Why Is My Air Plant Turning Yellow

What’s wrong with my Tillandsia air plant? Customers frequently ask us this question, as do people who are just browsing our website and are looking for advice on how to take care of their air plants. While pinpointing exactly what occurred to the plant can be challenging, sometimes seeing the “wide picture” can help us identify the issue and make the necessary corrections.

We must first consider the type of plant you have and its natural environment for growth. Is the more mesic plant one with green leaves? Or is it a more xeric plant with silver leaves? This is a crucial inquiry because the answer will assist you choose the best habitat for your plant and the type of care you should give it. To find out how these two plant varieties differ, read our article on Mesic Vs. Xeric. A good generalization is that compared to a silver-leaved xeric plant like the xerographica, green-leaved/mesic air plants will prefer more moisture and less sunlight. Labeling plants as mesic or xeric is not an exact science because some air plants can be found in both of these groups. However, it does provide a small amount of information on the best habitat for your particular type of Tillandsia and, ultimately, the care you should provide it.

The majority of Tillandsia (air plant) problems result from improper maintenance of the plant’s unique requirements. A plant that prefers dry, arid environments can eventually have problems if it receives too much precipitation. The same is true for air plants that require a lot of moisture, such the brachycaulos or stricta; you would need to water these plants more frequently than a silver-leafed xerographica if you don’t want them to progressively dry out and die from dehydration. Definitely not what we want!

You should be able to identify where you differed in the care that created the problems once we have determined the optimal natural environmental conditions, at which point you can make the necessary adjustments. No matter if there is more or less water, sunlight, etc.

There are other other reasons that may be at play even though improper care accounts for a substantial portion of air plant deaths. Your air plant depends on a variety of resources to survive, including air, water, and light. Visit our air plant care page for more thorough instructions on maintenance. Remember that there is no universally effective magic formula for caring for air plants; they should only be used as guides. Your particular requirements will change depending on all the various factors we covered previously.

A working list of the inquiries and worries we receive from clients and website visitors is provided below. We want to be your go-to online source for air plants and to do more than just provide high-quality plants and accessories; we also want to inform and help educate air plant collectors all around the world.

My air plant is soft and disintegrating. Why is it flawed?

We regret to inform you that your little air plant might be rotting. 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. A shortage of water might also result in decay. Our article What’s Wrong With My Air Plant: Rot explains more about the potential causes of your air plant’s problems.

Brown tips have appeared on my air plant. What might be a problem?

In air plants, especially those with thin leaves like the ionantha or fuchsii v gracilis, browning of the leaf tips is very prevalent. This does not necessary indicate that you are acting improperly. Soon after your plants are sent by mail, a very small browning is typical. This can indicate that your air plant is becoming used to its new surroundings. Plants may show signs of stress by browning the tips of their leaves. In this instance, spraying your plant in between waterings may be helpful to help stop browning of the leaf tips. Too much sun or not enough water can be the causes of dry leaf tips. Reduce the amount of sun exposure and hydrate the plant a little more frequently.

My air plant is wilting and dry.

Underwatering, a lack of light or even too much light, and poor airflow can all contribute to dryness and withering. In our article How Much Light Do Air Plants Need? you can read more about the light requirements of air plants. Additionally, if your plant is in a terrarium that prevents airflow, it could perish.

My air plant has begun to turn yellow.

Too much light or water may be to blame for the yellowing of your air plant. A plant is signaling for aid when it turns yellow. Reduce watering and, if your plant is in direct sunlight, transfer it to a location with more indirect light. Overfertilization and copper poisoning are additional causes of yellowing. The plant may also turn yellow if it is exposed to chilly conditions; this will happen before the plant becomes mushy and eventually dies.

The leaves of my air plant have brown patches on them.

Numerous factors can result in brown patches. One of the most frequent reasons is excessive sunshine, which results in sunburn on the plant. If the plant is damp and exposed to excessive amounts of direct sunshine, this may be exacerbated. Over fertilization is another cause of brown patches. The leaves of your air plant can burn from fertilizer. Brown spots may also be the result of an insect infestation or stress the plant experienced during transportation, particularly if it is chilly where you live. Last but not least, brown spots may be an early symptom of mold or fungus, such as the condition known as brown leaf spot. If so, you might try spot-treating the affected area with a fungicide designed for roses. This particular fungicide won’t have any copper and will have little sulfur.

  • My air plant gave birth to a pup, and it now appears to be dying. What is happening?

Most frequently, an air plant will produce a pup or offset after it blooms. The mother plant may begin to wilt or die off, which is quite normal. When the pup is big enough to thrive on its own, some plants may wither away, while others may produce additional pups and live longer. Check check our article on air plant propagation to learn more about pups.

Is the white substance on my air plant mold or insects?

Though it’s difficult to say without seeing a photo, trichomes are most likely the solution! Trichomes, which are tiny cells on the leaves of tillandsia (air plants), help gather water and provide protection from sunburn. While certain mesic kinds, like bulbosa, have trichomes that are hardly perceptible, other xeric forms, like tectorum, will have an abundance of trichomes that are quite apparent. We may learn more from a number of articles, including All About Trichomes and Trichomes In Depth, which also covers the CAM procedure air plants go through.

What can you do to revive an air plant?

Why keep dying my air plants? It’s likely that your Tillandsia is really thirsty if it doesn’t appear its best, especially if it’s shriveled or discolored. Spritzing normally doesn’t give enough moisture to keep the plant healthy and hydrated, despite the fact that misting the plant is frequently advised.

When this is the case, reviving a Tillandsia entails getting the plant back to its previous condition of health and hydration. The simplest way to do this is to submerge the entire plant in lukewarm water in a bucket or basin. To prevent the plant from floating to the surface of the water, you might need to attach it to a hefty item.

Allow the bowl to soak for 12 hours in a warm place. The plant should be taken out of the bowl, laid out on a layer of paper towels, and allowed to air dry before being put back in its usual spot.

Repeat the technique, but this time leave the Tillandsia submerged for only around four hours if the plant seems dry and sickly. Shake the plant lightly while holding it upside-down to drain the leaves of extra moisture.

How can I tell if I’ve overwatered my air plant?

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 can I tell whether my air plants are 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.