how to care for air plants

How to Care for Air Plants: A Complete Guide

As you look for unique décor ideas for your home, you should consider growing some air plants. These plants are great for interior and exterior décor. However, before you grow air plants in your house, you need to know how to take care of them to remain strong for a long time.

This article offers you a complete guide on how to care for air plants.

What Are Air Plants?

Air Plants

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Also referred to as Tillandsias, air plants are plants that don’t require soil to grow. These varieties of Epiphytes only need a platform on which they can start growing. This doesn’t mean that air plants are parasitic, but they use their hosts for support.

Air plants get their nutrition from the moisture and grime fibers flying in the air. Their roots are applied as a way of attaching themselves to their host objects. These objects could be other plants, flower pots, walls, posts, etc.

Most air plants flower just once in their lifetime. However, they develop whelps or progeny to continue their legacy. These pups can either remain attached to their parents or segregate themselves through a subtle twist and pull action.

This action happens at the bottom of the pup when it’s one-third to one-half the length of its parent. If the pup remains attached to the parent plant, it will just eliminate its parent’s leaves, causing it to wither and die. This way, the pups can quickly fill up the open space left by their parents.

The good thing about air plants is the fact that they can grow almost anywhere. They only need a reliable host to give the necessary support. For instance, add them to your driftwood, old picture frames, flower pots, and seashells.

However, you shouldn’t add your air plants to pressure-treated timber, copper cables, or other copper objects because they contain chemicals that can easily damage the plants. You can also attach the plants to your preferred platforms using special types of glues that are known to be harmless to plants and the environment.

Another notable fact about air plants is that they absorb moisture and nutrients from the air through the leaves. Their roots are only used to attach themselves to their hosts for support. In the woods, you’ll find these plants cohabiting with other trees and rocks.

If you want to grow air plants at home, you can attach them to any platform. These plants aren’t too choosy about their hosts provided they can get sufficient air and light. Remember that they need to access enough air to draw moisture and nutrients from it.

There are hundreds of different species of air plants in the world. These species come in different sizes, colors, shapes, and varieties. So, you have a wide array of plants to choose from for your interior and exterior décor.

So, if you want natural décor elements for your home or office, air plants are a perfect choice. They’re versatile, adaptable, and easy to maintain. Some of the most common air plants that you can grow in your house include caput-medusa, loantha, and aeranthos among others.

Five Tips on How to Take Care of Your Air Plants

Care

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Air plants are simple and easy to maintain. However, there is a lot of misconception around their maintenance, with some people claiming that they don’t need to be watered regularly. Unfortunately, most of these misconceptions have hindered people from taking good care of their air plants.

If you’re having trouble caring for your air plants and would like to know how to go about it, here are some effective ways to maintain the plants.

1. Watering Your Air Plants Regularly

Contrary to what some people believe, air plants require watering regularly. Although air plants draw moisture and nutrients from air, sometimes the moisture in the air may not be enough for your plants.

If you’ve not been watering your air plants consistently and they end up dying, now you know your mistake. Watering your air plants is essential particularly if you’ve planted them indoors where they do not have access to enough air with moisture.

The good thing about these plants is that they do not require too much water to survive. So, a few drops of water every day are enough to sustain the plants till they reach maturity and they develop pups.

Outdoor air plants can go for days without watering, especially if the climate in your area is humid. However, you should water your outdoor air plants in the dry season. Also, avoid watering your air plants with distilled water because it can remove nutrients from the plants through osmosis, causing your plants to die.

2. Ensure Your Air Plants Access Sufficient Air

As mentioned above, air plants survive on the moisture and nutrients they draw from the surrounding air. Therefore, you have to plant your plants in an area where they can easily access sufficient air for survival.

However, this doesn’t mean that air plants can’t survive indoors. They surely can, but you have to ensure that there’s enough air flowing in and out of your house to supply the plants with the necessary food and water. Perhaps your indoor air plants are dying prematurely due to a lack of adequate air.

3. Provide Them with Sufficient Light

Even as you figure out a way to provide your air plants with enough fresh air, make sure they can also access enough sunlight. This is particularly important for indoor air plants. Fortunately, most species of air plants can thrive with filtered light.

So, you don’t have to worry about your indoor air plants not getting enough direct sunlight. You just have to ensure that your house has enough windows to let in light. You can know your air plant’s native habitat by analyzing its leaf color and shape.

Grey and white fuzzy leaves indicate an atmosphere with high-intensity sunshine. Their light colors and vague appearance are attributed to the large trichomes that insulate them from excessive loss of water. Green leaves with broad surfaces indicate a wetter and cooler atmosphere.

4. Give Your Air Plants a Friendly Atmosphere

The temperature in your house should be conducive to your indoor air plants. In most cases, there’s nothing much you have to do to make the atmosphere in your house conducive to your air plants. It should be suitable for your plants if it’s favorable to you and your pets.

Just make sure that the temperatures in your house aren’t too high to suffocate your air plants. Also, most air plants will die if the temperatures outside reach freezing levels or exceed 40 degrees F. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to regulate the temperatures outside.

However, you can prevent your outdoor air plants from dying due to harsh temperatures by choosing plant species that are known to withstand extreme temperatures. One such species is the Spanish Moss.

5. Avoid Harmful Practices

As much as you want to blame the weather for your dying air plants, you also have to take responsibility for your actions. There are many activities you engage in every day that end up hurting your air plants without your knowledge.

For instance, you shouldn’t attach your air plants to anything that has copper because it will destroy them. Also, you shouldn’t overhandle your air plants because you might break their leaves and stalks. Overhandling the plants might also lead to clogging up of the plants’ sensitive leaf surfaces.

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