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Air Plants are known to be low maintenance and easy to care for. While this is true, there is the danger that one might think the plant only needs air to survive.
That would be too easy. Just putting your air plant on a shelf and forgetting about it, will quickly lead to a shriveled and dried up air plant. And who wants that? Not me.
All you need to do is give your air plant a little special attention for it to grow and thrive.
How to care for Tillandsia air plants
Air Plants are so easy to care for because they don’t need any soil to grow. Air plants absorb all their moisture and nutrients through their leaves.
All you need to provide them with is good air circulation, bright light and water.
How to water Air Plants
Now that you know air plants need more than just air, the next thing is to figure out how and when to water your air plants.
The number one reason air plants die indoors is that they are not getting sufficient water. Even if you’re misting them weekly, you will find that most air plants will still dry out.
What you want to do is give them a nice soak at least once a week.
- Submerge your air plant in a bowl of water (preferably rain water).
- After about 30 minutes, remove your air plant from the bowl and carefully shake off excess water.
- Place upside-down on a paper towel until it is completely dry.
How often you need to do this depends on the season. In summer you will need to water them more often than when it is winter. And think about how dry the air is where you live. You might need to soak your air plants twice a week when you have very dry air.
The best thing is to pay attention to your plant to determine when it’s time for a bath. Does the air plant look dull? Does it feel dry?
Your air plant will thank you and immediately turn a more vivid color and look fresh again.
Where to keep your air plants
Since air plants don’t need any soil, you can display your air plants in many creative ways throughout your home.
Where ever you want to put your air plant, just make sure it has good air circulation and the right light.
Related: 10 Easy Air Plant Display Ideas
The right light for your air plant
Air plants do best in bright light. So place them somewhere where they get a lot of indirect sunlight. Some direct morning sun is ok, but avoid the afternoon heat.
When your air plant gets too much sun, the leaves can dry out and suffer from sunburn. On the other hand, when your air plants get too little light, they will slow their growth and their leaves will be lackluster in color.
Give your Air Plant some Air
Air plants need air.
Sounds like a no-brainer right? You would think so. But I keep seeing air plants being sold in all kinds of glass terrariums. Pretty? Yes. But not the best option for air plants.
If you want your air plant to thrive, good air circulation is a must. You don’t want it in an enclosed terrarium.
Air plants need air flow around them to keep them dry between waterings. Without it, there’s a good chance they rot and whither away.
How to Care for a large air plant (Tillandsia xerographica)
With it’s impressive size and unique shape, the Tillandsia xerographica is a true statement piece. Caring for a large air plant is similar to caring for the smaller Tillandsias.
When I first got my air plant queen it took me a moment to get to know her. But we quickly became friends. She is now about 12″ wide, and started blooming.
Good air circulation and completely drying out after watering is even more crucial with a large size air plant. More spaces for water to settle and start rot.
A large air plant will tighten and curl up more when it wants water, and hang more loose when it’s hydrated.
Your regular kitchen bowl might not be big enough to soak this size of an air plant. So fill your sink all the way up and turn it in a Tillandsia Spa. In general, these air plants need a little less water than the smaller air plants. A good dunk should be enough.
Blooming flowers on an air plant
One last thing: If you are lucky enough to have a blooming air plant, big or small, make sure the blooms don’t get wet when you water. The bract, or the flower stalk, can last several months, the actual flowers are open for a few days. Make them last longer by keeping them dry.
When the flowers have finished blooming and the bract starts to dry up, you can remove the entire stalk by carefully cutting it off at the base.