How to Care for Tillandsia (Air Plants)
Tillandsia, or Air Plants, are unlike any other plant. They are very, very hardy plants and require next to no attention at all. They are commonly used in terrariums, hanging glass globes, or even strung up with fishing line to create unique, botanical décor where other plants won’t survive. Bright bathrooms are an ideal location. Get creative and find an unusual spot to display your Tillandsia!
What are Air Plants?
Air plants really are unlike the majority of plants we are used to seeing in homes, and while many people may not yet be convinced that they are alive and growing, we can assure you they are! Air plants are epiphytic, meaning that they absorb all the moisture and nutrients they require from the air around them. They do not require roots to perform this function, as their foliage takes care of all the work. Epiphytic plants such as Tillandsia are also known to grow on other plants such as trees instead of growing in soil like most plants. You may notice that some Tillandsia may have some small, scraggly sets of roots, but these are primarily used to help the plant latch onto whatever plant they are growing on. Tillandsia are native to South and Central America, growing in mountains and forests where humidity is high and light is dispersed.
How to Care for Air Plants
Light Requirements for Air Plants:
Bright, filtered light is best. Keep them away from direct sunlight as this could cause burn damage to their foliage. This means that any north or east-facing windows are well suited for air plants. You can also use them to decorate spaces further away from any south or west-facing windows. They are fairly tolerant of low-light conditions, but keep a close eye on them and adjust their environment if they seem to not be responding well to their surroundings.
Water Requirements for Air Plants:
Air plants love humidity. We highly recommend misting them occasionally (or even daily!). It is also never a bad idea to keep them near a humidifier. Especially in Colorado where our environment is so dry, you can almost never provide too much moisture for tropical plants that are native to places near the equator. It will also be necessary to submerge your air plants in water for 30 minutes to an hour once per week to once every other week. Again, be observant of your plants and note any changes in their behavior. If your air plants begin to react negatively, you may need to switch up your care routine.
How to Tell if Something is Wrong with Your Air Plant:
Fading color or loss of vigor will indicate your air plant needs a different environment. They also may also start to shrivel if they are not receiving adequate moisture. Air plants grow very slowly and can take some time to recover completely, so keep a close eye on them especially if they are new and acclimating to the environment of your home. If your air plant is particularly happy with its environment, it may even decide to produce flowers! This may not happen with all air plants, however it is quite a treat if you do ever get to see your lovely little epiphytes sprout exotic and beautiful little blooms!
Air Plant Care Questions?
If you have any questions about your air plants, let us know! We are happy to help guide you through your plant parenthood journey and will provide you with suggestions and advice whenever you need it. You can also check out our video on How to Care for Air Plants for more information!