Air plants, also called tillandsias, is considered to be one of the easier houseplants to care for. They are hardy plants that are doing the very best of indirect sun light, air circulation, and plain water.
The plants like bright places with indirect sunlight. Of course there is the opportunity to optimize the lighting conditions at home using lights that are designed for plants. Direct sunlight can burn the tips of the leaves, especially if the leaves are thin. Plants with thick leaves will therefore be better in windows with direct sunlight. Generally speaking, the lighter the plant is it will need more sunlight and vice versa.
Good air circulation is a must for the plant to thrive. If you have a plant in a closed box with a lid you can benefit from letting it open now and then. Also make sure that the plant is dry after watering before putting it back into a box.
It is easy to believe that air plants just need air but it is not the whole truth. They also need water. There are a few different ways, but the best is to try things out and see what works best for you and your plants. An easy way to meet their water needs is to mist them once or twice a week. But it works just as well to give them a bath in about 20-30 minutes every other week. During the dry winter months we usually leave them during the night in a bath, every second/third week (except Xerographica, that doesn´t really like spending the night submerged). Most importantly, let them dry out properly in the base to avoid decay. Shake off excess water and let gravity take care of the rest by allowing them to be up and down until they look dry.
SOME SIMPLE TRICKS
A healthy air plant will have wide open leaves while a dehydrated air plant will have closed and curled leaves. So if your plant looks a bit "thirsty" you can leave them in bowl for a longer soak of a few hours. Just be sure to dry off the plants completely afterwards.
If some of the lower leaves of your air plant have dried out, you can easily and gently pull off those withered stems. Don´t be afraid to cut the tips of leaves that have dried out. This will not harm your plant and the leaves will grow back.
If you are lucky your air plants will eventually produce little sprouts, or “pups”, from their base. When the pup reaches ⅓ of the size of the adult plant you can gently separate it by pulling it apart from the parent plant.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS
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Air plants are social little ones who will eat your dust and provide your home with fresh air. Feel free to give them a name and talk to them regularly as they do like to have many friends and love to be handled gently!