Tillandsias, more commonly known as “air plants”, are one of the easiest to care for indoor house plants. As a nice side perk, they are also very fun to raise. Read the 5 tips below and in no time you can make your air plants thrive under your care.
1. Air plants need more than just air
Air plants need more than just air despite their name.
Just like any other house plant, air plants need water and light to thrive. What makes air plants so unique are that they can grow without any soil.
Display your air plant on a piece of driftwood or hang up your air plant with a sea urchin! There is no need to pot up or add air plants in soil.
Your air plants will thrive with some bright, indirect natural light or fluorescent light. Air plants only need to be soaked once a week for about 30 minutes.
2. Give your air plants a good soak
Make sure the entire plant is submerged in water when you soak an air plant.
Air plants are covered with fuzzy “trichomes”. These trichomes help air plants absorb water through the surface of the plant. So make sure you wet the entire air plant and not just the root area. Avoid soaking bulbous plants and instead give them a good spray down to avoid root rot.
We typically recommend soaking for 30 minutes at a time.
Air plants can arrive quite dehydrated due to transit from shipping. For freshly shipped air plants you can soak them for up to an hour and a half in a bowl of dechlorinated water upon immediately receiving it in the mail.
3. Dry your air plants thoroughly
Be sure to let your air plants dry completely after each watering. Keeping the air plants wet are one of the most common causes of root rot, which kills air plants.
As much as air plants love water, air plants need to dry quickly (within 3 hours of watering) after each soak. If your air plants do not dry properly the bottom of the air plant will usually turn dark brown and soft/mushy followed by withering of the plant. These are signs of root rot. Root rot is a common cause of air plant death. Fungus attacks or root rot causes irreversible harm to the air plant.
To avoid this from happening gently shake off any extra water after each soaking. Dry your air plant upside down somewhere with good air circulation for 2 hours. Be cautious when your air plants sit in a puddle of water or have water trapped in between the leaves for a prolonged amount of time.
4. Indirect bright light is best for air plants
Air plants love indirect bright light. Display your air plant somewhere near a window that lets in natural lighting. You can also keep your air plants in partial shade outdoors in the warmer months.
Fluorescent lighting works just as well for growing air plants if you are in an enclosed office or space.
Most air plants do well with very bright but not direct light. Exposing your air plant to direct sunlight can burn the air plant or dehydrate your air plant excessively.
5. Keep your air plants warm during the winter
Air plants are very hardy in general but they do have to be kept warm in the cold seasons. Protect your air plants from freezing temperature by bringing them indoor during winter.
The ideal temperature for air plants is between 50-80 °F.
Be sure to add a heat pack when shipping air plants in the colder months to avoid dissapointing frostbitten plants.