’s root through the entire leaf surface, a stunning metamorphosis occurs. Curly leaves will frequently straighten, and although your Tillandsia won’t have meaty leaves like succulents, there will be a distinct fullness after soaking.
THE AMOUNT A dry tillandsia can benefit greatly from even a brief 30-minute bath, although they are capable of holding their breath for up to 12–24 hours. Our general rule is to soak for 6–12 hours once every week. Ours normally soaks for 12 hours or so. Even without losing too many of them, we’ve occasionally forgotten about them. Some xeric species, such as Tectorum and Xerographica, should be handled with caution. Since they are more delicate, they favor spraying.
Another method of watering your air plant is to spray it until it is completely saturated. It’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t a light sprinkling. For optimal watering, your plant needs to be totally submerged. While spraying your air plant is a good technique to hydrate it, you’ll need to do it much more frequently than soaking, which results in a more thorough rehydration.
THE AMOUNT 2-3 times each week, spray until completely saturated. This will be greater if you reside in Arizona and less if you reside in Hawaii. Whether your plant is indoors or outdoors, as well as the type of light it receives, are the two most crucial aspects to consider when deciding when and how much water to apply. More water will be appreciated if there is a lot of sun. Regular watering is essential indoors, where there is heat, air conditioning, and generally dry circumstances.
Watch the leaves of your plants to see if they are showing signs of thirst. A healthy white fuzz really indicates that your plant is healthy and not necessarily drying out because curly leaves are drier. Other indicators that you are under-watering include brown leaf tips and a generally withered appearance. Watch how your plant appears after a thorough soak. What is that like right now? Because every plant is unique, pay attention to what yours is now telling you.
Choosing your water
I’ll admit that for a long time, my air plants consumed more expensive water than I did. While my collection grew, I would tirelessly transport containers of purified water for them to enjoy. Tillandsia are accustomed to rainwater that has a pH balance and the ideal ratio of nutrients. The perfect balance is provided by well-filtered water, and I would even conduct my own PH testing to make sure the water was properly balanced between acidic and alkaline.
Tap water frequently contains high levels of chlorine and elements like calcium that can clog the delicate leaves of air plants. Interestingly, distilled water kills air plants by removing all of their nutrients through osmosis. Reverse osmosis systems are frequently used by nursery producers to guarantee that their plants receive the best water and produce the greatest outcomes.
But after many years and painful arms, I decided that my plants needed to become more resilient because I can no longer stand it. I turned on the hose and haven’t turned around since. However, I always make sure to take all of my tillandsia outside when it rains so they can take a lovely, refreshing shower. For similar advantages, you can utilize spring water or pond water.
Tip: Tap water’s chlorine levels drop after about 15 minutes. Before adding your air plants, try filling your soaking bin with water and waiting for this to happen.
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 contain fewer minerals and nutrients and more chemicals. 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.