Air plants do not live on air despite their name! They do need water and sunlight in order to maintain health. When compared to other plants, air plants are by far the least intensive — as far as care. Very minimal effort is needed and this guide will go over the do’s and don’ts in air plant care.
DO. Transition your new plant properly
When you first buy an air plant, whether it’s by mail or at a store, give it a good soaking for 20 minutes in room temperature water. It’s recommended to use filtered water, rain water or room temperature tap water.
After soaking, let it air dry. It’s important to let it completely dry before placing inside a terrarium. There might be portions of an air plant terrarium (since air plant terrariums are typically dry) that you might not want to get wet.
DO. Create a watering schedule
It varies as to how often you should water your air plant and mostly depends on the climate in which you live. If it’s very dry, you can spritz it 2-3 times or more per week with a misting bottle (make sure the whole plant gets soaked) or dunk it in water for 10-20 min once per week. In environments with more moisture in the air you might only need to spritz once per week.
If you notice the leaves of your air plant start to get thin, that’s a sign of dehydration — meaning it’s time to get it soaked. It might be too late for the air plant pictured above (right). It is severely dehydrated compared to the (left) plant. The plant on the right might eventually brown up completely, in which case it will turn into the plant below.
When your air plant turns brown and starts getting a crispy texture like the above pictured plant, then sadly, it’s time to say goodbye. Air plants are not immune to sickness and death. Even the best care can’t protect the health of all your plants — it’s just a natural factor.
DO. Fertilize your air plants
I am a big believer in fertilizing your air plants as it does help the bloom cycle. Remember, air plants bloom throughout the year and a good fertilizer aids that process as well as overall health. Air plants belong to the family Bromeliad (the same as orchids). So if you are looking for a good fertilizer, a good ole bromeliad or exotic plant fertilizer will do and can be purchased fairly cheap online.
DON’T. Let your air plants sit in soil
An important point to know is that air plants absorb water through their leaves, not their roots. Therefore, never plant them in wet soil with other plants. Air plants are not ground plants — hence the name!
I hope these tips help when figuring out how best to care for your air plants. It can be a little trial/error in the beginning, but you will be able to tell by the leaves, whether or not the plants are in good health. Air plants are very easy and forgiving to take care of so don’t fret if you don’t exactly have a green thumb!