My first introduction to air plants took place some 15 years ago when someone passed me an air plant before flying overseas. In the midst of all the goodbyes, I barely had a chance to ask him how to care for air plants. I wrongly assumed that air plants simply live on air and nothing else! Needless to say, my air plant didn’t live long.
Since then, I have made an effort to learn a thing or two about how to care for air plants . Here’s what I now know, and it turned out to be really easy!
Air plants do not like soil
Air plants (or Tillandsias) absorb water and nutrients through their trichomes, which are the hair-like substance on their leaves. Trichomes bascially act as sponges which absorb water, just like roots. Never plant your air plants in soil as this will cause your air plant to rot and die.
Air plants love humidity
Since air plants absorb moisture from the air, kitchens and bathrooms are the best places to have them in your home. They also like good circulation around them. However, do not place them near heating or cooling vents.
Water your air plant
In their natural habitat, air plants absorb moisture from rain, dew and decaying leaves around them. Since this is not available in a home environment, we need to take steps to ensure that our air plants have sufficient water.
If your air plant lives in a dry environment, it is a good idea to water it regularly. Although an air plant can live without water for some time, it will only be surviving, not thriving. Lightly misting your air plant every 2 to 3 days will do the trick.
Air plants prefer warmer temperatures
Air plants are native in deserts, forests and mountain regions of Central and South America. As such, they prefer a temperature range of 50 to 90 degrees F (or 10 to 32 degrees C). Air plants do not like frost and prolonged exposure to low temperatures, which will result in leaf damage.
Air plant need nutrients
Air plants are able to absorb nutrients in their natural environment from decaying leaves. Since this source of nutrients is not readily available in a home environment, it will be a good idea to use a water-soluble fertilizer formulated specifically for air plants, and mist your plants with them once a month.
Now that you know how easy it is to care for air plants, here’s an assorted pack of 8 air plants to get you started!
Or if you prefer surprises, you could consider the monthly air plant gift subscription box!
And finally, consider getting cholla wood on which to place your air plant!