Some people have a knack for being able to keep houseplants alive, and then there are others that have absolutely no luck with keeping plants alive. For those with a “black thumb” air plants, aka tillandsias, are a great option to add some greenery to your décor.
Air plants don’t require soil to live and are quite easy to care for. Small scales on their leaves, called trichomes, absorb water and nutrients from the air; their roots are only used for clinging to supports. Some basic care will help your plants thrive.
1. Air circulation
Constant air circulation is important for good growth. Avoid putting plants in an enclosed container that limits air flow to the plant.
2. How to water
Air plants need to be watered every 2-3 days, with a good soaking every couple of weeks. Rinse them under water or let them soak in a water bath for up to 12 hours. They will only absorb the water they need. Mist plants a few times a week if they are growing inside globes or displays.
3. Types of water
Room temperature tap or rainwater is adequate for watering. Avoid softened water as the salt concentration is too high for air plants.
4. Low nitrogen fertilizer
Air plants don’t need nitrogen, so fertilizer “weakly” using a low-N fertilizer source once or twice a month. A plant specific fertilizer for air plants or orchids works well.
Keep air plants warm! They come from tropical locations and are accustomed to temperatures between 50-90°F. They prefer temps over 60°F and shouldn’t be placed near air conditioning vents or cold winter windows.
6. Light requirements
Extended periods of bright, direct sunlight will dry air plants out. Place them near windows or artificial light sources where they can receive a 1-3 hours of filtered, direct light every day.
7. Grooming dried leaves
Lower leaves can dry out as the plants grow. Remove them gently when necessary. Snip off dried out leaf tips and roots as they occur.
8. Removing pups
When the plants bloom, they will produce offshoots commonly known as “pups”. When they are about 1/3 the size of the parent plant remove them gently to start a new plant.
9. Clumping plants together
To create large displays of plants, leave pups on the parent plant, or wire multiple plants together. As time goes on they will grow together and/or around each other.
10. Creating displays
Since air plants do not need containers for soil, they can be mounted to almost any surface you want to utilize. Use the base of the plant and attach them using hot glue, liquid nails, fishing line or any non-copper wire.
These tips will help create gorgeous air plants to use as décor in your house! Add some greenery and amaze your friends that you can grow plants without soil.
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