Air plants, also known as Tillandsia, are a kind of epiphytes. The plants are well known for their thick, silvery foliage and vivid flowers, but these unique plants don’t require any soil to grow, however, they still require a place to hang-out. Unlike traditional plants, air plants are not parasites, meaning they do not get their nutrients from their host. Even though they have roots, the roots are used for anchoring rather than getting nutrients. These plants get all their water and nutrient requirements from absorption through their leaves.
When grown indoors, these plants make a striking addition to your indoor décor. They have different appearances and can be used to decorate different rooms in a house. Just like any other house plant, these plants require some care to thrive.
So how do we take care of Air Plants...
Water is crucial to the survival of air plants. When they receive the water in sufficient quantities, their silvery leaves are very beautiful. You need to mist them every few days, especially if they're exposed to dry indoor environments or drying winds.
These plants also require regular deep-water hydration, especially if there are signs of drying out. To give an air plant a bath, submerge the whole plant in clean, room-temperature water for about 30 minutes. Make sure the flowers are not submerged or they will die prematurely. Shake off any excess moisture, let dry and then return your plant to their home. Soak your plants once every month.
The plants are very sensitive to the chemicals in water. if you use tap water, let it sit overnight so the chemicals evaporate. Water with a PH higher than 8 or softened water which is high in salt is deadly to these plants. Bottled water works well and rain water is even more effective.
Air plants require indirect or partial sunlight to grow. When indoors, keep them no more than 10 feet from the window. A simple fluorescent light will also work well. However, be sure not let the plant stay exposed to direct sun for too long, as it might suffer from leaf burn.
Dealing with Pups
These plants produce beautiful, long-lasting flowers, before producing pups (baby air plants). The plants will grow 2-8 pups. The pups can be left on the parent plant to give a fuller appearance, or can be removed to create separate plants. If you want to remove the pups, make sure they are at least 1/2 the parent’s size. This ensures the pups are strong enough to live on their own.
Air plants rarely require pruning thanks to the natural dense, tidy growth pattern. However, they require occasional grooming to restore their beautiful appearance. Remove all dead, dry or brown leaves from your air plant. Cut back any dead or brown tips until what is left is a healthy growth. Trim any unsightly growth of, if you wish, roots from your plant. When pruning use sharp pruning shears. I like to use a small pair of surgical scissors.
Air plants in captivity need minimal supplemental nutrients to flourish. Feeding these plants differs from many others because of the epiphytic nature. Their own roots are very sensitive and can't absorb urea like the terrestrial plants. You can feed them with urea-free fertilizer with N-P-K analysis of '30-10-10'. Orchid fertilizer works well when diluted. Mix this fertilizer at ¼ the recommended strength. Dissolve the fertilizer in one gallon of water. Mist the fertilizer solution onto the plant’s leaves until they’re saturated, or just add to the monthly soaking bath.
Air plants experience few problems. They don’t suffer from chronic diseases and insects and pests rarely bother them because the do not grow in soil. For a healthy air plant, the entire plant requires access to free air. Grow the plants mounted on some wood or any other organic material, or place the plants on top of stones or sand, like in our Terrarium Globes. Avoid putting your plants vessels that allow water to collect, as this will surely kill you plants.
Air plants are ideal for those who have a phobia for houseplants but would still like to enjoy the luxury of modern beautiful home decor. These exotic plants are easy to grow and are quite tidy since they can grow and thrive without soil. They are becoming quite popular and readily available for purchase even in online markets. However, not all may be reputable dealers and a reputable one is highly recommended. Plantstr is a great choice, and you can check out their prices and stock. There is a large variety to choose from plus customer satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. You will get fresh air plants straight from the green house. However I must warn you, choosing is definitely going to be hard. They are all so adorable.
What makes air plants exotic plants is their ability to survive long on neglect. They are warm weather tolerant hence the fancy attribute. However, as much as they are easy to grow certain important guidelines should be strictly followed to take care of them and in turn keep your home's elegance. First, as the name suggests, constant air supply is a vital need for these exotic plants. It is important to ensure that your air plant are put in properly aerated areas of your home. If not create necessary vents to ease in air supply. As I mentioned earlier, air plants are dependent on warm weather and will die if kept in places where temperatures are below 45 degrees. If you live in temperate areas you can grow the air plants even outside your house provided that you protect them from the cold during the winter.
Like other plants, air plants also require fertilizer. You should try to fertilize your air plants at least once a week. The fertilizer should be a liquid low-level nitrogen mixed at only a quartrer strength. Another vital requirement you should consider when taking care of your air plants is moisture. Moisturizing the exotic plants should be done daily unless it is winter, in which case moisturizing twice or once a weak will be fair.
Despite being warm-weather tolerant, air plants should be protected and kept away from direct sunlight. In outdoor environments they will thrive best in partial or dappled shades. Indoor environments should be brightly lit and the lights filtered appropriately.
Reputable dealers are very important too. They offer the best deals and discounts in the first place. Secondly, air plants are quite delicate and so this requires you to liaise with reputable dealers when purchasing them. Reputable dealers usually have the best grown and disease free air plants available in stock. Reputable dealers also offer invaluable advice on how you can handle or take care of these exotic plants. Lastly a reputable dealer will surely come in handy when you need assistance in choosing an air plant that may suit your home and needs.