Air plant care is a little different from regular plants. Learn how to care for air plants and keep them healthy and lush.
There exist over 650 air plants species that that can do well without soil. It is the perfect choice for gardeners since they are not only unkillable but also they come in different colors and sizes. Even though these plants are the easiest to care for, they do need proper environmental conditions and some care for them to grow and thrive. By the name they are referred to, many people know that they take their nutrients right from the air and don’t require soil but still, they require water, light and other nutrients for them to survive. These are epiphytes plants; they grow without dirt. They usually attach themselves to shrubs, rocks, trees, or even at the ground with their roots.
Air plants care
Care of these plants isn’t such a joke at all, starting right from the environment you stay, methods of watering, light amounts the plant should receive and other factors will provide you best results, here is all it is required for the plants to survive;
Watering air plants
This is the trickiest of all air plant care puzzles to many people. There are those who consider soaking, others swear by misting and also a certain percentage using both. The entire watering procedures become tricky since the needs for different air plant species vary greatly with the amount of space it has covered where it has been placed. So, the first step you should take when you need to water your air plant is evaluating the space the plant has been placed.
Know the amount of light the plant is receiving, the temperature levels at your home at that particular time, identify whether space is dry or very humid.
After all these factors have been taken care of, followed by adopting the kind of watering regimen that will best fit your needs. Follow this guide as your starting point;
- Soak your plant species in water under room temperature at a period. Alternatively, you can do that in pond/rainwater for at least ten minutes.
- After soaking, get your air plant and gently shake out excess water. Turn your plant upside down and place it in a bright space on a towel. This is an important consideration as these plant species die quickly if left to stand with excess water.
- Your air plant should be able to dry up completely from the time soaking ends in a period of no more than three hours. The plant may rot in case it stays wet longer than three hours. To facilitate the process, consider placing it in a brighter place that experiences more air circulation.
- Consider misting the plant once a week thoroughly so that its entire surface is moistened.
- You will need to water your plant in the dryer and hotter seasons and lesser during humid and cooler seasons. All you should ever have in mind is that fireplaces and heaters dry up the air.
- All your watering tasks should be scheduled in the morning hours as evening hours may disrupt the plant’s ability to respire at night, and the drying time will extend.
The best water to use
- Watering these plants don’t require any special kind of water as many people may think of regardless you’re either soaking or misting them. Below is a guide on the type of water you should use for this task;
- Avoid softened water as the presence of salt in it might build up in its leaves
- Avoid distilled water
- Tap water contains chlorine, in case you use it, then you should let it sit for 24 hours at room temperature for chlorine to dissipate.
- The best choice should be either rain/spring water.
- Considering also pond/aquarium water can be a good option as it has dissolved nutrients, but then, after using these waters, avoid any other fertilizers to your plant.
Determining whether your air plant is receiving enough water
If you notice leaf tips of your plant turning crispy or brown, then this is a sign of your plant is not receiving enough water When under-watered, the concave shape of the leaves will tend to become a bit more exaggerated.
It is often too late to save your plant from rotting if it has been over-watered. The plant base will start to turn black and brown, leaves fall out and off, and the plant eventually rots.
The light requirements for air plants
Knowing the amount of light your air plant needs to grow and thrive is essential. For them to do well, they require indirect bright light. They can do well in rooms with windows facing eastwards and southwards since these rooms remain brightly illuminated for most of the day with sun. Windows facing northwards also do well so long as you place the plant near the window and that neighboring complexes or trees do not at all block it. Considering the westward facing windows can be a great mistake as light here tends to come late in the day, and the light can be intense or very hot.
A general rule in place for the gardeners more light can be tolerated by your air plant in the presence of higher humidity levels in a room. Regular misting at least twice a week or even daily is required if the plant has been placed where it receives high amounts of light. Sunny bathrooms make the best room for such plants as most plant misting tasks will be taken care of by the humidity right from your shower.
It has been a concern to experts as many people have asked whether their plants can do well if placed at basement rooms or offices where there is no natural light. An answer to this is that yes they can do but then a gardener should follow some specific rules so that it will grow and thrive successfully.
