Caring for Tillandsias can be quite tricky compared to other houseplants. But they are very hardy and don't need much intervention to thrive, making the ideal plant to care for, especially to beginner gardeners or busy office workers.
But no matter how resilient Tillandsias are, they too still need some tender, love, and care. So below, we have shared some tips and tricks that could help you properly take care of them.
General Tillandsia Care
Once you receive your Tillandsias, give them a good 2-3 hours soak in a water bath. This would help them recover from the stressful journey they have experienced and easily cope up with their new growing environment.
Once you are done giving them a water bath, place your Tillandsias in a spot with bright light and good air circulation to dry off. Make sure to remove any excess water by shaking them gently before doing so.
After this step, you may proceed in following the care instructions below to properly grow your Air Plant.
Outdoor Care Instructions
In general, air plants need bright, indirect, or filtered light from April to October to thrive. However, this still depends on the variety of what air plant you have and as well as the humidity of its growing environment. For example, in a mild environment, they can tolerate periods of direct sunlight in the morning, but more than a few hours of hot sun can fry them. If you live in a more humid environment, which usually happens from November through March, air plants can typically handle more direct sunlight, as they are not to dry out quickly during these times.
Watering air plants is the trickiest part of taking good care of them. But as a rule of thumb, water your air plant thoroughly at least 2 to 3 times a week. However, in a dry, hot climate, on the other hand, you may need to water them as much as 2 times a day, or once or twice a week in a cool, humid environment.
In case your Tillandsias become too dry or desiccated, they will benefit from an occasional soaking in a bucket of water overnight (do not do this with Tillandsia Xerographica, Streptophylla, or Magnusiana, as this may result in leaf damage). However, for routine watering, they should be able to dry out in 4 hours or less to avoid rotting. We prefer to use reverse osmosis water with a dilute solution of fertilizer every time we water.
Just make sure to keep an eye on your air plant. If you see that they begin to show signs of Wrinkled or rolled leaves, or suddenly become lighter in color, then it means that they are in need of water. But if you notice that the base of your air plant start to turn dark then the leaves fall out from the middle, then you are already overwatering your air plant. You can learn how to save an over or underwatered airplant in our other blog here.
For what watering techniques and types of water you can use with your air plants, read our WATERING AIR PLANT 101 blog.
When it comes to temperature, air plants are pretty much easygoing. They can be kept outdoors all year-round as long as they are protected from frost. Just keep in mind that the optimum temperature range for Tillandsias is 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and about 10 degrees cooler during night time.
Tillandsias do not require fertilizing. In fact, they can survive without one, though it is a great way to keep them happy, and as well as encourage them to bloom and produce offsets (pups) more vigorously.
To feed your air plant, just add a pinch of Bromeliad fertilizer or an air plant-specific fertilizer to your water and apply it into your watering regiment at least once or twice a month. You can also use a regular water-soluble houseplant fertilizer at 1/4 of the recommended strength.
Good air circulation also plays an important role when caring for air plants. How? Well, unlike any other houseplants, air plants have small hairs on the leaves called trichomes, which helps them absorb as much nutrients from the air as possible, and needs a good airflow for them to use it and as well as helps them dry out after being watered.
Furthermore, lack of air circulation may lead your air plant to rot and die. So avoid displaying your air plants in a closed container, and as much as possible, do not place them near fans or air vents. But if you do, just don't forget to keep an eye on them and ensure that they are getting enough moisture.
To know if you have air circulation good enough for your air plants is to monitor how long they take to dry out. Keep in mind that an air plant should be able to dry out within 4 hours after being watered.
Indoor Care Instructions
Indoor care for air plants is very much similar to the ones grown outdoors. In fact, they would make a wonderful houseplant, as long as they get some light, either from a window or grow lights. But if you are wondering what's the best course to make sure that your Tillandsia is getting enough light it needs, place it at least 3 feet away from the south or east-facing window. However, we still recommend that you position them in different locations to see where they thrive most.
In addition to that, growing air plants indoors would require more watering, as it is usually dryer compared outdoors. And again, air plants should dry out within a span of 4 hours after being watered unless you are rehydrating them with an overnight soaking. It is easiest to water indoor plants by dunking or run them under the faucet.
Tillandsias are a fun way to add a touch of nature to just any living space without too much effort on your part. And since they don't need soil to grow, they can be displayed in just about any way you want, either in hanging baskets or terrarium.
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