Caring for your Air Plant
Air plants, or Tillandsias, are adorable and "almost un-killable" plants that acquire most of their nutrients from (you guessed it!) the air around them. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and textures - some are smooth, some are fuzzy and some even look spiky. It's been known that there are over 550 species of different Air plants!
Some Air plants are also capable of flowering, but only once in their lifetimes, and sadly, all good things come to an end: after flowering, the Air plant enters old age and eventually dies. However, not all's lost! Air plants will reproduce and tiny 'babies' will appear. Harvest them and they'll eventually grow to become full-sized Air plants, and the cycle repeats.
As plants that came from tropical climates, Air plants love humid and warm temperatures. In this post we'll include tips to upkeep your Air plant babies!
Bright, indirect light would be ideal for your Air plant, so you can put it somewhere in your room or office near a window. More than a few hours in direct sunlight can cause your air plant to lose its moisture.
When you first receive your Air plant, give it a 20 - 30 minutes soak then shake off the excess water gently. Do not ever attempt to grow them in soil!
Subsequently, you can give it a long 2-hour soak every 2 - 3 weeks. Apart from that, using a fine mist spray, water your Air plant once a week. In a drier environment, mist it 2 - 3 times a week. When its leaves turn soft, flaccid or lighter in colour, it's telling you that it needs more water.
Fertiliser is not necessary, but is good for keeping your Air plant in tip-top shape! There are Air plant-specific fertilisers (or a Bromeliad fertiliser) that you can use once a month, if not you can use a normal water-soluble plant fertiliser at 1/4 of its normal strength. Be careful, too much fertiliser can cause fertiliser burn!
Check out our recommended fertiliser here.
Good news! Coming from a tropical climate, your Air plant will be able to tolerate anything from 10°C to around 32°C, the range of temperatures of the rainforest. In fact, Air plants enjoy fluctuations in temperatures as this mimics rainforest temperature cycles. Your Air plants will be happy to be in your air-conditioned office!
Close to its bloom time, your Air plant will produce little 'babies' that can be easily separated by pulling the baby away from the parent at their bases. It's best to do this when the baby is about a third the size of the parent. You can also use a razor blade to separate them.
Wrinkled or rolled leaves: Dehydrated, water more frequently.
Rot at base of Air plant: Much too frequent watering with insufficient time between to dry. Normally occurs in terrariums or enclosed spaces where ventilation is poorer, hence water gets trapped in the Air plant's base.
Ready to care for an Air plant? Get one here.
P.s. Don't be afraid to give it a little grooming - you can trim off browning leaf tips and unruly roots to keep your Air plant tidy and cute!