At the top of these rules is a must have a full spectrum of light. Plants need to photosynthesize, so, you should avoid the regular incandescent bulbs since they have no capability to emit the quality of light that is required for this purpose. The distance from the light source to your plant should be no further than three feet. A minimum of twelve hours is required per day if you will use fluorescent light.
In case you need to have it at your office or stay in a basement room, gardeners are advised to purchase some special bulbs in the market for this task like the Vita-Lite or the Gro-Lux and it will be set on for a period of twelve hours a day for the plant to receive the required amount of light for its survival.
Survival of your plant will go hand in hand their required temperature level requirements. An air plant will not survive at temperatures lower than 45 degrees. These plants can be grown outdoors all year round in warmer zones if you keep it always dry at the winter seasons. Sending up of flowers by this plant is an indication that its growing and thriving well A gardener should snip off air plant flowers once they dry up.
Caring for air plants in Terrariums and Aeriums
- Larger air plant species are capable of standing alone on tabletops or windowsills, but then, there are the smaller species that we admire to add in our rooms. Below is a guide gardeners should follow to care for these plants in glass;
- In case you are capable of removing the plant from its glass container, do it and follow up to soak/mist it. Thereafter allow it to dry before putting it back to its glass container.
- There is a high possibility that a micro-climate will be created keeping this plant in a glass. The glass vessels are known to be hotter and humid than your surroundings.
- Avoid placing glass vessels such close to the window as the rays of the sun are intensified by the glass; you might be frying your air plant.
Caring for mounted air plants
An individual will not be able to soak a mounted plant just the air plants placed in small glass vessels. Mounted air plants require regular misting since they are never contained to humid and micro-climate conditions like the aeriums. Experts advise gardeners to start of misting their air plant species like twice a week and they then adjust to the routine as necessary greatly depending on the period the plant takes to dry up.
Fertilizing air plants
This is not such a difficult task like watering and it is actually not necessary for it to be don. However, if you consider quarterly or monthly fertilizer application routine can be great for the growth of your plant. In case you water your plant using either aquarium/pond water or rainwater there will be no much need to fertilize the plant.
For this task, a gardener should consider either bromeliad fertilizers or an air plant-specific one and application should be done a few times annually. Alternatively, you can apply the regular water-soluble houseplant ones at an amount of a quarter of the strength recommendation.
Diluted fertilizer should be added to the irrigation water, water and feed the plant at that same time This can be done regardless of the method you are using to water your air plant.
Trimming air plants
Your favorite air plant will over time grow new leaves and also loose others. You should be there to trim any dead or brown leaves using a pair of scissors and you should do it at an angle so that an amazing look can be created at its end after trimming. In the market, you will find most of these plants with their roots intact, you can remove these roots if you like to as they are solely in place for anchorage to its host.
What to do with the pups
Air plants will normally start reproducing pups as they run through their bloom cycle. There are two things you can consider to do for the pups; once they reach at around 1/3 size of the main mother plant, you can choose to remove it off or also leave them to form a clump eventually.
Simple tricks to keep an air plant alive
Many people think that simply spritzing their tilly at a certain period interval is enough but then this isn’t all you should do. Considering dunking your air plant at least once per week in a larger container so that they are submerged fully and allow it to sit there can be an important thing you would have don. Ensure you soak your air plant as required overnight always. Doing a several-hour dunking task maybe even just once a week will let your air plant grow and thrive well
Always remember to air dry your air plant
Dampness is the leading rotting factor to the air plants. Gardeners are recommended to ensure their plants fully dries up after they have been soaked. To ensure this is done right, try to gently shake off any excess water and place them on such a bright spot for a period of at least four hours.
Place them in an open vessel
Air plants require proper circulation of air to grow and thrive well A disaster can be spelled to your plant if all time placed in enclosed vessels since these environments encourage stagnant and wet conditions. If you find it’s not nice for you getting an over a glass, consider going for a glass vessel with a wide hole and always ensure your air plant is fully dry before you think of placing them in the glass container.
The task of taking care of air plants is not difficult if you incorporate all these ideas. The amount of light the plant receives, air and water are the key things a garden should be aware of for an air plant to grow and thrive. Adjustments to these three important factors and depending on the environment you stay will ensure you achieve such a healthy air plant.