Air plants are a great houseplant for beginners, as they only require 3 main things; watering once a week, bright light, and good air circulation. They are a great plant for collectors as well, as the selection of varieties seems endless.
Air plants are an epiphyte, which means they require no soil or substrate to grow in. They absorb moisture and nutrients through their leaves, using tiny vessels called trichomes, while the roots are mainly used to anchor the plant to an object. In nature, they usually grow on a tree or other plant, they do not take any nutrients from the host plant. This makes them an extremely versatile houseplant—you can put them in pretty much any type of container. They can mounted onto wood, they can be put in macrame, the possibilities are endless.
Care for your Air plants
If you have ever been unsuccessful with air plants, one of the main culprits is lighting. Air plants will thrive in a location with bright, indirect light. Too little light, and your air plant will certainly perish. If you have them in too much direct light you may have to mist the plant a few times a week in between your main watering schedule to keep them happy.
Air plants require a good watering once a week, in proper lighting it would be best to water 2 – 3 times a week. While they are low maintenance, and can survive through long periods of drought, they will never thrive when under constant drought stress. The best way to water an air plant is to either give them a thorough rinsing under water, or letting them soak for about 20- 30 minutes. Shake your air plant lightly after watering. This will remove any excess water.
If you usually have your air plant in a jar or displayed where their is poor air circulation, let your air plant dry for about 3-5 hours before you place them back in their container. If you have a full sun location, you may want to mist your air plant in between your waterings. Every 2 to 3 weeks, soak your air plant for up to 2 hours.
As air plants grow, it is natural for some lower leaves to dry out and brown over time. Usually these leaves can be pulled gently off the plant. If the leaf tip has dried out don’t worry, you can cut it off and pretend those few missed waterings never happened.
Air plants can be quite forgiving, and with a good watering schedule and haircuts your airplants will thrive in your home. With their versatility, textures and color variations they are a great plant to start collecting. We dare you to try one, it’s like a lays potato chip—you can’t just have one.