Air Plants (Tillandsia species) are a lot of fun to grow as houseplants. They are unique because they are not grown in pots. This gives you a lot of flexibility to be creative on how you display your Air Plant at home. You can hang your Air Plant on the wall, let it suspend mid-air, or keep it in a dish on your coffee table. There is one variety of Air Plant that is grown in pots- the Pink Quill (Tillandsia cyanea). Here are tips on how to care for your Air Plant at home.
Air Plant Infographic
Air Plant Infographic
Tips on How to Take Care of Your Air Plant
1. Your Air Plant is Happiest in Bright, Filtered Light
Air Plant will be happy in bright, filtered light. It will do well at an East or West facing window but make sure it’s not getting direct sunlight. You can filter the sun with sheer curtains and sheer blinds.
2. Moderate Water is Best for Your Air Plant
There are 2 ways to water your Air Plant. You can spray your Air Plant with distilled water twice a week (spray the entire plant) or you can submerge your Air Plant in water once every 2 weeks for 2 hours. If you have Xeric Tillandsia variety, the preferred method is the spray it with water twice a week, since it is native to more arid conditions. While if you have Mesic Tillandsia variety, you can opt for the submerging method.
Just make sure you let your Air Plant dry out completely within 4 hours. The best way to air dry your Air Plant is to leave it upside down so water does not accumulate at the roots which can cause root rot.
3. Get the Soil Right for Your Air Plant
Pink Quill (Tillandsia cyanea) needs an organic potting mix. Use potting mix for orchids.
4. Fertilize Your Air Plant
Your Air Plant should be fertilized at half strength once a month during the growing season. You can spray the leaves with diluted fertilizer, just make sure the entire plant dries out completely. Don’t overspray.
5. Get the Temperature Right for Your Air Plant
Your Air Plant needs to have a daytime temperature of 70F to 80 Fahrenheit (21-26C). The nighttime temperature should be at 60-70 Fahrenheit (15-21 C).
6. Your Air Plant Can Tolerate Dry Indoor Air
Your Air Plant is a houseplant that can tolerate dry indoor air. It does not need additional misting on top of its regular watering. If you have the Xeric Tillandsia variety, it comes from more arid conditions so it does not require a lot of moisture. The Mesic Tillandsia variety, it is native to moderately humid environments so will prefer a little more humidity. But either way, they don’t require additional misting in between watering.
3 Common Air Plant Problems
The common problems for Air Plant are root rot, brown leaf tips, and mealy bugs.
Fluffy White Growth In Between the Leaves of Your Air Plant
Problem: There are fluffy white growths in between the leaves of your Air Plant. Cause: Mealybugs are causing the fluffy white growth on your Air Plant. It is a common houseplant disease.
Solution: To get rid of mealybugs on your Air Plant, wash your plant with water. You can also use soapy water. Spraying rubbing alcohol on affected areas can also get rid of mealybugs. Horticultural oil and insecticidal soap are also effective in getting rid of mealybugs. Just make sure to air dry your Air Plant completely to avoid root rot.
Check out our article on how to make your own homemade pesticides using baby shampoo: How to Make Horticultural Oil and How to Make Insecticidal Soap
Your Air Plant looks Wilted
Problem: Your Air Plant looks wilted. Check for root rot by examining the roots (if any). If the roots of your Air Plant plant look mushy (healthy roots are firm) and the roots are gray to black in color, these are telltale signs of root rot.
Cause: Root rot is caused by fungus and is a serious problem for your Air Plant. Root rot is a result of not letting your Air Plant air dry immediately.
Solution: When your Air Plant is afflicted with root rot the chance of survival is slim. Your best course of action is to throw your Air Plant out and start over with a new plant. This time make sure to let your Air Plant air dry. Air dry your Air Plant upside down so water does not accumulate on the roots.
Tip of Leaves of Your Air Plant Turning Brown
Problem: The tips of the leaves of your Air Plant plant are turning brown.
Cause: When the tips of the leaves of your Air Plant turn brown that is a result of not enough water or humidity. The tips of the leaves are turning brown because they are dying.
Solution: Water your Air Plant and increase humidity by watering your Air Plant. Just make sure to let your Air Plant completely air dry so it does not suffer from root rot.
Facts About Air Plant
|Scientific Name||Tillandsia species|
|Light||Bright, Filtered Light|
|Daytime Temperature||70 to 80 F (21-26C)|
|Night Time Temperature||60 to 70 F (15-21C)|
|Potting||For Pink Quill, you will need an organic, potting mix for orchid|
|Fertilizer||Spray once a month at half strength during the growing season|
Air Plant Facts
Air Plant: Frequently Asked Questions
What are Other Names of Air Plant?
Air Plant (Tillandsia species) is also called Sky Plant.
Air Plant: Varieties
Popular Air Plant varieties are Tillandsia cyanea, Mesic Tillandsia and Xeric Tillandsia. Tillandia cyanea variety can be found in pots.
How Can You Tell When It’s Time to Water Your Air Plant?
You can either spray your Air Plant or submerge your Air Plant in water. If you spray your Air Plant, spray the entire plant with distilled water twice a week. You can also submerge your Air Plant in water once every 2 weeks for 2 hours.
If you have Xeric Tillandsia, the preferred method is the spray it with water twice a week, since it is native to more arid conditions. While if you have Mesic Tillandsia, you can do the submerging method. Make sure you let your Air Plant completely dry out within 4 hours. The best way to dry is to leave it upside down so water does not get accumulated at the roots which can cause root rot.
Can You Use Cold Water When Watering Your Air Plant?
Your Air Plant can’t be watered with tap water. Your Air Plant is too sensitive to the chemicals in the water. Use distilled water or filtered rainwater for your Air Plant. Keep the water temperature comfortable so it’s not too cold and not too hot.
What Fertilizer Should You Use for Your Air Plant?
Use a balanced liquid fertilizer on your Air Plant. Dilute the fertilizer to half strength.
How Do You Propagate Your Air Plant?
Your Air Plant is easy to propagate. You can propagate your Air Plant by dividing the pups.
Below are steps on how to propagate Air Plant by dividing its pups.
1. Separate the pups after the mother plant has died
2. Attach the pups
Position the pups to where you want to attach them to. Gently secure the pups with wire. If there are any roots, you can wrap the roots with a little moist sphagnum moss.
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