Is it just me, or are air plants actually kind of hard to keep alive? They are often regarded as ‘easy to care for’ because they can survive a wide range of climates, from tropical rainforests to high altitude deserts. However, without some finesse, air plants can dry out and die, or rot from the root system up.
One common myth about air plants is that they don’t need water. While some air plants are acclimated to survive arid environments, they do still require water to survive. I soak my air plants together in a bowl of water every couple of weeks for about 30 minutes. In the summer months when temperatures get warmer, I increase soakings to weekly. After all, summertime means pool parties! The trick is to let your air plants dry upside down after a good soaking before putting them upright. Air plants lack the ability to draw water out of their root systems. If you place a wet air plant upright, gravity will pull the water back down into the root system potentially leading to root rot. As for light requirements, air plants generally prefer bright, indirect light. My air plants all live in rooms with south or west facing windows.
One of the most interesting things about air plants has to do with their flowers. Air plants will flower only once in their lifetime. This happens when the air plant reaches maturity, signifying the start of the reproductive process. The blooms are very beautiful and range in color and size depending on the species of air plant. Once the flower has died, trim it back and watch for baby air plants to grow. These air plant babies, pups, will slowly grow and mature until they flower and ultimately create pups of their own.
Air plants are very unique plants that add a natural and whimsical element to any space. Using these tips, you can successfully grow air plants in your home and begin to treasure these weird little wonders.