Most people nowadays have little time available for plant caring, yet their undying love for nature leads them to get a couple potted plants. Everything goes downhill when they don’t specify enough time and effort to provide whatever the plants need, and tragedy strikes: plants die with inadequate care.
This is the main reason behind Air Plants’ popularity. Also known as Tillandsia, these species are not the type you’d find potted. Instead, they can survive just fine in the open air under favorable conditions. However, being titled as ‘Air Plant’ doesn’t mean they do not need anything to thrive and survive on. You’re supposed to take proper care for air plants, unlike their artificial appearances and super sturdy nature, they are indeed living things that require your attention.
If you’ve decided to get a couple air plants to beautify your indoors effortlessly, read through this article and learn how to help these petite and cute plants make it for more than just a limited time.
What are Air Plants?
Being of the epiphyte type, air plants are capable of growing and surviving on any surface they can have access to water and nutrient supplies from. This means you can find them in nature grown on trees or objects. Air plants lack those regular roots you’re expecting to see on a plant; instead they have tiny trichomes located underneath their leaves which helps them absorb water and nutrients efficiently. Air plants should never be planted inside soil, for this can lead to lethal rotting.
How to Care for Air Plants
As mentioned before, air plants are super easy, peasy to grow anywhere. They’ll keep growing happily wherever sunlight can touch; be it your desk, beside a window or on a hanging pot (without soil, obviously). Make sure they receive a good amount of light for about six hours per day.
The comfort temperature zone of air plants is impressively wide. They can survive anywhere from 10˚ to 30˚C. One thing about temperature is that you’ll need to know how often to make your plants drink at different degrees; this means they will need more frequent watering sessions when it’s pretty warm and dry. Likewise, watch how often you water them. This is a basic step at keeping your ultra low-maintenance babies alive and kickin’.
Another major difference between air plants and regular ones, is about the watering. For potted plants you simply pour adequate amount of water onto the soil, but how to water a plant that’s got no soil to begin with? Here’s the trick: you’ll have to submerge your air plants for certain times with proper intervals. Under normal circumstances (i. e. average temperature and humidity) you’ll have to water your air plants every bi-week. Take a bowl regarding the size and number of your plants, fill it with tap water and let those air plants sit for about an hour. Remove them after the required time is passed, place them somewhere safe for the plants’ surfaces to dry completely before returning them back to where you’ve decided for them to live.
Since there’s no soil for this plant to absorb nutrients through, you’ll have to feed them once in a while during watering sessions to ensure proper growth. There are numerous commercial supplement formulas for air plants; consult local gardening shop clerk and they’ll guide you through choosing the right ‘food’ for your green babies. A common air plant supplement is available under the title Bromeliad Mix. Remember not to use excessive amounts of supplements for higher doses may be lethal to your plants.
Air plants have a great potential to be placed inside terrariums and glass globes. They’ll do fine as long as you ensure there’s no moisture inside the medium; excessive humidity can create same conditions as an overly watered plant, leading to rotting and death. If you decide to keep your air plant inside a terrarium or sea urchin (those are becoming a trend, by the way), make sure to let the plants dry completely before placing them back inside. Remember what we said about humidity?
Air plants are slow growers, but you gotta keep an eye on them. When new tissue is produced, older parts will gradually brown and threaten to create an unpleasant rotting spot. Examine your plants every now and then, check if there’s any browning on the outside and cut the old parts with a pair of sharp scissors.
Yes, air plants are capable of developing baby plants or what we call ‘pups’. When they reach maturity, pup blooms will appear onto the mother plant. Wait for the pups to grow at least about 1/3 of the size of their mother and you’ll be fine to remove them as individual plants. You can also leave the pups be as they are; they will form a clump if left untouched. Air plants can be placed where they’ve been all along, free to bloom and have their pups grow into large clumps. Trust us, it’s enchanting to watch such mysterious and fabulous plants grow!