Air Plant Care Tips: How To Maintain Your Tillandsias
Air plants are so adorable no matter how spikey or fuzzy they are. And when it comes to indoor plant care, air plants are one of the easiest types to maintain. They don’t even need soil and just thrive on absorbing water and nutrients through their leaves.
Whether you’re a beginner or a long-time plant enthusiast who wants to explore air plants, here’s everything you need to know and how to properly take care of them.
What are air plants?
Air plants or Tillandsias are one of the most popular house plants. They are native to Mexico, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. In the wild, they grow on the bark of trees with their roots on tree trunks to help them stay up. They thrive on rainwater and bird’s poop through their leaves.
When removed in the wild, their roots are either removed or kept as an anchor. They don’t need soil to survive and receive nutrition through the moisture and dirt fibers brought by the air.
Air plant’s life cycle
Fun fact: Air plants only bloom once. It might last for a few days or even months depending on their species. You can also see them bloom in different colors like pink, red and purple!
Blooming is the peak of an air plant’s life cycle, but also marks its old age. After it flowers, the air plant will eventually die. But your air plant species doesn’t just end there. Just before, during or after it blooms, your air plant will produce two to eight offsets which will grow directly from the mother plant.
You can transfer the baby air plants in a separate planter once they’re about ⅓ or ½ of a full-grown size. Don’t transfer them too early since they’re still receiving nutrients from their mother. With proper care and maintenance, you can keep a beautiful air plant for a long time.
Air Plant Care Maintenance Tips
Air plants are low maintenance. But if you want to make them live their best, you need to give them extra care just like how you take care of your other plants.
These plants can look perfect either hanging, or displayed on your table. Air plant care might be a little bit different compared to your usual gardening routine, but it’s easy! Here are some tips to help you get started.
Submerge in water at least once a week.
Misting and watering might be enough for some of your plants, but air plants need more than just that. Since they’re not planted on soil, they get the nutrients they need directly from water.
Submerge your air plants to a bowl full of water for about 20 to 30 minutes every week. And since water is their main source of nutrients, soak them in water that’s rich in essential minerals. One of the best examples is rainwater, but it might be difficult for you to capture a bunch so you can go for spring, creek, lake or well water instead.
Don’t use distilled water for submerging your air plants. It has lower mineral and nutrient levels because of the filtration process. It might be suitable for human’s drinking water, but it’s not healthy for air plants.
Always air dry your air plants.
After submerging your air plants to water, they need to be completely dry. Shake off excess water and let them dry in an open area for about four hours. You can also hang them if you choose to keep their roots with them.
It’s important to make sure it’s fully dry before you put it back to its terrarium. Otherwise, your air plant will rot. Use a wide-mouthed terrarium so air and moisture can get in to produce the right amount of humidity for your tillandsia.
Expose to direct sun every morning.
Just like any other plants, air plants need direct sunlight at least every morning. Take them out of their glass terrariums and put them somewhere they can absorb sunlight. But don’t over expose them. Too much direct sunlight can reduce their moisture, burn them or even cause them to die.
Feed them with fertilizer and water mixture.
Air plants need to eat too! Feed them with fertilizer and water mixture at least once a month. Make sure you don’t overfeed them with too much fertilizer! Otherwise, they can suffer from nitrogen burn and they won’t survive.
The perfect time to fertilize your air plant is when it starts to bloom. Fertilizer is a great help for blooming and reproduction in plants.
Maintain a good temperature.
Air plants prefer warm but not too hot temperatures. Typically, it ranges from 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature can be fatal for your air plant if it drops below 50 degrees or rises above 90 degrees.
During summer, keep your air plants in a good shade if they’re placed outdoors. If they’re indoors, keep them in a place where they’re not exposed to too much sunlight, but can still maintain their moisture levels. Water them more often!
During winter, keep all your air plants indoors. They can’t stand too much cold and they might freeze to death. Your garage is a great place to put your air plants during winter as long as it’s covered.
Groom them once in a while!
Air plants need grooming too! Overtime, your air plant will have dead leaves and new ones. Cut the brown and dead leaves with scissors and trim its edges so it will look better. If your air plant comes with roots, you can also trim them off. Air plants survive even without roots since they don’t depend on it for nutrients.
Air plants can live longer with proper care. Just maintain a consistent temperature for your air plants and make sure you don’t overfeed them with fertilizers.
Are you ready to start your air plant collection? We have a wide variety of DIY terrarium kits perfect for tillandsias! Check out our website to learn more.
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