Air plants are hardy but vulnerable to a number of misconceptions regarding their care. The ability to grow tillandsia in one’s home or garden like any plant requires some study and patience. Below are 5 simple general rules to follow when caring for tillandsia:
1) water your air plant regularly
You will need to regularly water your air plant. There is a widespread misconception that these plants can live without irrigation inside a house or garden. Unless your air plants are growing outdoors in a climate that mirrors their native habitat, water is key! While your specific environment and the species being grown affect watering, there are some basic guidelines that can be followed to keep your tillandsia happy.
Reading: How do you take care of air plants
For indoor cultivation, we recommend submerging the air plant under water once every 7-10 days for 6-12 hours. make sure your soaking container does not have any soaps or chemical residues that could harm your plant. After soaking, make sure your plant dries completely within 4 hours. do this by placing it in a spot with light and air circulation and make sure to turn the plant over and shake off any excess water. Dry air caused by air conditioning and heat makes a light mist from a water bottle or steam from a shower unlikely to satisfy your tillandsia’s water needs for long.
The water quality in order of preference for tillandsia is:
3) let the tap water stand for 15 minutes (so that the chlorine dissipates)
4) never use distillate which will kill your plant by removing nutrients through osmosis)
outdoor watering varies by climate. if it’s hot and dry, regular sprinkling or soaking irrigation may be required, while in a humid, rainy environment irrigation may not be required at all.
2) light up your air plant
Tillandsia light needs vary by species, but all thrive in bright filtered light. This means that when indoors, place your tillandsia within a few feet of a window. Outside, your air plant prefers to be in a spot where it gets light, this can be dappled shade in climates with stronger sunlight and full sun in more temperate climates. morning sun is always safer, but afternoon sun is possible where the weather is mild.
Check the color and shape of your air plant’s leaves to learn the climate of its native habitat. fuzzy gray or white leaves suggest it comes from an environment with high-intensity sunlight. the lighter colors and fuzzy appearance caused by large trichomes insulate the plant from water loss. greener leaves with a larger surface area and less fuzzy appearance indicate a gloomier, wetter native climate.
While sunlight is ideal, a grow light can also be used to meet the needs of your tillandsia. however, a full spectrum light designed for plant growth is required, not simply bright light that does not contain the wavelengths necessary for photosynthesis.
3) let your air plant get some air
Tillandsias are always happier with some fresh air circulation and nutrients from the air. while tillandsia can survive indoors, they will be happiest next to an open window. Air movement over its leaves is vital to its long-term health, so viewing options that restrict it should always be avoided. It’s important to keep in mind this often overlooked component of air plant care, if a permanent location with fresh air is not available, rotating the plant can be a helpful solution.
4) keep your air plant at a comfortable temperature
If you’re comfortable with the temperature, chances are your tillandsia is too. Most will die if temperatures reach freezing and in the high 40s we start to get nervous about leaf damage. On the high end, air plants can tolerate temperatures up to 100 F, as long as it’s properly watered and there’s no direct sun.
5) don’t do this to your air plant
There are also a couple of lesser known ways to damage your air plant that should be avoided. The first is the use of copper wire which is poisonous to tillandsia and should never directly touch the plants with dripping water. other metals are fine, but avoid copper! Another mistake is about managing your air plant. In addition to the potential for blade breakage, oils from our fingers clog the sensitive blade surface. While occasional handling isn’t the end of the world, it’s important to try to wash your hands first or wear gloves when doing so. all airplantman products allow you to water your tillandsia inside a waterproof support, this avoids the need to handle the plant each time you water.