Tips 'n Tricks — April 3, 2014 at 5:00 am

Tips for Keeping Your Air Plant Alive and Well

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FeelPic / iStock / thinkstock.com

FeelPic / iStock / thinkstock.com

If you’ve ever thought owning an air plant (Tillandsia) must be easy because all it needs is air, you’re not alone. You’re also wrong… Air plants are easy to care for, but you’ve got to know what that means in order to allow yours to thrive and, most importantly, stay alive. Here are some simple tips for caring for your air plant, from someone who’s learned the hard way that they require a little more than oxygen.

First of all, it’s important to understand that air plants are named as such because they require no soil to grow in. Their roots only serve to keep themselves in place, not to absorb nutrients. This makes them much more low maintenance than many other houseplants, which is part of the reason they’re so popular these days. The name does not imply that air is all this plant needs to get by.

Air plants thrive in warm, well-circulated, well-lit areas with a bit of moisture; so if your home meets these standards, you’re in luck. In this case, you may just need to spritz your air plant with water once or twice a week in the summertime, and about once a month in the cooler months. In addition to this regular maintenance, you’ll want to soak the base of  your plant in a cup of cool water once per week for about 20-30 minutes. If your home is either hot and dry or air-conditioned and dry, you’ll want to soak your plant for more frequently (for 30 minutes every two to three days).

Air plants need to see the sun every day in order to survive, but don’t place them directly in the path of the sun’s rays; instead, place your plant in indirect sunlight so it can get the light it needs without drying out entirely. If possible, don’t let your air plant be subjected to temperatures below 45 degrees, so be sure to keep your plant in a room that stays warm enough for it to survive.

Perhaps the single-easiest aspect of owning an air plant is that it can hang out in nearly any container, as long as it has enough access to air. Place yours in a terrarium of any shape or size, hang or mount it, or even set it carefully on a bookshelf or windowsill. Any way you put it, an air plant is a unique house plant to have around, so take care of it and keep it around for a while!

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