Air plants have been having quite a moment now for the past few years. These tiny plants are relatively easy to take care of and don’t need any soil. As the name implies, air plants absorb nutrients and water from the air through scales on their leaves and come in a variety of colours and shapes.
Native to warm, humid climates located in North and South America, the genus Tillandsia has over 600 different species of epiphytes or air plants. An epiphyte is a plant that grows above the ground on another plant in a non-parasitic way. Tillandsia are called air plants because the nutrients they need to survive come from the air as opposed to soil. While air plants do have roots, they are only for clinging to the plants they grow on.
Air plants reduce both dust and pollutants in the air, so they are an ideal plant for allergy sufferers. They also reduce carbon dioxide and increase levels of oxygen.
However, many people who buy air plants complain that they don’t last. So here are some air plant care tips to help your little plant live a long and healthy life.
Does My Air Plant Need Soil?
Air plants do not need soil because they grow above ground. In fact, soil can be deadly to air plants. The nutrients they require can only be supplied by the atmosphere, including circulation, humidity, and rain.
Does My Air Plant Need Light?
All plants need the sun and air plants are not an exception. They need bright, indirect, filtered light. So if you are growing them indoors, it is ideal to keep them in a room with either southern or northern exposure, because light from the east or west is usually too dim or too direct.
Temperature and humidity are just as important to an air plant as proper light exposure is, so make sure you aren’t blasting air conditioner on or the little fella isn’t going to last long.
Does My Air Plant Need Water?
A common misconception is that air plants don’t need water. Many people are under the impression that they need minimal water to survive, but every species of air plant actually has specific water needs.
Your plants should be watered once per week, and 2-3 times is recommended for optimal care. A longer, 2-hour soak is recommended every 2-3 weeks. If you live in a drier, hotter climate, more frequent watering or misting will be needed.
There is one method of watering that works for most types of air plants, however. As a general rule of thumb, remove your air plant from its container, then submerge it in room temperature tap water or ideally, rainwater for an hour. Shake the plant properly and allow it to drip dry to avoid any stagnant water collecting on its leaves or in its crevices to prevent rotting.
Your air plant will let you know if it needs water more often – the tips of its leaves will turn brown and curl, or if you are over-watering it – its leaves may turn brown or start to look soggy.
Why Is My Air Plant Dying?
If you recently lost an air plant, it was probably due to rot. It’s typically the biggest cause of death in Tillandsia plants. Overwatering your plants is the main cause. Just like succulents, air plants store water in their leaves which may sustain them for as long as two weeks. Other causes are cold air and low air circulation and a lack of humidity.
What’s The Best Place For My Air Plant?
Air plants are great in your bedroom because they photosynthesise at night. Which essentially means that while you sleep, they emit fresh oxygen into the air.
Air plants also do well in bathrooms because of the humidity. Since they absorb moisture from the surrounding air, you are essentially watering them every time you take a shower.
We hope these tips help you keep your air plant alive and healthy for years to come.