Let's talk about Air Plants, what they are, and how to keep them.
So what exactly is an Air Plant? Well, Air Plants, formally called Tillandsia, is a genus of around 650 species of evergreen, perennial flowering plants in the Bromeliaceaeare family. They are native to the forests, mountains and deserts of Central and South America, the southern United States and the West Indies.
They have naturally been established in diverse environments such as equatorial tropical rain forests, high elevation Andes mountains, rock dwelling (saxicolous) regions, and Louisiana swamps, such as Spanish Moss (T. usneoides), a species that grows atop tree limbs. Airplant is a common name for plants in this genus.
Most Tillandsia species are epiphytes – meaning they normally grow without soil while attached to other plants. Some are aerophytes or air plants, which have no roots and grow on shifting desert soil.Generally, the thinner-leafed varieties grow in rainy areas and the thick-leafed varieties in areas more subject to drought. Most species absorb moisture and nutrients through the leaves from rain, dew, dust, decaying leaves and insect matter, aided by structures called trichomes.
So now you know about the origins of an Air Plant, we can help explain the care requirements for keeping these amazing little plants. Soon you too will understand why they are growing in popularity amongst the plant and gardening communities!
Basically Air plants are a tropical plant yet very adaptive, meaning they could be kept in a huge range of temperatures and conditions. They could and should be very simple and low maintenance (and fun!) for you to keep.
They need Air flow, Water, and Sunlight.
Air plants do best outside during warm months and indoors during the cold months. The ideal temperature range for air plants is 50-90 degrees F. If kept outside, they should be placed in an area with indirect sunlight, in a shady area. They can get sunburned if they are exposed to direct sunlight. If kept indoors they need filtered sunlight, meaning no more than 6 feet away from a sunny window. They can also grow with artificial lighting such as in a terrarium, vivarium or paludarium.
When kept indoors, air plants can tend to dry out quickly because of the A/C. For best results, its best to water your plants daily and/or as they feel dry or crisp to the touch (pond or fresh water fish tank water are great options for watering your plants too as they are full of nutrients that your plants will greatly benefit from). Spray indoor plants a couple times a day when possible using a spray bottle. Misting them with a spray bottle does the trick. One time per week they should be soaked for 30 minutes - 1 hour in a bowl of water. We call this a bath and it really helps rehydrate the plants. Do not submerge a flower, just the plant, as is will make the flower disintegrate. After a bath they need to completely dry out within 4 hours so it is best to do this during the day when they will be getting sunlight to help them dry. Hanging them or placing them UPSIDE down to dry is important because the water that stays in the base of the plant is what would usually cause it to rot.
Fertilizer is the last step in ensuring colorful, blooming, reproducing plants. You don't need to fertilize but it does make a noticeable difference. Fertilizing is simple. Use a liquid air plant fertilizer (we will be selling our own air plant fertilizer within a month or so) and spray your plants 1 time per week following a regular watering. And that's it!!
They will change colors, flower and reproduce. All these changes happen quickly, so your always looking at a different stage of your plants. They are really neat! We hope you give some a try. And if you have any questions, we can definitely help out! Don't hesitate to message us! We're here to help!
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