Now that you have or are interested in having an air plant, you'll want to take good care of your investment. Air plants are generally quite hardy as long as you remember just a few things. Air plants need water but can't stand in water. Air plants need light but direct sunlight is too much. Air plants benefit from feeding.
Step 1: Watering Your Air Plant
- Choose a container that is deep enough to hold your air plants when completely submerged. Rainwater is best, but room temperature tap water, left standing for at least an hour to allow the chlorine to disperse is acceptable for watering your plants. Never use distilled or soft water which contains salts.
- Carefully lower your air plant in to the water, swishing gently to remove any dust or debris. Leave your Airplant submerged for at least 30 minutes, preferably 2 to 4 hours, once every other week.
- Carefully remove your plant from the container once the watering interval is complete. Shake carefully to remove as much of the water as possible. Place your plan carefully on an elevated surface so that the plant can dry gradually without standing in water. If your Plant dries to quickly it is not absorbing the necessary moisture. Ideally your plant will dry within four hours but if it dries in under an hour it will not be sufficiently hydrated. Proper air circulation without drafts is ideal for drying.
- Once your air plant is nearly dry or almost completely dry you may put it back where it lives. Check on your plant later to make sure water hasn't collected and your container. Your plant will die if left standing water.
- Remember what your air plant looks like when freshly hydrated and if it begins to look dry or dull, mist it just a bit to raise the humidity. Do not mist it to the point where it is soaking.
Step 2: Choosing a Spot for Your Air Plant
- Your air plant generally needs bright but indirect light. In the house, choose the brightest room and place your plant outside of the direct rays of the sun. If you're placing your air plant in one of the glass bubbles that are so popular right now, remember that sunlight is intensified by glass.
- You may rest your plant in a bowl or mount it on a piece of soft wood or bark. I lay mine in a bowl filled with marbles to support the plant in the desired position without damaging the leaves. If you mount your Plant on wood, I do not recommend that you glue it or wire it in place. I recommend that you form a supporting structure by placing nails at the sides and bottom of the plant. Do not staple or nail through the living tissue of the plant or it very likely will die.
- Air plants are not frost hardy but thrive in bright shade and humid summer days. I have seen dozens of air plants hung on a wide net, like a trellis made of fishing line. The place your air plant in a outdoor location, they will need to be misted every day.
- Balls made of air plants have become popular. If you choose to construct a living ball, use a glue that is not water-soluble such as Liquid Nails or Weld Bond. Do not use superglue or copper wire as they will damage your plant.
- Do not surround your air plant with Moss or anything that causes moisture to collect. Where you place or mount your airplane, remember soaking it every two weeks.
Step 3: Fertility
- Once a month, use an orchid or bromeliads fertilizer to encourage blooming.
- Your plant will only bloom once and then it will die. Now, how long that takes and what happens in the meantime depends upon you. Enjoy your bloom and once it ha faded, carefully pinch and pull down to remove the bloom. If it's too tough, cut in a downward direction to remove the bloom.
- Your Plant should form, "pups". Once the pup is roughly 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the mother plant, carefully pinch to remove it, but don't rush the pup The mother plant will continue to make additional pups until it dies (as long as two years from bloom time) if you remove them. If you choose to leave it at the cluster, it might produce another one or two but isn't it better to have four or more?
Step 4: Miscellaneous Care
- When the mother plant is getting ready to put out a pup, leaves at the bottom may begin to brown. Resist the urge to remove them. Trim them for a tidy appearance. As the mother plant begins to die leaves will turn brown.
- Pull gently to remove brown leaves and if they are dead, they will come away easily. If they resist, they're not truly dead yet, so do not pull them.