Air Plant Care

Caring for your brand new air plants

Yay, they've arrived! After you've unpacked your plants and spent sufficient time marveling at their unique beauty (and possibly giving them names), give them a good soak in a water bath (submerged in the water) for about 20-30 minutes. Shake gently to remove any excess water, and set in a spot with bright light and good air circulation to dry off. Follow the directions below for ongoing care of your plants.

Light

Air plants should be kept where they'll receive bright, indirect sunlight or under fluorescent home/office lighting. Periods of direct sunlight are just fine, but more than a few hours of hot sun will deplete the plants of their moisture. If your plant will be in a spot with some pretty direct light, try misting them every couple of days to keep them hydrated.

Water

Air plants live on air, right? Uh, not right! While air plants don't grow in soil, they definitely NEED to be watered. While the plants can survive for long periods of drought, they will not grow or thrive and will eventually die off if water is too scarce. Follow the directions below for watering your plants on a regular basis and they will stay alive and well for quite some time. The good news is that since these plants are very forgiving, you shouldn't stress over their care schedule. There's certainly no need to get a babysitter when you go on vacation.

How do I Water my Plants?

Read About the Soaking Method

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How often do I water my air plants?

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 are in a drier, hotter climate, more frequent watering or misting will be needed. You'll begin to notice that after watering, your plant's leaves will feel stiffer and full of water and they'll be softer and lighter in color when they're in need of water. Wrinkled or rolled leaves can be a sign of dehydration.

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Temperature

Air plants will do best in generally warm conditions (a good range is 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit). In frost-free or nearly frost-free climates they can live outside for the entire year. Like most house plants, they can be taken outside on a porch or balcony for the warm season, just don't expose them to temperature or sun extremes. 

Grooming & Aesthetic Maintenance

Everyone needs a little grooming once in a while! It is normal for some of the lower leaves of your tillandsias to dry out as the plant grows or acclimates to a new environment, and those leaves can be gently pulled right off of the plant. If the leaf tips have dried out, you can snip the dried tip off (try trimming at an angle to leave a natural-looking pointy tip), and the same can be done for the plant's roots. Don't worry about harming your plants during grooming--they'll regrow.

Fertilizer

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Life Cycle

Blooming

Tillandsias are tropical plants that usually live for several years and will bloom and produce flowers only one time during their lifetime. The flowers are striking and brilliantly colored, and the bloom period will last several days to many months, depending on the species. Different species bloom at different times, also depending on their care and environment. A plant will most likely go into bloom sometime between mid-winter and mid-summer.

Pups

Read About Air Plant Propogation

Clumping

Tillandsias can grow into clumps if the pups are left to grow on the parent plant. Clumps can also be created by wiring multiple plants together, as they'll begin to grow into and around each other.

Mounting

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Can my air plants live outdoors?

Sure! Can't you imagine admiring a beautiful hanging Stricta clump while sitting out on the porch enjoying an evening cocktail? The most important need for the plant will be bright, filtered light, so a patio or deck spot where they'll get indirect sunlight would be the best spot. They'll need to be watered more often than plants kept inside, especially in dry periods, so grab the garden hose or dunk them in the pond, whatever is easiest. Make sure the plants are drying out within about 4 hours after being watered, especially after any long, soaking rains.

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